27 : Unusual Crops

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Cropping Out-of-the-Box

By now you have a great collection of creative and technical photography practices under your belt. This week we are going to turn one of the golden rules of photography upside-down! 

The Rule: Do not crop a person through any joint or through the face. Generally avoid cropping an image at a person’s wrist, ankle, knee, hips or shoulder. Do not cut off crucial information in the expression of the face.

How to break it:  Intentionally crop your images in new and unexpected ways! Force your viewer to see your image with fresh eyes. Sometimes, eliminating a part of the picture that the viewer expects or relies upon brings attention to details that would otherwise go unnoticed. It can also add a tone of freshness and spontaneity.

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Creative Prompts

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  • Try shooting your favorite everyday subjects in ways that are familiar already. Start by capturing shots with good composition and exposure, applying what you have learned this year. When you feel like you are getting decent traditional shots, relax and “let go” a bit while you are shooting. As corny as it may sound, there is knack to pushing yourself and it takes practice!
     
  • There is no need to plan in advance. Look for ways to change your cropping as you go but be thoughtful in your rebellion. Don’t do something wacky just for the sake of it! How does your unexpected crop add to the story for the viewer?

Examples

This little boy's face is so adorable that it could easily become the main interest point of the photo. Because of this, an unusual crop draws attention to the sweetness of his little hands (the photographer's intention):

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The energy of this girl's jump can be seen not just in her legs but in the flexing of her arms. This crop emphasizes both, but no more:

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The goal of this image was to show a little girl's joy against the backdrop of her mother's strength. While a typical image would include both faces, the mother's face is largely cropped out, leaving a combination of the girl's face and her mother's strong arms to tell the story.

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Share your images!

As always, we look forward to seeing your images in the Facebook group! If you have never posted a picture, it's fine to start any time. The Facebook group is a positive, no-judgement zone. We also hope that reach out for advice or help if you need it!