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Friday, October 8, 2010


To crop or not to crop? Recently, over on, there has been some discussion about cropping. When one looks at a photo one wants to believe that one is seeing exactly what the photographer saw when he looked through the viewfinder. To discover that this was only 50 or 25% true sends some toggers into a spin. Many purists would have it that this is a cheat of the digital age, and that such practices should be banned along with cloning in or out large amounts of content. But this practice of cropping dates waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back to the days of film (centuries or so ago ;) ), so why does digital get the rap again? Because it takes seconds, not hours to setup and get right.

Of course if we want the maximum amount of detail and lower noise we must fill the frame, but that is not always possible as we either have a prime lens on or our zoom is not long enough, so we crop. Modern sensors, such as my 7D's 18MP, can handle a lot of cropping (at lower ISOs), so why whould I not?

On the otherhand cropping is commonplace for film and video, especially as there are differing aspect ratios, a wide 19:6 capture must be cropped down for a 4:3 display.

Eventually it comes down to the photographer to decide on what he wants to show. Like here, I could have cropped down to the bunny and still had enough resolution for an A4 print, but I wanted to show some of his environment, set the scene, leave space for a message incase someone decided to buy it as an easter card ;)

50D, 100-400, ISO200

It is all down to the artists vision, let them decide what should be seen.


  1. Hi Neil

    Ah, but that implies that the photographer is only as good as the sensor in the camera!
    My belief is if your lens isn't long enough then you get closer. If you can't get closer then compose an image with the subject small in frame. Simples!
    If someone crops their shot then they took the wrong shot in the first place!:-)
    Good blog by the way.

    Simon Litten

    PS Did you try giving Alamy a go?

  2. I simply think the photogrpaher should chose based on the picture he took. Regardless of mega pickles we can chose to crop and make a smaller print or not crop and make a wildlife landscape ;)
    Lenses are expensive, cropping is a cheapo solution, but still a solution. Getting closer is not always possible, depends how much time you have to spend.

    Alamy like my shots, just nobody buys them ;)