Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More Cropping

There may be times when you will want a little something different from your cropping. Wide crops are useful for making visual statements (especially when the horse is creatively lit), and they can be very good for ad layouts. Good wide crops generally have the horse somewhere between a 3/4, front or rear view, and are most striking with horses that are looking to the side. Crop to leave ample space for the horse to "look into", and then adjust your other sides to create a pleasing balance. The horse should usually be on the bottom left or right side as shown above.

Moving on to heads! In addition to full body shots, head shots are extremely important, and again, there is a trick. In this shot, the horse seems to have stubby, thick neck; it is not as attractive as in the properly cropped photo below. This is a common error, even among live horse photographers.

When working with horses good photographers always include some of the horse's shoulder in the photo. This visually makes sense to our eyes and completes the picture, whereas cutting the horse off somewhere on the neck is usually somewhat distracting, and can drastically alter the shape of the neck.

Once in a while you'll have a good candidate for a slightly more interesting head shot. In this photo, the tail provides an interesting secondary element and helps to tell the story of this horse a bit better than his head alone. Note that plenty of his chest has been kept, adhering to the shoulder rule for headshots. More of the chest was kept in this crop than I might usually use on a head shot because it balanced better with the tail.

And last but certainly not least - cropping for details. There really aren't any hard and fast rules for detail cropping, as the object is usually to simply show off some part of the horse that is too small to see well in full body or head shots. Crops can be made very tight, like the eye above, or loose, like the shot displaying the eye, facial shading, and veining below:

Very tight crops that are well composed can be very striking in ads or displays. Play around with your photos and see what you can come up with!


Carol H. said...

Nice cropping tips, thanks for sharing! Although, I do have to say that I really like a tightly cropped head shot myself.

Maybe you can give us some tips on how you have your lights set up!

Mel Miller said...

Hey Carol! Ask and ye shall receive! :-D