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  • Writer's pictureJohn Patota

I Have OCD - Obsessive Cropping Disorder

Crop, Crop, Crop

Every photo out of your camera can be improved by using image editing software. No matter if you use free tools like Microsoft Photo Viewer, Apple Photos, Google SnapSeed or paid software like LightRoom and PhotoShop - every photo can be made better.

Enhance your images by applying a filter, adjust the light, straighten the horizon, boost the color, increase the clarity or how about a vignette? Add a border, insert some text, use some spot healing, change it to black and white, and crop, crop, crop.

I am far from a photography purest. Yes, I am always trying to 'get in right in-camera', but once the image is made, I'm all about making it better.

When it come to cropping, you can make a big difference. Take a look at this original image from the 2019 U.S. Amateur in Pinehurst. It is of local caddie Keith Silva and William Holcomb, a young and likable Senior at Sam Huston State University. Not very remarkable, right?

Local Caddie Keith Silva and Sam Huston State University Senior William Holcomb at the 2019 U.S. Amateur in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

There is an important bond between a player and a caddie. If I can get a shot of them talking, pointing, looking at the scorecard, tossing up grass or any kind of gesture, I'm happy.

Take another look at the original image above. Not a remarkably shot by any standard. But I knew that I could crop it later. The most important part was making sure it was in focus and catching them talking.

The Crop tool in LightRoom allowed me to get creative. Here is the same image cropped to a square, the format that works best for Instagram.

This 4 x 3 horizontal version was used on the Pinehurst website.

Now an even tighter crop. See how it brings out their facial expressions?

Finally, a 4 x 3 vertical version that worked for Facebook and Twitter. Notice how I created some negative space for them to look in to.

Some advise about cropping. Get your horizon line level,

Never crop at the joints. Cutting people at the ankles, knees, writs and elbows make the photo look creepy,

It is sometimes OK to crop off the top of heads, but try not to,

Leave some space between the edge of the frame and your subject

Crop so that your subject is looking or moving into negative space,

Get your horizon line level,

If there is nothing to judge the horizon line, use a vertical element,

Keep in mind the basic rules of composition,

Finally, get your horizon line level.

And, Crop, Crop, Crop

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