Cropping a photo was one of the first things I learned how to do in my layout class in college. We did it by hand, with a ruler, grease pencil and your eyes all squinty-like to get an idea of how it’s gonna look when it comes back from the service bureau or printer.
That was all before Photoshop (and Photoshop Elements).
Now you have tools that can not only show you the end result instantaneously, but guide you along the way.
And when you screw it up, just hit “undo.”
Why all the tomfoolery about cropping?
‘Cause it can take a photo from suck to super in a few seconds flat.
You can add emotion to a photo with a good crop. Tension. Excitement. Movement.
One time Pete and I were riding in the car with my mom and we passed by a big field where some people were playing football. In those few seconds the QB threw a hail mary to a guy running so deep only his hands were above ground. He was wide open. It was going…going…and we were gone.
We passed in front of a building blocking the field forever. And at that instant, we both said “we’ll never know if that guy caught that ball.”
So cropping is kinda like that.
It can make your shot extend beyond the format and make the viewer wonder what’s happening outside the frame, in that moment.
I still have that mental picture, cropped only by the speed of our car.
Anyway, I thought of this cropping post as I was trying to snap some shots of my kids at a birthday party. They were all running around going nuts so I just had to fire off some bursts hoping to get a few good shots of my kids. And I was shooting a bit wide to ensure they’d be in frame.
Right now you might be wishing I cropped some of my words, so I’ll get on with it.
That little button summons a magical being with expertise in the mystical and ancient rule of thirds.
Or it throws some little guides up on the screen when you crop.
So what’s the rule of thirds?
The rule of thirds basically divides your composition into a grid of nine sections. By placing your focal point at one of the intersections within the grid, you magically get a better composition. Throw out years of rigorous rich-kid art school training and let Photoshop Elements do it for you.
So what should be your focal point? If it’s a face closeup, it should be the eyes. If it’s a head-to-toe shot, focus on the head. If it’s a Kardashian, then just throw the photo in the trash and find a cat photo.
Okay, I know it wasn’t a great photo to begin with, but I’m trying to take stuff that that is “real” instead of trying to show off some photography skills. I believe there’s value in using tools like Photoshop Elements on real photos by real people.
So what do you think?
Pick up a copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 and crop something and share it on the Adobe Photoshop Elements Facebook Page. Or tell us what you cropped with the cookie cutter paw prints.
Disclosure: Dadand received review software and compensation to test and post about Adobe Photoshop Elements—a company whose products we love and use everyday. We believe in every product and service we review at Dadand, and promise to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, even when we’re trying to break the stuff we receive.