Top of the crops with borough camera club

  Posted: 10.08.21 at 17:20 by The Editor

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AS the clock ticks towards next month’s start of centenary celebrations for Thurrock Camera Club, Nub News is pleased to offer up the latest publication of camera tips from members to our readers.

The club celebrates 100 years of existence in Novembe and just as they did in starting up the club all those years ago, members are keen to share their skills.

This month the focus is on the art of ‘cropping’ pictures. Having presented a number of previous tips to help with composition of photographs and following on from a previous tip relating to filling the frame, another way to improve your final image is to “crop” the picture to help to emphasise interesting elements within your photograph or to eliminate distracting elements or intrusions that detract from the picture you wish to portray.

This can be particularly useful if you are unable to move your position when taking a photograph to attain the most advantageous angle or position for your camera to capture the exact scene that you wish to photograph.

It can also be used as a technique to enlarge part of a bigger images, up to a point, thereby showing more of distant objects.

So, what is cropping?

'Primed to fire' by Melanie Cox

Simplistically, the technique called “cropping” describes the process of trimming the edges of a photo, either digitally with photo processing software, or physically when a print is trimmed with a knife or guillotine, whereby it removes part of the original image.

Cropping is one of the most basic photo manipulation processes, and it is often used to remove unwanted outer areas from a photograph. The process usually consists of the removal of some of the peripheral areas of an image to eliminate extraneous elements from the picture. It can also be employed to improve image framing, to change the aspect ratio, or to accentuate or isolate the subject matter in your image.

While a cropping feature is common in all photo editing software, many cameras today also offer built-in cropping facilities, so it may be worthwhile checking whether your camera can provide this tool

As mentioned above, it is common that, when capturing a scene, you may not able to obtain an ideal composition within the overall frame. However selective cropping of a broader view may allow you to produce a tighter image or change the emphasis of the original shot. Sometimes you may want to crop the tops and sides of a photo to help direct the focus to a certain element or person.

It can also be utilised to create a better balance to your photograph thereby producing a better finished image e.g. employing the rule of thirds (discussed in a previous tip), when the original circumstances when taking a shot do not permit such framing of you picture.

Ray Diamond's 'Commandos Turning their Back on Glencoe Training Ground'

The amount of cropping required for an image may vary depending upon the nature and size of the original image Some cropping needs are large, while other images just need a small amount of cropping..

Bear in mind, if you are anticipating the need to crop you original image, be sure to leave sufficient room within the original frame to allow for the crop.

Also be aware that when you digitally crop an image to enlarge your subject you are also removing pixels from the final image. The more you crop an image the more the remaining elements of your photo needs to be enlarged which will have some impact on the final quality of the photograph depending upon the amount of pixels removed.

Therefore depending on your original image’s megapixlel count, cropping could to result in apparent pixelization i.e. whereby the image starts to breakdown due to insufficient pixels to render an image smoothly. When an image becomes pixilized your eye is able to determine individual pixels within an image, making the image look fake or overly digitized.

In the attached example, “Gelada Baboon”, the photographer has chosen to crop the images very closely to the animal's face to isolate it and highlight the eyes and also capture the detail of the skin and fur. This approach has removed any background distractions and let’s the viewer focus on the animal’s expression .

In the second example “Primed to fire” the photographer has chosen to focus closely on one part of the scene to create an interesting composition and again remove any possible distractions. While the lack of extraneous elements to scene create a little mystery about what's going on, the viewer will know that the person in the image is military and the title identifies the main intended feature of this image, leaving the viewer's imagination decide what else is going on here.

In the final image “Commandoes turning their back on Glencoe Training ground” the photographer has cropped his original image into a letter box style to show off the landscape in the scene thereby creating a virtual panoramic effect. By removing any distractions from the foreground with this crop, the viewer is drawn to the distant mountain scene and the dramatic cloud formations.

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