The ABC’s – Always Be Cropping

So once your session is complete, what do you do now? The next step is to get the images ready for your clients to see and order. As you are preparing your images for your clients, we have listed a few pointers to keep in mind. Consider the composition and cropping of the image, the appropriate size for the wall and the number of people in the photograph. These tips will help improve your overall presentation with some simple tweaking to your current image handling process.


Beginning with the first component of preparation, consider the cropping and composition of your images. With the styles of photography so diverse in these days, most of photographers do not pay strict attention to cropping and composition of their images. Composition refers to the placement of the subjects, props and white space in the image. Subjects are best placed directly in the center, shifted to the upper right, or lower right side of the photograph. Compositionally, the placement of your subject creates interest and dimension. You can define the composition of your images either as you take the image or as you are preparing. Since we are assuming that you are working on your images after the session, how do you tweak the composition of your photograph to present your best to your clients. It may be as simple as using the cropping tool to crop your image closer or place your subject in the areas of high interest. Or you may need to add background, to the top or bottom of the image, allowing for the use of white space as well as added interest. Let’s look of the images of this little girl. The one of her in the flowers is an example of white space. She is placed at the lower right corner of the photograph with the flowers on the left side leading into her being used as white space. I first composed this photograph in the camera and then used cropping to increase the interest and provide white space, giving more depth than just placing her directly front and center. Center composition is used best on close up photographs, like the sweet close up of her little face. Her right eye is directly in the center of the image. So that as we look, her eyes are what spark emotion and allow for the biggest impact. The last point referred to cropping is that closer is not always better. In the industry, we see so many photographs that are close up of faces. Just faces and nothing else, no thought of interest or variety. And albeit, sweet, it is not always appropriate nor best.


Moving from composition to the sizing of your images. Though at first glance, it may sound simple, it is important to pause for a moment and think through what is best for the image and the placement of it in your client’s home. As in the last article, the basics are: you shouldn’t place an 11×14 over a sofa, use as much of the space provided and make sure that the size of the image works for the number of people in the photograph. Getting into the details of what this means, it is important to know where your client is going to hang their portrait so that you will know the size of the space that you are working with. It is helpful to use a program with sizing scales and one that you can import images of your clients home into to get the best overall presentation for your client. Let’s address the size of the space in relation to the size of the photograph. In the black and white of the children, the client wanted to use her foyer wall to hang this portrait of her children. Using PreeVu, we took an image of her wall, scaled and imported it and then placed two different sizes on the wall. The first one, looked like a postage stamp, it is an 11×14. The second one fit the wall well, created impact and was perfect for her. It is a 24x 30. So just by using the program to allow her to see the size and taking the time to show her, we not only provided what was best for her, but also a larger sale for our studio. Using this same example, we can also learn the best sizing for the number of people in the photograph. Again, like the “don’t put an 11×14 over a sofa” statement, an 11×14 is not large enough for a group of more than two people. Keeping in mind that you want to have your images hanging on your clients wall, when the head size of the subjects are too small to see faces, the portrait is too small. Again, look at these portraits, in the 24 x 30 example, the head size of each one was large enough to see expression and life in each face. In the 11 x14, each of their faces was not much larger than a quarter, giving no glimpse into anything more than the overall look of the image. It creates no impact and gives no depth to the image. It is not what is best for your client, her home or you.



So, whether you choose to crop and compose in camera or in the editing phase, keep the points of composition in mind and use cropping tools to add dimension to your clients photographs. And when you are preparing to show off your best work to your client, work to find the appropriate size for both her wall and the number of people in the photograph. Work hard, work smart and give your best! And Always be Cropping!

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