Pa’i ki’i Imagery

July 6, 2008

Cropping is your Friend

Among the advantages of digital photography is the control you have over the final product.  I refer to the digital darkroom. The computer, software and printer you use to process your photos. The best place to get it “right” is the moment you click the shutter release.  When that doesn’t happen digital technology comes in handy.
As an amateur photographer Film was a delayed satisfaction technology. I couldn’t be sure of what I had until the pictures came back from the lab. Plus the picture was out of my control once I turned the film into the lab. Not too mention I had to get them all printed to know what I had.
A digital darkroom eliminates that. You can quickly see what you got “right”. What you didn’t and what you can improve. One of those improvements you can make is cropping. I’ve been a Lightroom fan since 1.0 Beta. A feature of Lightroom is the ability to create virtual copies of a photo that exist only in Lightroom. This allows you to manipulate a photo in multiple ways without affecting the original photo. COOL!

Here’s how I used cropping  to explore an image and see it in different ways.

The first photo is from the 4th of July Fireworks show over Maunalua Bay this year. This is the original crop out of the camera.  I like it because it gives you a sense of depth with the red color reflecting off the water. Plus there is the house lights along the base of Koko Head.

Fourth of July Fireworks at Maunalua Bay,Oahu

Fourth of July Fireworks at Maunalua Bay,Oahu

In Lightroom I created additional versions and cropped tighter each time. The second one pulls you into the photo while still maintaining a sense of depth.

Second Crop

Second Crop

The Third and Fourth versions completely divorces it from any visual references.

Third Crop

Third Crop

During each of these crops I maintained the original aspect ratio.

Fourth Crop

Fourth Crop

In this final photo I unlocked the crop and adjusted it to taste.

Fifth Crop

Fifth Crop

Which is “best”? If you care to, vote for your favorite by leaving a comment.


1 Comment »

  1. I’d go for the second or the third. The first feels to far away, even though the water does look beautiful, and the last two look too close together and I don’t like how the last two are cut horizontally.

    Comment by lonelysealonelysky — July 20, 2008 @ 3:34 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: