Cropping your photos, before the time of the computer and Photoshop and PaintShop Pro/PaintShop Photo Pro X3 along with other software you had to take your negatives into a custom lab to get them cropped. If you had your own darkroom you did the cropping yourself and did not have to rely on someone else to do the work for you.
In the printing, graphic design and photography industries, cropping refers to removing unwanted areas from a photographic or illustrated image. One of the most basic photo manipulation processes, it is performed in order to remove an unwanted subject or irrelevant detail from a photo, change its aspect ratio, or to improve the overall composition. In telephoto photography, most commonly in bird photography, an image is cropped to magnify the primary subject and further reduce the angle of view when a lens of sufficient focal length to achieve the desired magnification directly is not available. It is considered one of the few editing actions permissible in modern photojournalism along with tonal balance, colour correction and sharpening. A crop made from the top and bottom of a photograph may produce an aspect which mimics the panoramic format (in photography) and the widescreen format in cinematography and broadcasting. Both of these formats are not cropped as such, rather the product of highly specialized optical configuration and camera design.
I spent many a night in my darkroom working on photos to get them right, well, my kind of right. Now I spend minutes working on them in Photoshop to achieve what sometimes took hours or several nights of work in my darkroom.
What is cropping? It is eliminating the unwanted areas of a photo by cutting those areas away from the finished print. When you take a photo sometimes you canâ€™t get close enough to fill the frame with the subject or you donâ€™t have a lens that will bring the subject as close as you would like so you do the work in a graphics software program such as Photoshop. Most point and shoot cameras do not have zooming ability that can bring in close enough distant shots with the optical zoom built into them. The digital zoom in a point and shoot camera really is not a zoom feature, what it does in enlarge the pixels to make it appear you have zoomed in on the subject. When you print it out large you get pixilation or it is appears to be out of focus.
Sometimes you want to change the size of the print from what your camera creates, example: 11 x 17 to an 8 x 10 inch print. You do that in your graphics program by resizing and then cutting off the rest of the photo to fit the smaller sized print. Downsizing an 11 x 17 to an 8 x 10 creates usually an 8 x 12 size so you have two inches that you have to remove from the downsizing of the original photo.
Each graphics program has a similar way to downsize your photo. You open your photo in your graphics program then go to either Edit or Image in the program, click on image size. A window will pop up where you see the size usually in pixels and/or inches/centimeters. You then highlight the size of the photo and change it to the size you wish the program to convert it to and click OK. Your graphic program then does all the work for you.
As with the 8 x 12 size, I will copy the image and create a new document making its size 8 x 10 and paste into it the copy of the 8 x 12 size and adjust the photo to my liking. I then have a file which I can print out as an 8 x 10 on my photo printer.
In my examples I removed the areas around the subject of the photo to make them the main focus of the print. In wildlife photography many times you cannot get close enough to the subject and will later in the darkroom or on the computer crop the photo to achieve what you wanted the photo to show when you took it. Animals do not wait for you to change your lens most of the time so you take the shot and hope you can fix it on the computer.
Cropping is a personal choice if you do it yourself. If you take the photo, whether negative or digital, into a print lab then it is their choice how they crop it within the limits you define to them. I usually try to frame my subjects so that I donâ€™t have to crop them later but it is not always possible to do that within the camera as I take the photo, so I do it later in the graphics program.
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