Cropping - Freeform or Fixed Ratio

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by Jammyb, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. Jammyb

    Jammyb
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    First off, respect to people who get it right in camera and never crop. But that's not me a lot of the time, I like to frame a little loose and then crop at my leisure.

    The vast majority of the time I'm not printing, so really it doesn't matter what aspect ratio I crop to. But time and again I find myself choosing one of the 'classics' (8x10 or 2:3...) I'll think if I make this a little wider it's 2:3 or a little taller it's 8:10... but part of me finds this ridiculous.

    It's the same as I'm always paying for fuel on a card, but still aiming for round numbers. Putting in £34.63 of fuel feels slightly deviant...

    Anyway, I digress... What's your cropping policy? If you're doing some sort of online album do you try and restrict yourself to one or two aspects or do you crop to suit the image?
     
  2. simon ess

    simon ess
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    99.9% of the time I use fixed aspect ratio, usually 3x4, and I do like square crops as well.

    The human eye/brain favours certain ratios and anything else can look a little odd.

    There are times though when I feel I can get the balance of the image better with a free crop. Usually when I've messed up the composition.

    So, IMO, mostly best with fixed aspect ratio but free crop to save an image. Or, just experiment to see what you like.
     
  3. Jammyb

    Jammyb
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    This is what I'm questioning I suppose. When you're cropping in lightroom you pass through certain ratios, changes from custom to 1:1, 8:10, 8.5:11, 4:3, 5:7, 6:4 etc. I favour stopping on a 'real' ratio. But are they really better than the space between them? I'm not 100% convinced. I think a lot of it is just throwbacks to various industry standards.
     
  4. simon ess

    simon ess
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    I think you may have a point.

    The "ideal ratio" of phi, or the "golden ratio" as exploited at the Parthenon, fully developed by Da Vinci and found everywhere in nature, is 1X1.618.
    So we should have, rounded, 3x5.
     
  5. Tony8

    Tony8
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    I "suffer" from the same petrol station issue, but I free crop until I am happy. Not got to the stage of printing any of my shots yet, but I guess I will need to use more conventional ratios when I do. Interesting that they brain/eye favour a particular set of ratios over random - I wonder how much of that is conditioned into us and how much is inherent.
     
  6. simon ess

    simon ess
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    It seems to be inherent.

    Nice little overview here
     
  7. shotokan101

    shotokan101
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    I free crop - " a lot"
     
  8. Dancook

    Dancook
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    I crop freely - however, I always try to adhere to a typical ratio, if only judged by eye.
     
  9. johnaalex

    johnaalex
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    I do tend to crop a lot of my shots, but nearly always stick with the same ratio as the original shot in my case that is 3x2 or 2x3. I find it a useful extra bit of flexibility to composing shots prior to posting and/or printing and having a D800E that produces such big files means that even with quite savage cropping I am still left with an image with good IQ.

    On a related topic, when producing photbooks I find that the CEWE software very useful in that, unlike others, it does not alter the aspect ratio of the shot :thumbsup:
     
  10. mucca_D

    mucca_D
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    When shooting for clients I will keep the ratio as is.
    If I am printing, then it does not matter as I can trim and cut a matt to suit.
    For online use I crop as I desire.

    .
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
  11. Mike.P®

    Mike.P®
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    Ditto ... I probably crop 99% of the time tbh and when I do it's nearly always at these ratios but I have also been known to crop at 16:9, especially for landscapes when there is a lot of uninteresting sky.
     
  12. IWC Dopplel

    IWC Dopplel
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    I crop very little, sometimes to move from 4:3 to sqaure. I will happily change the frame proportion if the picture benefits from it but very rarely reduce size through more than two opposite edges.

    What I do do quite often is to adjust the level as I have a tendency to be left hand down by a few degrees

    I tend to print to uniform sizes as if I mount I don't want to be ordering too many specific size mounts
     
  13. Pete Delaney

    Pete Delaney
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    Not sure that keeping a fixed ratio matters too much. I tend to keep an 'eyeball' pleasing ratio when I crop. If I was printing for myself or for someone else I would consider going to an online shop where the frame and border can be bought to the exact custom size I require.

    A 'good' frame and border with a non glare, acrylic glazing at around A2 size can be done for about £60 to £120, delivered (depending on what you choose). If the print is your, or a clients, pride and joy, then that's great value.

    Having done a photo exhibition in the past I learned a huge amount about this sort of stuff....the biggest lesson is it MUST be done right. I made some huge blunders, but have come away the better for it.

    Pete:)
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013

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