AB Friday. Cropping Into the Main Action.

Time for a little editing. For this week’s After Before Friday Forum, I thought I would do a basic edit that most people could use.

Sometimes when we take pictures, the world just gets in our way. Go figure. On a recent trip to Wakulla Springs, I took a boat tour. I should have taken my long lens but I wasn’t really sure how things would go. So I settled with my medium lens. As a result, my reach was not nearly as far in shots where my movement was restricted.

In the shot below, I was on the opposite side of the boat and was trying to get a picture of the bird on the buoy. I wish I could tell you more about the bird. However, I can’t remember what the guide said, and I am not all that educated on the different types of birds. Either way, it struck my eye. I didn’t really want the people in the shot though.

B4 Mlunato

Hence, my goal was to crop in to eliminate the people as a distraction in my photo. The first step was to open the photo in Raw and adjust the settings first though. See the screen shot below for the look I chose to go with.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 9.49.44 PM

Then, I opened the photo up in Photoshop CS5 so that I could chose my cropping area. In the screen shot below, I did a crop that got rid of all signs of the people and the boat. I just wanted to see this grand bird relaxing.

Getting rid of the distractions is possible with nearly any photo. The key point to remember though is that the photo has to start with a high resolution. Since I took this photo in Raw, I had information to play with. Had I taken it with my phone, or a lower resolution, the cropped edit would have come out more pixelated most likely.

To crop, all you have to do is select the crop tool and drag it around until you get the size and shape you want.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 9.45.56 PM

After cropping the photo, I thought I would touch it up a bit more. So, I applied the HDR Toning option onto the picture. See below for the details on that option that I chose.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 9.46.58 PM

The final product shows more of the bird with less distractions. He is the main point of the photo. Now, if your point is to show the view from the boat, maybe you don’t want to crop it. It really depends on what you want to show.

After MLunato

This simple tool can be helpful, but also dangerous. If you crop out too much, you can change the story. If your a news photojournalist, changing the story is to be avoided. If your a photo-blogger who is not reporting news…by all means, make your own version of the story as you wish. I mention this issue since as a military photographer, we cannot crop or alter our photos in any ways that change the view of the event. What you shoot, is what you get. Of course you can adjust colors and contrast, but too much editing can create questions. So it is avoided at all costs. Perhaps I can show some examples of that another week?

Anyway, that’s my edit for the week. What do you think? Prefer? Would you try something different?

Make sure you go to the host page, Aperture 64, to see other bloggers’ submission to the Forum. Ben shows you his before and after edit as well everyone else who played along this week.

To figure out how to play along it the After Before Friday Forum, just click on the badge for the guidelines.



2 thoughts on “AB Friday. Cropping Into the Main Action.

    1. Thank you. Yeah, I saw no great impact in the backs of people’s heads. Of course, had I ran to the other side of the boat and pushed people out of the way…I wouldn’t need to crop, lol.


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