What part do you want to show?
Good pictures make the content of a story clear at a glance. Or can explain something that is more difficult to express in words. Whether you use pictures for an article in a digital or printed form, doesn’t matter. The rules are the same.
Using your own pictures is practical for two reasons:
1. You have no problems concerning the copyright of somebody else, because the copyright belongs to you;
2. You can crop the images the way you want. Another one’s photos cannot be changed at your discretion.
What to consider when you crop a photo?
Are there rules for cropping photos?
And if so, do you need to follow them?
These are obviously rhetorical questions. Yes, there are rules. No, you are not obliged to follow them. Although you cannot ignore rules when you don’t know them.
If you take pictures yourself, you decide in the viewfinder on position, composition, color and lines. The photo is ready when clicking.
However, especially if your camera saves large files, you can choose to intentionally step away too far from your subject. With a lot of space around your focus point you can later:
- Crop, so the picture suits your story;
- Crop, so your picture will fit into the available space.
Ten guidelines for cropping:
1. What is the direction of the subject?
A person should look into the photo
It’s better to have space in the picture before a person
The direction is obvious when the subjects are people or animals. It is either the direction they are looking at or the direction they are going. At other subjects you can for example look at the perspective distortion of a road.
It is better to have space before the person on a picture than behind him.
Only crop a picture like this if you have a good reason
A picture has a direction.
Take that into account when cropping it.
2. Let a person look into the page
This can be a paper page, but also a digital one
Better to let a person look into the page if possible like in the intro of this article
Make sure a movement or a viewing direction points into the page when positioning a picture. This does not apply to images that are page wide, but to photos that are pasted in the text or in pages that have more than one column.
3. Look into the photo
Over the shoulder of a person
Peeking over a shoulder
This concerns both the choice of the right position when taking the picture as cropping afterwards. By putting a person in the foreground, you guide the viewer into the photo.
4. Note the feet and hands
Take a good look what is on the photo
Nothing is as awkward in a photo as a person missing a foot or a hand. Again, better exaggerate your crop, so when a foot is missing in the photo, crop until you show only the upper half of the person.
Too bad a foot is missing
5. How much do you show?
What is your view?
A portrait usually shows the whole face. But the top of the hair is not always necessary. The image doesn’t have to be exactly symmetrical. And at times an unusual crop is way more interesting.