PhotoDopes: Photo Cropping Advice

OK so I have this photo I took and I definitely think it could use a good crop. I know I want to at least get rid of the planter up top, but should I do a real close crop and try and remove the extraneous shadow from the street light and the shadow on the left? or should I try and preserve as much of the bike racks as possible? I know there is no right answer, just seeking opinions. I have tried it many ways and cannot make up my mind and now I have basically played with it so much I can’t figure out in my head what looks right and what doesn’t anymore.

You might try cloning to get rid of the shadow(s).

I’d crop aggressively from the top. The grass and sidewalk up there don’t add anything to it. And probably a bit from the right. I’m not entirely sure this composition works for me, though. I don’t mind the shadow on the left, I think it actually does good to break up the rigid geometry without being intrusive, but there’s just too much dead space for me on the right side of the frame that’s not balanced with anything on the left that’s making the composition a bit awkward for me.

Personally, I’d explore this location again. Do you have any other shots from this take?

Maybe you could just not crop at all. :slight_smile:

Actually, I think you’ve got something very interesting going on with the contrast between the shadows, so dense they are almost black, going in one direction, and the iron tubes going in another. If you wanted to go for a totally confusing abstract effect, crop in tight on the right so that the right vertical bar on the third bike rail (I’m just guessing they look like a bike rail, just for something to call them) bleeds to the edge. Crop on the left so the left vertical bar on the third bike rail bleeds to the left. Crop the top so that the horizontal bar on the third rail bleeds to the top. And crop the bottom so the horizontal bar on the first bike rail bleeds to the bottom. What you’re left with are a series of interesting abstract shapes that it will take your eye a while to figure out. Might even invite viewers to guess what it is and then show them the full photo.

Course, that’s just one option. It’s a real nice photo, you’ve got a lot of options.


Great minds think alike.

Well, “sidewalk” is a pretty good replicable texture.

I agree that the only way it really works is if the landscaping disappears. It also needs the bottom bit, beneath the nearest horizontal bar cropped out.

After that you can try cropping a third or a fourth off the left side or right side and see if you like any of those views.

You don’t always have to turn photos into studies of abstract shapes, but the curb, greenery and extra shadows distract from the image.

If the location is nearby, I would try again – the best solution is to recompose the image in-camera.

You could leave it as is, which is not bad.

Cropping to a 4x5 aspect from the bottom will eliminate the planter, although somehow I don’t like the resulting image as much.

Sample of the image cropped.

Hey, I like that one! Nice.

Yeah, something in that general direction is one possible way I would take this picture. I’d rather reshoot it, though, as that’s a pretty strong crop and you’re likely to loose a lot of resolution if you’re printing it.

The other idea with the cloning is okay, but it’s just a bit too obvious and typical repetition. Repetition as an element in photography is a classic compositional technical, but, like symmetry, I think it needs something to break it up a little to add visual interest.
On its own, it’s a bit static.

This. Expand it so you can get all of the front wheel in the frame, then shop out the planter and unwanted shadows. Might even consider a different time of day to get the shadows lined up more centered inside each other.

I like this.