Some people like to crop the photos they take, some don’t. I used to be in the second camp for a very long time. I would just never crop my photos, never change the aspect ratio. Only very rarely, when I needed to clean up the edges. But I changed my mind in the end. And today, I will share with you some of my reasons and thoughts about that.
To crop or not to crop
The biggest reason I never cropped my images before was that I always felt like I was losing something. I always tried to get the composition I wanted right in the camera. But over time I just found out this is not always possible. Especially when you start using prime lenses or some ultra wider or fisheye lenses, you will inevitably capture more than you want or need. And that makes for a lot of empty space, like the extra ground, extra empty sky, extra walls and so on, that just doesn’t make the photo better.
This is an example of this. This photo was taken with the fisheye lens, and the extra ground just added nothing to it. Removing it made the composition tighter, more focused on the subject of the photo. And yes, I removed the camera shadow in post-processing.
The second reason to not crop was that I like consistency. I like it too much. It just feels nice when you look through your photos and they all fit into a nice grid, all with a nice 4:3 ratio, perfectly aligned. I very rarely even took portrait shots, as they would not fit nicely. I know, it’s a strange reason. But then, when I started to do many vertoramas and panorama, this was no longer achievable at all. Every photo was different, everyone had a different aspect ratio in the end. So instead of my photos being consistent in size, now every single one is different. And I think it looks even better than before.
Almost each of my photos is now of a different aspect ratio.
My last reason was the loos of quality. When you are shooting with a 12Mpix camera or even 22Mpix camera, cropping of half of the photo will degrade the quality quite a lot. But that’s really not the case anymore. Most of my photos now are 30Mpix to 100Mpix in size. I can crop away really a lot, and the quality is there. Also with the progress of the cameras and good sharp lenses, the quality of the photos is better, even if you zoom in. And with tools like Topaz Gigapixel AI, you can upscale you photo 2, 4 or even to 6 times the size, while still being of great quality. Gigapixel AI is probably the most impressive photo editing application I seen in a while.
This was a huge panorama, where I cropped really a lot from it. It’s still a huge image anyway.
In the end, it’s everybody’s own decision if to crop or not to crop your photos. But it’s much easier decision now than it was only a few years before.