Turn Good Photos into Great Prints With Cropping

by Earl J Posted on February 24, 2014

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I find that cropping is one of the easiest and most effective ways to make good photos miraculously turn into great photos. I’m hoping the examples I’m about to show you will help you make your photos even greater. It’s good news that Shutterfly makes it so easy to crop before you order. When you’re ready to get your prints or photo books or other items from Shutterfly, you will have the opportunity to crop. It’s named Preview and then you select Adjust Cropping.

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This first photo, of the Grand Pre church in Nova Scotia, was taken in 2005, as you can see from the date stamp. Date stamping has gone out of favor and it’s just as well. Let’s try cropping this and making it a vertical that highlights the church and eliminates the date.

photo cropping

When we travel we often want a “record shot” to identify where we have been. Here is a typical one for a state park in Georgia that would benefit by some some cropping.

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Is there a way to make this sort of photo more effective? If you haven’t cropped in when you first took the shot, how about cropping now so that the entrance sign is featured.

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Now let’s look at this photo, taken in Romania on Bianca’s wedding day. It’s nice, but there are distractions that could be cropped out, like the head in the upper left and the nick-knacks we see in the chest.

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We’ve kept the important things here – her face and her fan.

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Here is another “record” shot that was taken during part of a family get-together at a state park in Delaware. It’s not bad, but do we really want to show the next cabin and the sliding glass door?

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This next photo shows us how cropping and changing to a vertical eliminates the distractions and now features the people and the food.

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Here’s a picture taken at a children’s park in Warsaw, Poland. My idea was to show what the park equipment looked like, but then I realized that I failed to feature the most important part – the children.

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Careful cropping saved the day after switching to a vertical and highlighting the children. It also eliminated the person on the left that was a distraction.

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I liked the looks of this restaurant in Cedar Key FL, but when it was time to order a print I realized I’d included too much pavement plus a parked car that also was distracting.

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Here’s how it looked after cropping out the distractions but keeping it as a vertical.

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It still didn’t look just right to me, so I wondered how it would be as a horizontal print. Which is your favorite?

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There you have it – examples of where cropping can help you create even better photos.

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more about Earl J

I'm a long-time film photographer, starting with a darkroom in my parents' fruit-cellar when a teen-ager. I fought the change to digital at first, but no longer. I've become a convert and Shutterfly has been my on-line provider since 2002. Since then I've placed (as I write this) 135 orders for prints, enlargements, calendars for every year and 42 photo books in different sizes. I'm very pleased with the top quality of all Shutterfly products.

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