In the previous article, we discussed applying a cinematically inspired aspect ratio to your crop. I promised to bring the same image back and show you a series of images cropped to meet a variety of paper sizes.
For review, the original camera framing is represented below. It is a 3:2 aspect ratio as this was a DSLR capture. It also happens to match one of our standard print sizes. If you remember from the Cinematic Crop article, we kept the lower left anchor point for the image in each case. This means there was no accounting for aesthetic tweaking. Each image as it is cropped is losing material only from the top and/or the right side.
Original Capture & 4×6 Print
4×5, 8×10 & 16×20 Print
5×7 (and Wallet Size) Print
These tend to be the common sizes printed at most labs and the sizes for which you can find ready-cut mattes and frames. That is why they were chosen.
The shape varies widely across the spectrum of print sizes. While the Cropist advocates always finding the strongest version of your image, your buying public is concerned about finding framing and matting. In a future article, we will talk about ways to tweak your image to make it fit into the nearest available print size. We will also discuss when to stick to your composition and only print for custom framing.
Rikk Flohr © 2011
Do you want that wide-screen grand scale for you images? Consider using a cinematic aspect ratio when you crop.
For consistency, in each of the following photos, I have cropped the image with the lower left anchor of the image appearing in the same place. Thus, the only difference in the crops is how much is taken off the top and/or the right. The sun and horizon end up in a reasonable position in each image so I think it is a fair comparison.
Here is the same image as it appears or would appear if it were:
In the Original Camera Capture: 3:2
On Standard Television: 4:3
On HD TV: 1.77:1 (16×9 HD)
At a Movie Theater: 1.85:1 (Standard since 1953)
On an Anamorphic Screen
(Cinemascope, ~Cinema Displays) 2.39:1
When you envision your world, do you see it on TV or as an Epic Movie vision?
This Wiki Aspect Ratio article lists a host of additional aspect ratios in use at various times and purposes in the cinematic world. Some of them might be fun to try the next time you are deciding on a crop for a particular look and feel.
In case you are wondering, the 1.85:1 is my favorite rendering under the strict constraints under which I cropped these images. It is epic without being too wide.
Perhaps next week, we will look at this same image in the common print sizes…
Rikk Flohr © 2011
Playing the thirds against the fifths
Greetings Holy Crop! fans,
I’ve just returned from teaching my Badlands Winter Workshop at Badlands National Park. The Queen of the Crop and I took 8 photographers around the park chasing sunrise, sunset and all the critters in between. Of course, in the non-shooting hours we taught image editing techniques with composition and cropping figuring heavily into our curriculum.
The shot above is from one of our afternoon drives. This old car sits on a hilltop near the park and makes for a tempting target for driver’s by. I thought this might make an interesting image to discuss briefly the Rule of Thirds and the Rule of Fifths.
To begin, I ask myself: “Of what is this a picture?” In other words, what is the star-the subject. It is a picture of…
The answer: “A Car”
The car is the star. It should occupy the most important part of the frame. I have overlaid a rule of thirds grid to show that we have placed the focal point of the car, in this case where the missing driver’s face would be, at the lower right rule of thirds. The car is facing into the frame and the space is left in front of the car to satisfy the rule of space. The car isn’t moving so the rule of motion isn’t as important. In this shot, the car is a face looking semi-hard left. It needs space into which to stare.
Secondary to the car is the sky-particularly the sun. The sun is fairly small in frame but the extremely bright area is fairly large. Even though we discussed sun placement in a previous article as being stretchable to the rule of sevenths, here a rule of fifths is an appropriate placement. Keeping the sun near the upper left rule of fifths gives us ample space to hold the sun in the picture.
The sky is awesome in this image. We need just enough land to ground the car and contain it in the frame. Keeping the horizon near the rule of fifths lets the sky dominate the remainder of the picture. A rule of thirds placement would have left too much foreground and lessened the sky’s impact. The rule of fifths grid overlaid here shows clearly the rule of space choices. There is twice as much space in front of the car as behind. There is four times as much sky as ground.
Playing the rule of thirds against the rule of fifths is a good way to start your composition both in-camera and in post production.
- Start by putting your subject on the most obvious rule of thirds.
- Put your secondary subject on the opposite rule of fifths in a way that balances the relative size and weight of the two opposing focal points.
- Lastly, chose a horizon placement that reflects the relative strengths of sky and land.
- Tweak to taste.
Rikk Flohr © 2011