There aren’t many photographs I take that don’t go unedited – especially those that make their way onto this blog – and almost all of those begin with cropping (and straightening where necessary, of course). I agree with Cee very strongly on the importance of cropping: as she writes, it can make a mediocre photo good and a good one great.
(NB: The images in this post have only been cropped, with no other post-processing. In this way, it’s possible to isolate the impact of cropping alone from the overall editing process.)
This first image was taken from the observation lift that provides panoramic views over Sarlat. The roofs are interesting and colourful but (a) you don’t need to see all of them to get the picture, so to speak and (b) although it’s a medieval town that doesn’t mean that they don’t have access to modern technology. Like satellite dishes; lots of satellite dishes. The cropped version removes all but one (partially obscured) dish – which could be eliminated altogether with further editing, as well as cars, streetlights etc.
As another example of removing distractions, here’s a picture of a nice foxglove, which doesn’t really need the roofline behind it.
Cropping for Composition
Cropping can also be helpful in improving the composition of an image, as in this photograph of the distinctive seedpods of the ‘monnaie du pape’ (‘Honesty’) plant, which in the cropped version are placed on a ‘Rule-of-thirds’ intersection.
Finding a new image
Sometimes, close cropping can reveal a ‘new’ image nested inside the original that isn’t immediately obvious – as in this view from Oradour-sur-Glane.
Taking more than one picture
And finally, as per Cee’s advice always to take more than one photograph, here are two shots of a set of decanters and glasses from a museum in Sarlat. The second is not a crop of the first, but just a close-up: same subject, completely different image.