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Q&A: Cropping

“When I first started shooting, I would shoot a little wide, thinking I could always crop it later. Lately, I’ve been framing my shots exactly the way I want them in the camera. Is one way better than the other in your opinion?”

Kimberly P., Houston, TX

Photography schools teach a standard set of “rules” when it comes to cropping and framing, but I truly think what makes the photography industry unique is that it caters to individuality. Everyone has a different style, eye and taste when it comes to their own imagery. And what sets me apart from someone else might be “against the general rules” of photography.

When I was first starting out in photography, I did quite a bit of post-shoot cropping. I was always anxiously afraid of “missing a shot” and tended to just shoot everything and “worry about it later”. While I’m always learning and honing my skills, I’m happy to now know exactly what I’m looking for when I shoot. These days, I try to minimize ANY post-shoot editing by shooting exactly what my mind sees…both in framing and exposure. But that takes truly knowing your style.

Developing a style all your own, and not being influenced by the latest Photoshop actions or processing techniques other studios may be using, is a huge game changer in my opinion when it comes to shooting and editing. Whether I send my shoot images out to my pal Leon at Essential Edit for processing, or do my own editing in-house, the less work the better…for all involved. But until I knew what my own style preference was, I couldn’t make use of shooting in-camera as much as I do know. And I DEFINITELY didn’t feel like I could send my work out to be processed by someone else, when I didn’t know what I’d shot or how I wanted it to finish out. I can honestly say, these days, I may re-crop an average of 5 images out of every 100 post-shoot…and it’s usually to straighten them since my sense of balance isn’t what it used to be. 😉

Knowing exactly what you’d like to capture, and then working to hone your skills enough to actually capture it correctly, is a life-long journey of perfecting and re-perfecting our craft. That’s what makes photography fun, in my opinion…we never stop learning! There’s always something new to try and something more to learn. I guess that’s why they call it Art. xo

  • Aimee Frederick - I am no photographer, but even I notice that your framing is what sets you apart from other camera-wielding artists. Each time we do a shoot together, I love your eye for framing our photos. True talent, and yes…definitely art! xoxo

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