Rules/Guidelines to Cropping?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by close2reality, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. close2reality macrumors 6502

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    Sep 21, 2012
    #1
    Curious to hear everyones principles and or guidelines when it comes to cropping. I have read about the rule of thirds, but thats really about it.

    When you crop is it proper practice to crop on par to print sizes (4x6+ etc.)?

    I have various crop sizes in my library based on how I felt it warranted the photos character, but I have not really followed any guidelines size wise, just mainly follow the thirds rules.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #2
    Rules such as Thirds are about composition. Get the composition right in camera as much as possible. Use cropping to fine tune the composition.

    The exact shape of the crop should be related to what you plan to do for output. If the image is to be matted using off the shelf, you likely need to crop and print accordingly. If you only show the image on a screen, you can do any crop shape. The same goes for cutting custom sized/shaped mats.

    Is you shoot raw, you can easily have several different versions of the same image, each with a different crop.
     
  3. close2reality thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 21, 2012
    #3
    I have been reluctant to use any autofocus point aside from the center on my 6D due to the fact most say the outer points are inferior. This leads me to have to do a lot of composition alterations such as "rule of the thirds" post process..

    Are the 6D outer AF points that bad or should I not be so reluctant?
     
  4. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 24, 2006
    #4
    I don't shoot with a Canon, so I have no idea if the outside AF points are really terrible (though it's hard for me to believe they're really that bad...), however, can't you set the AF using the center point, and then recompose with the AF locked? Every camera I've used has had an AF-L button, or you can set the AF to lock when you half-press the shutter release.
     
  5. close2reality, Feb 24, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015

    close2reality thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 21, 2012
    #5
    Ill have to check into that.

    edit: I feel dumb! I just tried that by focusing in on an object center mass in my frame, then while continuing to hold the af lock i moved that object to the left side of my frame and it remained focused!

    Would anything cause the AF lock to unfocus? Say if you move the focus point into lower lighting in the frame etc?
     
  6. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

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    #6
    Personally I try to get it right in camera and crop as little as possible. If I do, I always keep the aspect ratio as per printing sizes etc.

    Wildlife is probably where I break this rule though, but when I get my 500 mm prime (and the lottery numbers!) I'll probably stop that as well.
     
  7. Attonine macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 15, 2006
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    Kent. UK
    #7
    I have never shot with Canon, but I would be extremely surprised if the outer AF points were any different to the centre AF point. Low light can cause the cameras to hunt for the focus point (hence the focus assist lights which is the first thing everyone switches to off when they get a new camera!), but that's all cameras, not just the 6D. I haven't paid much attention, but I thought the 6D was supposed to be a pretty good camera, not much to worry about?

    Oh, and try to get the frame right in camera!
     
  8. close2reality thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
    center is a cross type AF
     
  9. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #9
    In good lighting you can use all your AF points... cross or not, they will all work well in good light.

    Only in dimly lit situations will you need to focus and recompose using the centre-point.

    The only times focus and recompose can be a problem are in some edge cases...
    - If you're shooting at an incredibly shallow DoF like f/1.2-1.4 where moving the camera even slightly can move the focal plane enough to put your intended subject out of focus. In those kinds of situations I would suggest not recomposing... use your centre point and then crop in post if the composition is not to your liking.
    - Sometimes it's possible to dramatically change the lighting/exposure when you recompose. Most people have AE lock and AF lock tied together on a half-press of the shutter for convenience. Using this button to focus and recompose will also lock your exposure to the initial scene, not the final one. You can get around this by using back-button focus "*-button" to lock focus separate from exposure, but I've never bothered with this technique and it hasn't really caused an issue.

    As for cropping, don't worry about it. There's no do's and don'ts when it comes to cropping. Obviously, getting it right in the camera provides you with the maximum resolution image but for images that get posted on the web, this is hardly a big constraint. If you're shooting for a magazine or Times Square billboard, then it's more important :D
     
  10. close2reality thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 21, 2012
    #10
    Yea I was just reading a few articles that were not fans of AF/Recompose.

    How would someone not recompose and still follow the thirds rule? Most A/F points don't reach far enough to either side.

    So there may be occasions where lets say, the "logo" of a sign will not be reachable to your AF point. You would have to just use the closest A/F point despite the A/F point not being directly over it.

    The DoF issue is a real buzzkill.
     
  11. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #11
    Yeah, who ever came up with the rule-of-thirds clearly didn't have a modern phase detect AF DSLR with AF points clustered in the center of the frame :D :p

    You may still have to do a bit of focus-and-recompose even if you use the outer points. No biggie. It works well except in edge cases as I mentioned.

    As for shallow DoF being a buzzkill, if you plan to get some fast glass and shoot wide-open, it will take some practice and skill to nail focus with razor-thin DoF no matter what focus point you use. It can be challenging and frustrating (especially with a lens like the 50 f/1.2 which has focal plane curvature!), but also very rewarding.
     
  12. skaeight macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2009
    #12
    This is slightly off topic, but does anyone know if there's a way to invert the crop form aspect ratio in LR like you can in Aperture (e.g. the shot was originally 4:3, but I want to change it to 3:4)? It seems like all of the aspect ratio options keep the photo in the same orientation.
     
  13. aerok macrumors 65816

    aerok

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    #13
     
  14. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

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    Jun 18, 2010
    #14
    The first rule is there is no rule. ;) Crop the image how you like and in a way that compliments the image. The crop can be just as much a part of the artistic vision as the act of composing the picture.

    With that said I typically crop my images to 2:3 or 4:5 with a few 1:2 to standardize the framing. I'm just getting started showing my work and it is much easier to have a few standard sized frames to show the images. When I start making Peter Lik money I can be more creative with the crops and framing. I have no problem deviating from this if the image warrants it but generally I will pick 2:3 or 4:5 if it fits the image.

    ----------

    Just grab the corner of the crop outline and drag it. As it approaches 3:4 it will snap to that orientation.
     
  15. tgara, Feb 25, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2015

    tgara macrumors 6502a

    tgara

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    #15
    The outer vertical AF points are not "bad". They are simply less sensitive than the center cross-type point. As someone else mentioned, in good light it should not be a problem and you should get a properly focused image. The only issue you might have is that since the outer points are oriented vertically, the camera *may* struggle to lock focus onto a scene with vertical elements (a group of trees, a picket fence, etc.)

    I move my focus point around in the VF all the time to adjust for composition. I've got my 5DIII set so the joystick on the back controls the focus point. I believe your 6D has a similar function.

    It's your camera, use it however you like. But my own view is that by only using the center point to focus, you're not taking advantage of a lot the AF system has to offer. I would suggest you try it.
     
  16. tgara macrumors 6502a

    tgara

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    Jul 17, 2012
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    Somewhere in the Delta Quadrant
    #16
    As a general rule, I crop according to standard frame size as well.

    Funny thing, I got a Pixma Pro-10 for Christmas, and it came with a pack of 13x19 paper. Not a common size, I was struggling on how to use it until I found a trick. If you set the image print size to 12x18 and print on the 13x19 paper, you get a nice 1/2 inch border all the way around and you don't need to crop because the 12x18 translates into 2:3 ratio (same as my RAW image)!

    I printed one of my landscapes using that trick, framed it in an inexpensive metal 13x19 frame, and entered it into our local Audubon Society photo competition. Surprisingly, I won second place!
     
  17. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

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    Jun 18, 2010
    #17
    Congrats on the contest recognition!

    I think you just hit on why the paper is 13x19. ;) 13x19 is actually very common once you start printing. When I send my prints out to the lab I still print both the 12x18 (2:3) and 12x16 (4:5) crops on 13x19 paper. I then use photo corners on the backer board so that I can interchange the prints as needed. I can also print out versions at home if I don't want it on the Fuji paper.

    The pictures in this photo are all done that way.

    [​IMG]

    Don't mind the haphazard hanging, I was just testing the hanging system. Also, the lighting isn't setup. This was just what was in the room. I do a similar treatment with the larger 20x30, it is printed on 24x32 paper.

    I also used 13x19 for my signage.

    [​IMG]
    (Sorry, TIMG doesn't like this URL.)

    I printed on 13x19 Pictorico transparency film and slid it in with the glass on a 13x19 shadowbox frame. I then put LEDs on the backer board. I can easily change out the image as it suits me.
     
  18. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    #18
    The focus points are not really inferior to the point you wouldn't use them. I think this is cross type verses non cross type is it? I think it is more likely they are focussing in areas where some less sharp lenses get soft and so disappoint in the output maybe?

    I use the focus then recompose technique. Always have done as couldn't be bothered with faffing round moving focus point each time.

    The only issue I see with this and this is theoretical as I haven't really noticeably came foul of it, is that there is a slightly change to the focal plain distance if you move the camera after locking focus.

    Unless you are dealing in f1.4 razor thin DoF at real short distances then I doubt you will ever notice this.

    As for cropping the output, I tend to stick to print sizes mainly but then if it can't work for me to get the framing I want, I resort to framing what ever size I want. I have noticed square framing becoming more popular recently.

    ----------

    Click focus onto the picture in developer mode, press z...

    BE CAREFUL.. If you have focus on the thumbnails at the bottom it will flag it as rejected instead...

    Guess how I learned about this little gem of Adobe logic!?!?!?
     

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