Image cropping, Yes or No?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by cliveh, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Do you try to compose in the viewfinder and not crop in the darkroom? I try to, but don’t hold it as a sacrosanct if I feel the image can be improved by cropping at the printing stage.
     
  2. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Does it really matter?

    I'm sure most of us try to get it right in the camera. I'm sure most of us crop when we print.
     
  3. andreios

    andreios Member

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    I usually try to stick to the whole negative when I print, but that doesn't mean that I wouldn't crop from time to time. Only the other night I was "playing" with some lith and trying various heavy crops - especially "panoramic" from 6x6 negs. Don't feel guilty about it at all.
     
  4. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    Virtually always. Maximize the composition.
     
  5. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    As an obligate contact printer, I don't have much choice. I can crop at print time, but only to a size that makes sense to print---that is, I might print only a 5x7 crop of an 8x10 negative, or whatever. I try to avoid doing that, though.

    For the folks with enlargers, or for finishing in d*g*t*l, it seems like one would want to plan for a little bit of a buffer zone at the borders, right? You can always say "oops, I didn't realize that sign was sticking in at the edge" and crop a little bit, but you can't do the opposite and recover a little bit from beyond the edge of the negative!

    -NT
     
  6. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    I make that decision when I make the sheet and think about printing..
     
  7. thegman

    thegman Member

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    I don't like to crop, but I will if I have to.
     
  8. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    Sure. Why not?

    If I am contact printing then where and how I crop will effect the final size, but if I feel it makes for a stronger picture I would do it without giving it a thought.

    It is interesting though, whenever I am running around shooting with one of my Barnacks I sense myself trying harder to frame things exactly the way I want, more so than with any other camera. I can probably chalk that up to a subconscious thought about HCB.

    But even then I often find ways to strengthen that picture later by cropping. Visualizing the dynamic scene is often a different experience for me than when I am looking at the contact print and visualizing a finished picture on the wall.

    Obviously I have not yet reached the visual sophistication of St. Ansel or HCB. :smile:
     
  9. BradleyK

    BradleyK Member

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    +1. I confess to being (almost) fanatical about cropping in camera/full-frame printing (dogmatic and doctrinaire, and a few less flattering things,I've been called by a few insecure types). If some distracting detail - that I somehow missed - finds its way into a photograph, the image will never be printed, instead finding itself consigned to the pile of rejects/misses.
     
  10. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    One consideration I always try and bear in mind, with occasional failure, is to remember that in all likelihood I am printing 8x10. With this in mind I always try and leave a little space on the short side in, say, 135 roll film so that I have something that can be cropped out if I am printing full sheet 8x10.
     
  11. jerrybro

    jerrybro Subscriber

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    In the viewfinder I capture everything I can, when printing I crop to emphasize what I thought was important.
     
  12. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Depends on what you are trying to do. If ones subject is the negative, maybe the whole thing needs to be shown.
     
  13. momus

    momus Member

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    I try to nail it on the neg. It makes the printing go faster & easier.
     
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  15. illumiquest

    illumiquest Member

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    Depends on whether you're trying to be the perfect photographer or deliver your message perfectly.
     
  16. NedL

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    I try to print what I intended when I made the photo... usually I don't crop. Sometimes I make a picture with a particular crop in mind... lately I've made a few where the plan was to crop to 2:1 ( about 4.5 x 9 inch print ).
     
  17. pstake

    pstake Member

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    I try to get it right on the negative. If the print is for a specific purpose or audience, and the need/assignment is better fulfilled, cropped—then I crop.

    When I studied documentary photography at Salt, (back when it was all analog), we had two teachers. One was a retired AP photographer, who thought full-frame printing was lofty but a good goal to have.

    The other teacher had an MFA and most of her work was not as deadline-oriented. She strongly discouraged cropping.

    I wish I could say the one who discouraged cropping was the better photographer or vice versa. But they both made images that literally made me catch my breath.

    So there was a very deliberate tension created around the full-frame/crop debate and I still feel that tension when I print.

    I think striving for full-frame can only make you a better photographer. Cropping can make your work more desirable to a majority of people who don't give a shit about lofty things.
     
  18. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Where would you crop "Ava, Mendocino"? (Exercise for Subscribers because the print is in the Galleries)...

    I think of photography as a kind of poetry, and so I enjoy the entire photograph as a whole, edge to edge. If it doesn't work that way, I reserve the right to crop. But lately, it's been full-frame full-steam ahead.
     
  19. pstake

    pstake Member

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    I wouldn't...great moment, great framing.
     
  20. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    sometimes i crop because i can.. but sometimes i can't .
    so i do my best to get it right in-camera.

    i am guessing even the people who claim full frame or death
    and got famous for their full frames, wished they weren't such
    zealots and could crop .. but then again maybe i am wrong ..
    ( ive seeen cropped contact prints, taped chromes and other things
    i never thought were possible )

    are there any writers that published rough drafts ?
     
  21. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    I like it exactly as it is and it is a beauty. My answer will be unpopular and maybe sneered at ( I know I know... the "hard lesson" all art students learn and all that, phooey! ). It's your photograph, you made it, you are the one who decided it was a moment worth releasing the shutter ( and it obviously was ) and if that is the photo you had in mind then that is what it should be. If your intent was to crop, then fine. Otherwise, I think if you change it to please a fictitious viewer or art collector or APUG member, then you shortchange yourself. The point of the whole thing is that it is your creation. Unless your goal is to make something to sell, or to please a client, then you own it. If someone else thinks it should be cropped then they should go make a picture and crop it to their heart's content :tongue:
     
  22. munz6869

    munz6869 Subscriber

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    I crop when I need to/why wouldn't I?!! Lately I've been experimenting with printing to a 16:9 ratio, as a grand, self-amusing experiment to see if anyone notices, or if people have some kind of reaction to what must now be such a familiar ratio for viewing visual content in the home. So far, nothing... :smile: But the aspect does feel strangely 'right'.

    Marc!
     
  23. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Never never never let the "rules" rule! I've had cameras with viewfinders that weren't seeing exactly what the film did. I had to include a little more in the frame of the viewfinder then print the image I actually saw when I took it. Even so the act of pointing the camera and choosing the distance is essentially cropping albeit in camera.

    When Ansel Adams had a fire in the Yosemite studio he had to put all the glass plates in the bath tub. The famous Half Dome plate lost part of the image so he had to crop the image in printing. He didn't throw it away but used what he had. And that's good, it is a great photograph!
     
  24. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    I really like about 1.7:1 which is pretty close to that -- I agree there is something that feels "right" about it. I have several easels with that aspect and often compose with that in mind. I guess the point I was trying to make is not to do with "full frame" per se, but with intentions. I think is is perfectly great to compose a photo with the crop and aspect ratio of the print in mind.

    What bothers me a little is if the photo is rearranged and disconnected from when it was made, for me personally that takes something away from it. Sometimes I get the impression that some people here forget there was a conscious choice to make a photo and think the final result viewed in a vacuum by an anonymous viewer is all that matters. I think imperfections and quirks and even "mis-framing" are part of the moment in time the photo caught. Sorry if I sounded like I was standing on a soap box!
     
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  25. R.Gould

    R.Gould Member

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    I prefer to print full frame, especialy with 6x6 negatives as I like the square format, but as all but 2 of my cameras are fixed lens it doesn't always work, so I tend to crop, if I have to, within the square frame, or 35mm frame,
     
  26. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It's extremely rare that I crop an image during printing. If I do I've almost always made that decision at the time of shooting not later in the darkroom.

    Ian