Composition- cropping within the viewfinder.


TPF Noob!
Nov 10, 2011
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South africa
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Hi .

I would like to clear some things up.
So i had some though.
After asking for some C & C someone told me to never cut off body parts like legs and arms.
In the book from Brian Peterson about design color and composition in photography... He stated to fill the frame. Walk closer to your subject.
But in another book , dont cut off joints... If you have to crop arm... Crop it in the middle part of the arm...

So after todays photoshoot with my sister i found it really hard to fill the frame without cutting off arms.
If she change her hands like folds it then it looks unnatural. I cant find the balance. How do i decide what a good crop line is?
Which is more important a full frame or a good crop?

Any help?



Post an example or two. Or better yet, look at some known professional portraits.
Heres the thing. Obviously you can't shoot a close up or fill frame without cutting something off.
It's how you do it and where you do it that makes the difference.

It's what is pleasing to the eye that matters. Images lead the eyes and if you lead them down an arm too far, one would expect to see where it leads (naturally).
Think of it that way. Cutting off a chin would make me wonder that the person actually looks like. It's a matter of perception.

A good photographer uses his/her vision and imagination to convey a thought, idea, scene or emotion of a subject. Make it pleasing to the eye, study your images.
Sometimes I finish full resolution processing and spend a lot of time studying how I want to crop and usually go back and forth until I find a plleasing view.
bazooka said:
Post an example or two. Or better yet, look at some known professional portraits.

Can you post such a portrait. It will help alot. Overall i find the problem when shooting a horisontal and ussuallly rule of third. Shot in landscape form.... Verticals is easier for me with cropping. I will post some asap...
This is an uncropped full resolution/shape no fill frame, but works in horz
This could be cropped in an 10x8 to eliminate background distraction without cutting more of the people than needed
you could even crop it very close

Cropping is fine nipping is discouraged.
However I have seen A LOT of great photos where this or that was nipped.

Don't crop at the joint if you can help it. Don't cut womens bust in half.

Don't let the "rules" hold you back if it looks good cut off, then cut it off.
or ahhh I found one that shows a cut off

And this is a high Key Portrait for metallic printing (so thats not the subject of conversation here)

This is a full resolution shot, one of many from a shoot. The only crop i think would look good is to cut the botton just below the necklace.

I should add that, all images are processed and finalized at full resolution/shape. Clients can crop as desired. I often suggest crops and sometimes do it for them when ordering prints. Again, this one would work cropped just below the necklace for an 8x10 size/shape

Look at this image.
I know it isnt sharp took the photo with my iphone right off my lcd. Only way to upload. Am on vacation. Sorry...

So this crop...

That backround suck.
I know the pole distracts the user from her.
My sister in the photo.

Sould this frame be filled more?
Where i cropped her arm is this wrong.... ?

Thank you.

Sorry for the bad quality its just coz it was the only way i could show a recent taken pic...
Landscape (horz) is great for portraits if you have enough interest in the overall scene that goes along with the main subject. Cutting her off there is not terrible, but in this example landscape isn't so pleasing.

Shoot her vert, and try to have a pleasing background, like all trees behind her. If you include sky, it will most likely be too light.

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