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07-29-2011, 08:29 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
A perfect composition is nice-to-have but it can always be fixed in PP. I often generate multiple versions of a picture: different crops, different stories. Any captured picture is only fodder for the shooping machine. Too often, if you're hung-up on perfect compositions, the picture will escape, and laugh at you as it heads over the horizon.
Basically, I agree--it's certainly how I operate. I do try to be fairly gentle with my crops though--I can't afford to lose too many pixels. It might be different if I were a technically skilled shooter, though.

07-30-2011, 04:35 AM - 1 Like   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by dadipentak Quote
I do try to be fairly gentle with my crops though--I can't afford to lose too many pixels. It might be different if I were a technically skilled shooter, though.
When I shoot film, I enlarge and crop. When I started digital imaging with an analog camcorder and a frame-grabber that produced 320x240 pixel images, I cropped. When I shoot with a 1.1mpx digicam that produces 1216x912 pixel images, I crop. When I shoot with 5mpx digicams producing 2592x1944 images, I crop, often extensively. Shooting my K20D that produces 4672x3104 images, I crop whatever I want.

These pics have MANY pixels that can be sliced away without impairing image quality noticeably -- I'm not blowing these up to 6x9m and even if I were, that wouldn't really matter. I've printed some 320x240 images half-page-size and 1216x912 images poster-size and they look fine FROM THE RIGHT DISTANCE. (Presentation is crucial.) Any picture seen via a web browser displays at 72dpi -- an uncropped K20D pic would fill a screen 65x43 inches (78 inch diagonal). Humongous! Printed at 300 dpi, it's over 15x10 inches at FULL PHOTOGRAPHIC QUALITY, suitable for magnifier inspection. That's more than enough for a double-page spread in National Geographic, eh?

In other words: Don't sweat it. Crop as needed. Painting is an additive art: you keep slopping-on more until the picture is done. Photography is a subtractive art: you slice away irrelevancies until only necessities remain. And you can always add a border.
07-30-2011, 05:21 AM   #18
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Welcome to Croppers Anonymous! In the end, we use whatever tool is available to get the desired look to our shots. I'll add that it's much easier to re-frame while manual focusing as the focus point is not going to change at all unless you actually turn the lens or you are so close to the subject that the change in angle is going to affect the distance past your depth of field. It's quite easy to accidently mess up using AF and have the camera end up focusing on the car at the end of the street when we recompose. We all try to get it right the first time.
07-30-2011, 10:17 AM   #19
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QuoteQuote:
My priorities (most- to least-important):

1) GET THE DAMN PICTURE!
2) Don't get badly injured.
3) Make a clean getaway.
4) Expose picture properly.
5) Compose picture nicely.
I love that. Laughed my butt off.

I, too am a member of croppers anonymous. I shoot mostly centered, especially moving subjects, drop it into Irfan View when I get home, and crop away. I keep the camera set on center weighted and pay attention to the focus confirmation beep. If I recompose at all, it usually works out well. As Rio said, the whole picture at 12 megapixels is HUGE...1024x768 is approximately full size, and the smallest I ever crop. Usually it's either 1600x1200 or 1280x960. With macro shots this often changes, I get to crop much larger, 3072x2308 or even 3584x2688 sometimes. But most of the time, if I center my subject I have plenty room to crop for composition.

with landscapes or stationary subjects I'll sometimes compose on camera, but usually I still don't worry about it. Irfan View can handle the composition with a selective crop. I also often try a half dozen different crops before I settle on one. Try that in the field...and watch that Heron fly off and you still haven't tripped the shutter once...so I like Rio's first rule best. Get the damn picture.

07-31-2011, 01:13 AM - 1 Like   #20
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You may also wish to give some thought to trying the diagonal method of composition instead of the "rule of thirds" method. (a few examples)
07-31-2011, 06:17 AM   #21
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That was interesting, Mike. I'm one of those who keeps these 'rules' vaguely in the back of my head but would never try to impose them on an image. I just look for what 'works'--sometimes in vain.
07-31-2011, 01:42 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by dadipentak Quote
I'm one of those who keeps these 'rules' vaguely in the back of my head but would never try to impose them on an image. I just look for what 'works'--sometimes in vain.
The nice thing about rules is that, like standards, there are so many of them. Rules of 2's & 3's & 4's & 5's. Rules of circles & sections & diagonals & intersections & angles. Ooma-gooma! Pick whatever rule(s) you like! Then some others! There's no shortage!

Artists and printers have worked on these rules for centuries. I have two good sources for finding such rules: 1) books on typography and page layout; and 2) comix. Especially comix. Study some graphic novels and even newspaper strips, see how pictures are structured. HINT: In many, the scene is divided in half, or the subject is squarely centered. Why?
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