Photography 101: Crop Shop

One simple, easy way to take better pictures without buying a new computer to up your graphics, or spend time learning the ins and outs of Photoshop, is to learn how to crop things in a more visually pleasing way.

In all these examples, A is the more aesthetically pleasing way, while B shows the difference when the guideline isn’t exactly followed.

Rule of Thirds:

Chances are, you subscribe to the rule of thirds without even knowing it. The rule of thirds basically suggests that, while imagining your image divided into 9 equal portions, it will be more powerful and dynamic when key points of the composition are placed along these lines and intersections.

To create 9 equal squares, simply hit ctrl-shift-R on your keyboard while in Photoshop. This will cause a ruler to appear, and now all you have to do is divide the numbers into equal parts.

Lead Room:

Everyone loves those looking-into-the-distance pictures, but it helps if you actually have distance to look longingly into. Lead room is the space in front, and in the direction, of moving or stationary subjects

This is used because if extra space is allowed in front of the subject, the viewer can see that it has someplace to go; without this visual padding, the subject’s forward progress will seem impeded

Body Cropping:

While this won’t be found online anywhere, it’s something I learned as I worked as a photographer. In layman’s terms, cropping off a hand is like cutting it off.

When cropping around a body, never, ever crop through a joint, especially hands and feet. Instead, select a segment in between two joints, like a thigh, calf, or forearm.

While these guidelines are not rules, they do make your photography look clean and polished. Just remember that you can’t covered up poor composition with any amount of post editing!

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