To Crop or not to Crop?

Cropping an image is perhaps one of the most creative things you can do after the initial capture.

Last week, sitting at a cafe in Liguria, I grabbed this image – by instinct rather than any clear idea of what I was trying to achieve. This is the out of camera image.

My initial work was to straighten the image, add a touch more brightness and to crop a little off the top of the photo to produce this.

The image is now beginning to show something of what I sensed originally – girl and her friend (largely obscured)  looking sideways at the man to their right.

But now what is catching my eye are the three cigarettes – all held at a similar angle.

So I tried a tighter crop to exclude some of the table clutter and to focus more on the cigarettes. I retained the cigarette packet on the table to echo this theme.

But now, I’m asking myself whether an even tighter crop would help produce a stronger image – something like this.

This last version emphasises the three cigarettes more strongly, and concentrates the viewer on the girl/boy axis,   but arguably loses some of the cafe context.

There’s no “right” answer – as always it’s a matter of personal preference. But it helps to show how even a little cropping can help draw out the creative focus of your image.

What do you think?                                                                                                   Gary

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One response to “To Crop or not to Crop?

  1. Speaking as a once hot bloodied male, the cigarettes are the last thing that i noticed!

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