To Crop or not to Crop
Yesterday I took a photo that I am very happy with. It was a spur of the moment shot, shot from the hip and captured the image exactly as it was in my mind before firing the shutter. A girl was walking towards me in the street and at the time of the day the sun was casting a shadow that only illuminated the girls face, and with the right exposure setting and a little post production tweaking I was confident that the result would be spectacular.
The image above is the file without the crop.
As you can see there is a portion of the image at the top where the sky was captured over the top of the umbrellas that were out the front of a cafe in the street. I was undecided if this was distracting from the overall impact of the image. Keep in mind that this was shot from the hip, and was a very quick action shot so thee framing that I got was what I got...
Last night I submitted the uncropped version to Urban Picnic Street Photography (if you havent been there then you should, the guys are doing some great things that I am starting to get involved in a little as well, more on that soon). The shot was awarded Street Photo of the Day. I have been featured prior to this, but this is the first time I have been selected as shot of the day.
After submitting the file last night I played around with the crop in Lightroom and came up with this:
By removing the sky from the photograph it changes the feel for the image. I sent the cropped version to Rob from Urban Picnic after submitting the original and his view was that the uncropped version was a stronger image. Cropping in his view took something from the image. I am undecided if I agree or not...
So a lot of street work, and many of the most famous street photographers are of the view that one should try and refrain from cropping an image. I am of the same opinion. You should learn to frame your shot in the view finder, and master the focal length of the lens that you are using. This will after a long period of time mean that you should even be able to frame well when shooting from the hip. I dont think that I am even close to being there just yet. Most agree that cropping should be reserved for only when the cropped image is a lot stronger than the original.
I have placed the cropped file on this website. The uncropped version above is linked via URL from Urban Picnic. I would love to hear any comments or opinion on the above.