To Crop or Not to Crop

I read somewhere that most women prefer to take close up pictures and men are opposite. Between my husband and me, this is quite true. When he hands his photos to me, most of the time, the first thing I do is cropping. Then I crop again. And, maybe, again. He has complained about this a couple of times, even demanding to know why. All I could tell him is: “I like it this way.” To the end, we have to agree to disagree.

Let me give you an example. But first, I want to thank our friend S for letting me use his photo here. Not every photo I would crop crazily like this. This one works because (1) the background is ok, but background itself is not memorable (2) S has a nice face expression, particularly in his eyes, which, in original photo, is only a small part of the whole photo.

My husband’s original photo of S (photo 1):
Sphoto1

Photo 2 — I found the top left corner distracted me:
sphoto2

Photo 3 — maybe I’ll emphasize his face expression:
sphoto3

Photo 4 -– emphasize on his face expression even more:
sphoto4

Photo 5 — how about emphasizing on one eye:
sphoto5

To set the record straight, I want to make sure you know that I like photo 2 as much as photo 3, 4, 5 (I think). I just believe that photo 3, 4, 5 give viewers a different flavor. It allows viewer look directly into S’s eyes, which is the place that I like people to focus.

What do you think? Do you like photo 3, 4, 5 like I do, or do you think I should stop at photo 2?

Two more questions: Where is the best place to print photos (best quality)? Have you printed any panorama photo?

Thanks.

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About Helen C

A retired computer programmer who loves writing and photographing, and has managed to publish a YA novel "Jin-Ling’s Two Left".
This entry was posted in photo, photo and thoughts, Photo Question. Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to To Crop or Not to Crop

  1. sunsetdragon says:

    I like them and love that smile close up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kemi Falodun says:

    I like photo 3 and 4 but my favourite is photo 2. Great smile!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Kemi, thank you so much for your comment. I like photo 2, too. But for me, 3,4, 5,are different from photo 2 and it’s like comparing apple with orange. Then again, I am easily get confused. Maybe a couple of days later, I will know which one I like the most. 😉 Thanks again.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. loisajay says:

    Helen–I liked that you got rid of the distracting corner in photo #2. I liked #3 because (and I mean this in a nice way!), you got rid of his receding hairline and his double chin. All I noticed was his smile, which is a very easy, relaxed smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Lois, I like #3 also, not because I got rid of his receding hairline or his double chin (hey, people have to earn those by aging 😉 , but because viewers can find his eyes quicker. He sure has a good smile. I thought he would be nervous (both my husband and I had our camera aimed at him) and I am glad he took it well. 😉 Thanks, Lois.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Amy says:

    I like 3 and 4. The expression, smile, and eyes for these two made me feel like I want to know a little bit of the person. And, his eyes and smile are telling me about the person. Thank you, Helen! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Amy. I like #3 also. I like #4, too. but I have a little problem with how the frame was divided into two – left and right (against the rule of 3rd). I was running out of the room on the right side so I couldn’t do better. ;-( Thanks for your comment. At least I know I am not crazy because the way I Like to crop. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Mother Hen says:

    I like three Helen! You are delightful and make me laugh.. I really like that about you..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Cee Neuner says:

    I like 1 and 5. I agree with you, your husband’s photo,the top left has to be cut off. But then I tend to crop too. But you already know that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like 4, because 5 seems to emphasize his teeth. Four is just the right combination, in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. sweetpea2love says:

    I also love this process with pictures, I love your last one as it brings in just the subject and as you said not the distraction of the corner of the building. I too, get in there and crop, crop, and then crop some more 🙂 It’s amazing what you can do with a simple photograph.. I wish I knew where you can get them developed, I usually go to Wal-Mart and use those self help stands ….

    Take care and happy blogging to ya, from Laura ~

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Good morning, Laura. I am so glad to know that someone else loves cropping as much as I do. It is fun to play with photos. Sometime, cropping does magical things, transforming an OK photo to a great one.
      I usually go to Sam’s Club to develop my photos. It is good enough for hanging in my house since I am not too fussy. But when I give a photo away to hang on the wall of someone else’s house, I do like a better quality one 😉
      Love your blog. Looking forward to reading more. (I guess it’s too late to have a winter garden for me now 😉
      Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

      • sweetpea2love says:

        Helen, thanking you kindly for your comments. My winter garden started off with one tomato plant I brought indoors in Aug, it gave me the final two tomatoes left and still hung around for the longest time. I started another tomato plant with one of her suckers and it’s still growing.. The dill and cilantro, garlic shoots, parsley, and lettuce was a success… Struggling with the bell pepper, but I have as you could see two fruits growing, finally… I’m not sure where I spend more time, gardening, crafting, or the photography playing around with the pictures.. all are joys of mine, which bring a smile, and after all that’s what I’m shooting for.. hugs to ya Helen…

        Take care and happy blogging to ya, from Laura ~

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Ha! I totally crop things crazily. However, I recently got a new photo editing app for the phone, which allows me to blur things (among other features I have not yet discovered, because I am too busy blurring photos). All the blurring is now going on. I can’t help myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Adhika says:

    I am clearly behind on the online world. I totally agree with you that background should not be distracting, like that white corner on the first image. One suggestion I can make is to try different aspect ratio. If you are going to show S’s face partially, maybe a 16:9 aspect ratio might be better.
    And oh, for photo printing.. the one that I usually go to in Minneapolis is called the West Photo. It’s off of Hennepin and University very close to St. Anthony main. Try them! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Hello, teacher, you have to treat me like a 4th grade (or 3rd?). What do you mean by 16:9 aspect ratio? You mean the photo size? or his face? How do I make it 16:9? I can’t wait for your reply. I am anxious to learn! Thanks in advance!

      Like

      • Adhika says:

        LOL. Aspect ratio means the ratio between the width and the length. So 16:9 could mean 16″ x 9″ photo or similar. Most camera (like my Nikon) gives out 3:2 aspect ratio. There is something about 16:9 aspect ratio. It’s very good at showing things partially. Here is an example: http://goo.gl/uPsuPC I am not showing the entire orchid.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Helen C says:

          Beautiful photo! I tested 16:9 out with #4, it does look better. Thanks for the tip. But I have more questions: 16:9 is not popular print size, yes? For example, Sam’s club doesn’t print that size, so if you want to print, you will use 16:12 paper and leave some blanks, right? Will West Photo print 16:9? Thanks again.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Adhika says:

            Yeah, it is not a standard paper size. But, you can always leave some blanks and cut it afterwards. I think West Photo will print and cut it for you.

            I am glad it works for you though!

            Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Forgot to say… thanks for the info on West Photo. I will give it a try. THANKS! When are you coming back???

      Like

      • Adhika says:

        I still have to plan at least one trip to the Twin Cities. Most probably around Fall. I want to make it a point to continue the tradition to go up to the North Shore for camping in Fall. I’ll keep you posted 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I like #2 best as well. That white in the left corner would have made me crazy (not so before I started blogging I’ve learned a few things. OK. A couple of things.)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sue says:

    At first I thought you should stop at 2 because it seemed perfect, but then I saw 3, and saw the possibilities in a closer crop. 4 and 5 are not my favorites – 5 especially looks more like a photo taking a creepy direction instead of focusing on his nice smile and facial features in 2 and 3. So…my picks are for 2 and 3, with the caveat of seeing the importance of experimenting with cropping to be sure I am seeing all the possibilities!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Sue. My husband would stop at #2… hmm… actually, he’d stopped at #1. I think maybe I am influenced by how people videotaping. For example, if you watch some interview on TV, a lot of time they don’t show the whole head. I love playing with photos. 😉 Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. seeker says:

    #2 is good for passport and on the artistic side I prefer #5.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Good morning, Perpetua. Yes, another vote for #5. I think part of the reason that I like #5 so much is we don’t see this kind of photo often. And I like not-see-all effect 😉
      Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. M-R says:

    My choice is no. 3. That bloke would’ve got on very well with my husband: he does what Chic did – what I call “mugging” at the camera. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, M-R. Yeah, I learned a new word – mugging. In my first draft, I asked what did his smile say to you, but at last minute I deleted it. My husband and I have different opinion on that. I saw a little bit shyness, embarrassing, and, maybe, discomfort (after all, not every day you have to face two cameras), but my husband disagreed. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Sue Slaght says:

    2 is my top pick Helen. I agree that in the first one the corner is distracting. sorry I rarely print photos so no help to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ed says:

    Try mpix.com for online printing they do an excellent job. In a pinch wal-mart is passible but double check when they are done.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Mabel Kwong says:

    Great topic, Helen. Thanks for bringing it up. I personally like 3 and 5. Love how you cropped to emphasised the eyes, eyes are the windows to the soul after all.

    I’m like you. I like cropping. I crop almost all the photos on my blog except when I put them in a gallery, because when I crop to a smaller photo, it seems to display a bit bigger in dimension in my posts. Cropping offers us the flexibility to tell stories and show the world to others in different ways, bring the focus to what we’re trying to say through fewer or certain objects. However, sometimes I don’t like cropping because the end product looks more grainy or noisy than the original.

    My dad likes to take photos with as many things as possible in it – like your husband, not many close-ups. When he takes photos of people, he always take full body shots of them and says photos that don’t show leg are ugly 😀 I don’t understand that side of him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Mabel. You brought up a good point that sometime the end product from cropping looks more grainy. In that case, I probably would leave the photo as the way it is.
      I have not tried to create a photo gallery yet. One time, I read about it, and then talked myself out of doing it. One of these days…
      It’s nice to read about your dad. I thought my husband is the only one. Ha.
      Have a great day!

      Like

  18. I like photo 2. Plus I liked photo 3, 5 as well coz of its closeness with the expression and it is on the thirds. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  19. restlessjo says:

    4 for me please, Helen. I think it shows off his smile to best advantage. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Judy says:

    Too funny. I would have been somewhere between 2 and 3!! Eye of the beholder!!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Dalo 2013 says:

    Great post ~ cropping is such a hard concept for me to accept too, but sometimes it really is for the best. I really like the impact it makes on the 3rd shot (my favorite of them all)…and this post really shows the variety of opinions. Cheers ~

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Randall. Now I look at all these photos again, I do like #3 a little more. (Maybe I am influenced by you?) 😉

      Like

      • Dalo 2013 says:

        Influence is always a good thing if it is positive 😉 and what is great is that there are several that people love, which means depending on your mood you may have another favorite tomorrow!

        I’ve had a few shots that I had almost trashed, but somehow kept only to find later something that made them special (and others liked)… Choosing one is always an imperfect science, so I do like to hear opinions of others 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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    Liked by 1 person

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