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How often have you cropped out unwanted details from your image to cut out the noise and focus on the subject? Or, perhaps included an element in your crop that instantly added depth to the story you were trying to tell through your photos? Possibly quite often. And yet, this is one step in your photo editing process that might sometimes get overlooked or ignored amid the many other processes that go into creating a stellar image. However, cropping contributes much more to your image than just cutting it to size. It allows you the creative freedom to play with the perspective of an image – just by tactfully choosing what elements you crop out from or keep in your image. However, as creatively liberating cropping is, it could also be equally challenging at times – and close cropping even more so. Think of it as holding a scalpel and making a cut with extreme precision. While a good crop can enhance the look of your photograph by directing the viewer to look at an image exactly the way you want them to, a badly cropped photo could, in fact, accentuate its flaws. But worry not! To help you ace the wonder technique, this blog brings you some tips and unique close cropping inspiration from some ShootDotEdit’s customers. So let’s get started!

The Need Of Close Cropping

Infographic stating a tighter crop can help add a hint of drama and draw attention to intriguing details in your images

Not every scene needs to be closely cropped, not every subject benefits from it. Yet, the powerful technique of close cropping can help you create some truly compelling images. Why, you ask? Depending on how you frame it, a tighter crop can help add a hint of drama, introduce a sense of intimacy and closeness, and draw attention to certain intriguing details that could otherwise get lost in the scene. Moreover, it highlights the subject’s facial expression and changes the orientation and the aspect ratio, thus changing the way a particular scene is perceived.

Unique Close Cropping Inspiration From ShootDotEdit Customers

1. Lovers Of Love Photography

A black and white portrait of a bride and groom
Image Courtesy: ShootDotEdit Customer @loversoflove

2. Narvold Photography

A portrait of a bride and groom hugging
Image Courtesy: ShootDotEdit Customer @narvoldphotography

3. Taylor Kemp Photography

A black and white portrait of a bride
Image Courtesy: ShootDotEdit Customer @taylorkempphotography

4. Erin Morrison Photography

A close up portrait of a bride and groom
Image Courtesy: ShootDotEdit Customer @erinm_photography

5. Love By Joe Mac

A close up shot of a couple holding hands
Image Courtesy: ShootDotEdit Customer @lovebyjoemac

Suggested Read: Wedding Photo Ideas: Inspiration From ShootDotEdit Customers

Effective Close Cropping Tips For Photographers

1. Crop In the Camera

While you have the liberty to crop an image in the post-production stage, doing so while photographing an image could help you in composing your scene and crop the frame as per your vision during the production process. Here’s why – when you compose your scene with the intention to highlight a particular subject and crop out the distractions, it not only saves you time that you would have spent cropping later but can also help make the image stand out. Moreover, unlike cropping during editing, when you crop in the camera, the file size of the image is not affected. And therefore, your chances of losing any details are lesser, as you get a full-size image. So it could be a good practice to try and envision the composition that you wish to create and then proceed.

2. Try To Tell A Story

When you get to cropping, we suggest you give some thought to the idea behind the scene that you wish to convey. Is there a story you want to tell? Are there some details in the scene that could help you tell that story? And are there some distracting elements that could be eliminated from the scene? Before you even begin to use the crop tool, these are some of the questions that you might want to ask yourself. Spending some thought on the purpose you want your image to serve could make the cropping process much easier for you. And to help you with that, try to introduce the aspect of storytelling to make an impact. One great way of doing that is focusing on the components that help you build the scene and put across the message you want to convey.

Suggested Read: Storytelling In Wedding Photography: 5 Ways To Get It Right

3. Leave Breathing Space

Okay, so not all of your images have to necessarily tell a story, but they could still make a pretty good photograph. One of the prime rules of unique close cropping is to leave some – not too much – breathing space when photographing a subject’s profile facing a certain direction. Leaving some breathing room in the direction the subject is facing is a good idea. Otherwise, your images could appear cramped and closed off, creating an illusion of your subject facing a wall. Unless, of course, you want to convey that your subject is confined in an enclosed space!

4. Don’t Crop At The Joints

A close up shot of a bridal bouquet
Image Courtesy: ShootDotEdit Customer @dianenicolephoto

With the crop tool in your hands, you can change the perspective of the scene and add a new dimension to the image by cutting the frame from anywhere, but that doesn’t mean you randomly crop your image, making it look choppy and odd. Cropping without a clear motive could do you more harm than good. Another important thing to keep in mind is to spear the bends and the joints. Cropping at the joints of elbows, knees, wrists, fingers, toes, etc., can often lead to a weird visual effect. Rather try to crop areas that do not bend and, therefore, do not create such unflattering visual effects – such as the chest, waist, torso, etc. And if you are looking for inspiration, you could simply scroll up for the unique close cropping ideas and images by our customers we have featured here.

5. Crop At Eye Level, But Don’t Cut Out The Chin

A very close up shot of a couple
Image Courtesy: ShootDotEdit Customer @olsondesignphotography

Close cropping can be challenging, especially when you have to decide to crop in a way where you have to cut off a body part. But here’s a tip when you are doing a close crop – bring the scene to the eye level. This effect can help engage the viewer. Following the rule of thirds, see if you can bring the subject’s eyes to the upper level of where the grid lines intersect. Moreover, to add to the effect, try not to cut out the chin. Cutting out the chin might just make your subject look awkward. Having said that, there could, however, be exceptions to the rule if you want to photograph your subject under a layering of water, blanket, and so on.

6. Stick To A Similar Cropping Style For A Photo Series

Close cropping can create some illusions, and when you are working on a photo series or an album that will showcase the images next to each other, sticking to a consistent cropping style could be ideal to avoid a drastic change in the point of view. The goal is to make all the images look appealing when displayed together. Think of it as a collage of the same scene or an event, not a mosaic of different occasions. Your crop variations should help add to the narrative, rather than looking like disjointed pieces put together haphazardly.

Suggested Read: The Complete Guide To Essential Wedding Photo Edits

Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment

Bridal bouquet
Image Courtesy: ShootDotEdit Customer @lovebyjoemac

We hope you found this blog helpful and the images featuring ShootDotEdit customers inspiring! Know that the cropping technique is your adjust feature that could pivot the look and feel of your image just the way you want. A little crop here, or a slight snip there, and voila! Your image could go from being ordinary to outstanding. Mastering the trick of what elements to keep in your photos and what to remove from them and in what proportions could in the end help you create stunning images. However, the rules we discussed above are meant to help you get better at the technique, not restrict your creative abilities. So, practice and modify your cropping skills to suit your style and vision. And don’t be afraid to experiment with new techniques to introduce a completely fresh perspective to your visual storytelling!

Further Read: Indoor Wedding Photography Inspiration From ShootDotEdit Customers

Here at ShootDotEdit, we look forward to helping you get better at your craft and reach newer heights as a wedding photographer. To help you dedicate more time to your business and art, we offer professional photo editing services that can lessen your post-production workload. To learn more about how we can help, check out our pricing plans.

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