Can the Crop Tool Transform a Photo From Okay to Spectacular?

Can the crop tool transform a photo from okay to spectacular? Usually, when photographers take photos, specifically ones that are intentionally set up, everything in the frame of the photograph has a purpose. Therefore, sometimes photographers are hesitant to crop photographs for fear of eliminating essential parts that convey a story. I definitely struggle with this! Does this feel like something you ponder when in the editing process? Keep reading to learn my take into this common dilemma!

Cropping an image focuses the eye on the most essential part of a photograph. If the photograph looks better without all the excess that you initially thought was crucial, then it was never needed! I agree that sometimes cropping makes the purpose of the photograph more obscure, but the audience has the ability to interpret and perceive, which is often my favorite part about being a photographer!

In other cases, cropping an image will switch the focus of a photograph and completely eliminate what you are trying to convey as a photographer. The audience will not pick up on your message as you are cropping intentional and purposeful areas out of your photograph. Yet, what I like to think is if your cropped photograph looks more enticing and appealing than the original, and your message is not obtainable, then you should reshoot! As another option, you can take advantage of the shot you captured, and turn it into something great that you did not initially intend!

Recently, I tried capturing a photograph to represent the idea of insomnia and binge eating at night. My first mistake was that I did so during daylight, making viewers perceive the shadows and lighting as someone awake during the day instead of the night. My next mistake was that whilst attempting to spray my brother, the model’s, back, it appeared more as a person who has just gotten out of the shower instead of a person night sweating as a symptom of insomnia. Instead of completely disregarding the photos and reshooting, I played around with the crop tool and created a photo that has magnificent contrast, lighting, and shadows. I ended up naming this photograph “Saturated.” Evidently, mistakes are natural, essential, and sometimes beneficial, as I ended up creating an even more interesting photograph with the crop tool!

If you feel hesitant and are constantly debating with yourself about cropping an image, you should know that you are not alone. Take my advice and play around with the crop tool. You never know if your okay photograph will turn into a spectacular one! Below is my “before” and “after” of my photograph before using the crop tool. Follow my Instagram @sara.sphotography and my Pinterest @eyeofmycamera to receive updates about future blog posts!