Crop photos the right way: classic mistakes and how to avoid them

Crop photos the right way: classic mistakes and how to avoid them

Classic mistakes when cropping photos

Classic mistakes when cropping photos: slanted horizon

Slanted horizon
A very common mistake most of us make is to leave a cracking landscape shot with a unleveled horizon that’s sloping to one side. It looks like a mistake and the image ends up with an awkward feel.

Using a tripod with a built-in spirit level and a good panning head will ensure you get it as level as possible in the field.

In the digital darkroom it’s a simple fix using editing software to rotate the crop and get the horizon level again.


Classic mistakes when cropping photos: getting cramped

Getting cramped
Some of the best advice in the world is to get much closer to your subjects, but be wary of being only halfway there.

This picture feels too cramped because there’s not enough space around the subjects to allow the picture to breath.

Shooting from a foot further away would have been better. The only other rescue option is to crop even tighter.

Try putting your hands over the top and bottom of the frame – looking better already, isn’t it?


Classic mistakes when cropping photos: too tight

Far too tight
This show jumping picture may have captured the horse in a full-on action pose, but it feels like the poor creature’s going to bang its head on the edge of the frame.

This mistake of framing too tightly on the side where the action is flowing towards really puts the brakes on the movement.

Leaving space to the left-hand side of the frame would have worked much better. Shooting it a little wider all round would have also left sufficient room for a better crop.


Classic mistakes when cropping photos: amputation

Animal and people pictures need special consideration when framing in the camera because it’s important to avoid chopping them off at the knees or ankle.

This bouncy picture of a dog running is ruined by the fact its feet aren’t in the frame, even though it has a good expression and is nice and sharp.

This is one situation where a further crop won’t work. Give it a try. No matter how you crop the image from here, it just doesn’t look natural.

PAGE 1: Crop photos with a long lens
PAGE 2: Crop photos with a wide lens
PAGE 3: Crop photos using different formats
PAGE 4: Crop photos creatively
PAGE 5: Classic mistakes when cropping photos


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