I have never understood the sort of elitist concept of "you must be a hack if you can't compose and print full frame" mentality that sometimes exists. That if you crop you somehow didn't envision the shot.

I feel that sometimes the better shot is a crop from your original concept. Cropping is often a way to remove a lot of information that you initially thought important but realize later or in the darkroom is extranious.

When photographing people I, like Cheryl, photograph a lot of kids, and cropping is often essential. In fact, I purposely leave a lot of room around them so I can determine the frame later. Otherwise they would possibly end partly out of frame or would limit what I could do to the final image in the darkroom.

Another thing I found through the years doing portraits is that when I was determining exposure in the darkroom, on say a 16x20, I would use an 8x10 for the face test and found that the very tight crop was in itself an interesting picture.

That eventually enabled me to essentially, make dramatic cropping more of a standard practice in a print that I may want, but still enabled me to sell something with less crop. Not all customers want a portrait of just their face cropped tight.

Michael McBlane