Cropping Digital Photos Into Shape

Did you know that in many cases digital photos are cropped by the time they reach paper? If you have never "cropped" your photos manually, you may not be aware that it is happening.

What is cropping?

Cropping is the process of trimming portions of the digital image so it fits in the shape of the paper. Let's say we have a 5" x 7" photo. The problem is, the frame we want to display is 4" x 6". One of our choices is to take scissors and carefully trim away the least important edges of the photo until it fits into the 4" x 6" frame. What we have accomplished is "cropping".

In the world of digital photography, cropping is performed with software. When the photo is comprised of bits of data, there is no need to crop for size alone-the software and printing process can stretch the image to fit. We do, however, have to crop digital images to fit the paper's shape.

A more detailed look

Let's look at an example. My Canon camera has a sensor size of 1536 x 2048 pixels. Dividing these numbers by the highest common denominator of 512, we get an image shape of 3 x 4.

How many print sizes do you think fit this shape? Not many. If we want 4" x 6" prints, the shape of the 3 x 4 digital image will not fit. It is possible to stretch the image into the 4 x 6 shape using software, but this will distort the image, which we don't want.

Our only option is to crop the 3 x 4 image into the 4 x 6 shape. If you are thinking, "I never had to crop my images and they always looked fine," then chances are the cropping was done for you automatically. Who would do such a thing behind your back?

Don't be alarmed, cropping was always done on our behalf, even with film photos. When we drop off our digital photos at a lab to have them developed, or insert them into our printer, the images are loaded into the computer system and are automatically cropped. How does the computer know which sections are OK to crop and which ones are not? It doesn't. When the decision is left to the machine, it will trim an equal amount from two edges.

Have you ever received a photo from the lab and something important near the edge was cut off, but when you saw it on the computer screen it was there? That is a result of automated cropping.

Do your own cropping for maximum control

Under most circumstances automatic cropping produces good results with our snapshots. In cases where we want to control precisely where the image is trimmed, we need to take the cropping under our own control.

Cropping can be accomplished in several places such as your photo editing or printing software, online developing services, or the kiosk machine available at many local labs. I find that the best place to crop your photos is on your own computer using the software you are most familiar with. If you have never used this feature of your photo editing software, I urge you to learn how to use it. The other two cropping methods are typically more time consuming. You may also be rushed during the delicate cropping procedure if a line forms behind you at a kiosk machine.

Charles Kerekes is an amateur photographer and maintains the Flying Sam Digital Photo Guide (FlyingSamPhoto.com) web site to help others find fun and unique digital photo finishing products and services.

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

The Ringer (blog)

How Aura Photography Invaded Instagram
The Ringer (blog)
Kirlian photography is regarded as the predecessor to what we now know as aura photography. In the 1980s, a man named Guy Coggins invented an aura camera for the mass market: the AuraCam 3000. Coggins later introduced the AuraCam 6000, which is ...


Vulture

How to Master Food Photography on a Phone
Vulture
How to Master Food Photography on a Phone. By Vulture Editors. Smartphones have amazing cameras, but sometimes that's not enough to get an Instagram-worthy picture. Luckily, photographer Donny Tsang is sharing his tips for styling and editing food ...


New York Times

How Photography Has Shaped Perceptions of African Women
New York Times
Uncovering the beauty of African women and their worlds within fractured and layered colonial histories demands a special attention to detail. As the documentary photographer Laylah Amatullah Barrayn and the author Catherine E. McKinley know, many of ...


New York Times

MoMA Photography Chief Returns to Paris to Direct Museum
New York Times
Quentin Bajac, the chief curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, will return to his native Paris to become director of the Jeu de Paume, France's national photography museum. Mr. Bajac has served as MoMA's photography chief since January ...
Quentin Bajac, MoMA Photography Curator, Leaves for Post as Director of Jeu de PaumeARTnews

all 3 news articles »

Crow River Media

Hutchinson Photography Club's annual showcase opens Saturday
Crow River Media
Members of the Hutchinson Photography Club are exhibiting their best work at the group's annual showcase. An opening reception is from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Hutchinson Center for the Arts, 15 Franklin St. S.W. The show will hang through Friday, Nov.


Wall Street Journal

What to Give: Books About Photography
Wall Street Journal
Laurence King Publishing had to include Joel Meyerowitz's “Where I Find Myself: A Lifetime Retrospective” (352 pages, $65) in its Elephant Book series; it takes an oversize, 5.6- pound book to cover Mr. Meyerowitz's six decades in photography. The work ...


Poughkeepsie Journal

Photographers contemplate state of being in Woodstock center's 'Still Life' exhibit
Poughkeepsie Journal
This year Elizabeth Ferrer, vice president, Contemporary Art at BRIC, a major New York cultural organization, was invited to jury the exhibit "Photography Now 2018: Still Life," representing a variety of styles that contemplate a state of being, or a ...


WHIO

Megan Allen of Studio 22 Photography in Dayton wins $25,000 ...
WHIO
Megan Allen, born and raised Daytonian and owner of and photographer for Studio 22 Photography, was chosen as a recipient of Sony's Alpha Female ...

and more »

New York Times

She Needed No Camera to Make the First Book of Photographs
New York Times
The plants are white as ghosts, and they float in fields as sharply blue as the waters off Dover. Each one is a little miracle, their neuron-like roots winding across the page, their leaves revealing every branching vein. These are photographs ...


Las Cruces Bulletin

Doña Ana Photography Club focuses on winning entries in 7th annual contest
Las Cruces Bulletin
Bulletin Report. Las Cruces photographer Gerald Guss was named Photographer of the Year at the recent Doña Ana Photography Club's (DAPC) annual awards presentation. Las Cruces photographer Carl Maier was awarded Photo of the Year with his entry ...

Google News

Choosing The Right Digital Camera

Let's get something straight right out of the box. If... Read More

Imperfect Photos And How You Can Fix Them

So your picture came out less then perfect. Blemishes or... Read More

Cropping Digital Photos Into Shape

Did you know that in many cases digital photos are... Read More

Have You Read Your Digital Camera Manual?

Have you read the manual that came with your digital... Read More

The Benefits of Underwater Digital Cameras

Underwater digital cameras are fun and easy to use under... Read More

Photography Business: Taking Baby Photos - for Professionals & Families

Babies make the best and the worst subjects to photograph.... Read More

Digital Cameras Demystified

Demystifying Digital Camera JargonWant to buy a digital camera but... Read More

The Primer on Digital Camera Printers

Once you have clicked photos through your digital camera, then... Read More

Picture Framing for Photographers - Part 2

There are two sources for obtaining the moulding for making... Read More

Photography 101 Part 3

ContentEven if you feel that you already know what kind... Read More

The Well-Dressed Photographer - Summer

Outdoor photographers shoot year round. That includes the hot summer.... Read More

Use A Tripod!

Using a tripod is essential when taking photos - and... Read More

Specialized Styles of Photography

Outlined below is a list of genres that call for... Read More

Removing a Textured Pattern from a Scanned Photo ? 5 Minute Digital Fix

One of the most common problems when dealing with scanned... Read More

Digital Camera Batteries

Every device needs a driving force to operate, just as... Read More

Photography Has No Gender

Women photographers are fortunate. Unlike other titles, photographer has no... Read More

Home Run Baseball Photography Tips

Strike one! Strike two! Strike three!Baseball! America's Pastime, and a... Read More

Guidelines for Printing Great Photos at Home

So you have this great digital camera and you've taken... Read More

Megapixel Cameras: How Many Megapixels Do You Need?

Knowing which megapixel camera to buy can be intimidating. There... Read More

Your Mobile Digital Darkroom ? Five Tools of the Trade

While digital photography offers you the ability to review photograph... Read More

Digital Camera Memory - An Introduction

The digital camera is essentially a computer-based device, whose core... Read More

Proper Handling and Storage of Paper Photos

Youv'e taken that perfect photo in the perfect light at... Read More

Getting the Most From Your Digital Camera Memory Card

Imagine taking your new digital camera on a vacation and... Read More

Olympus Digital Cameras - Digging Into The History

One of the oldest companies, Olympus has had a long... Read More

Light and Depth of Field

With such a fantastic device as the digital camera for... Read More