How to crop your pictures and make them better!

How to crop your pictures
How to crop your pictures

Whenever I take a picture, I know that there is some possibility that I will work on it at least a little on Photoshop. After a shoot, I normally sort through them on my computer and place them in three ways. First are the best pictures, those that overall are great pictures and may still need some or no photo editing. The second group are those that have potential, that with a little editing can result in a good usable image. The last, yup, the junk. These are the ones that are more of outtakes and cannot be saved with editing.

I wanted to talk about the second group. Whichever way you sort your photos, I assume these images are often overlooked and forgotten, never to see the light of day, right? Well, I wanted to share how I resulted with the image on the left. The picture is of a girl doing a martial art kick in the air and a very high distance from the ground. So was this picture photo-shopped? Yes and no.

Original image before cropping
Original image before cropping

Yes, I used Photoshop to crop and lighten the image a little, but no I didn’t add her to the middle of the picture. She really did jump and I caught this in mid-air from a distance. She was playing around with some friends and I noticed a photo opportunity. I was only able to take one picture, image on the right. As you can see she jumped from that concrete block not from the ground. Although I wasn’t able to get her face, which was blocked by the hand, I initially put this image aside and having some possibility to use but I knew I would need to do some editing. The image on its own is really a snapshot, but my eyes immediately went to the distance she was from the ground. So it was this portion of the image I knew would interest the viewer, as well as her straight leg/pose.

The image was a little dark, so I adjusted the exposure. The yellow truck was a distraction, so that needed to be cropped out. However I wanted to emphasize her pose and distance from the ground, so the only way to do that and create some “space” under her was to remove or crop out the cement block along with the truck. I spent some time on Photoshop outlining the area that would eventually be the final picture. In this case, the area I was going to keep would be crucial in creating the illusion of the almost impossible jump and pose.

 

cropIf you haven’t tried it, by cropping an image at the right place, the new picture will “tell” a different story. This was the case for this picture. Try it yourself with some of your own photos. Almost all photo editing programs have the cropping feature and all are very easy to use. I’ve included a simple outline of the area I cropped or cut out that would eventually be the final image. First I selected the area, making sure I didn’t include the yellow truck and cement block. I was also careful not to include the bottom portion of the picture, the area with the decorative bricks. It was important to show her in the air and the distance to the ground without any of the other distractions.

The final picture now is much more interesting. The viewers eyes are drawn to the pose on the upper right hand side and the empty area on the lower left emphasizes the high distance she is from the ground.

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