Shift the angle of the eyes-shift the mood.
Crop Rotation: Consider the three images above. They are all the same image of a recent shoot with model April B. The only difference the images is the amount of rotation that was performed while cropping.
Crop 1 was composed in camera with the eyes level. The crop was designed to place the key-light lit eye at the upper-left Rule of Thirds. The model is looking forward so I don’t have to leave additional look-in-to space to satisfy the Rule of Space. Simple-straight forward. What happens to the image if we decide to shift the eyes along the horizontal? 15° or so ought to do it-or roughly about the height of the model’s eye. More than that and the image starts to look phony.
15° counter-clockwise rotation changes the mood quite a bit. how does it affect you? What are feeling about the relationship of the model to the camera, the girl to you?
Taking it the opposite direction by roughly the same amount is a completely different feel. Which is more playful? More Expectant? More Aloof? Sexier? Glamorous? Professional? Vulnerable? Which would she give to an intimate friend and which would she use on social media?
When we play god with rotation, we change the mood and timbre of an image, an expression, a person. All the baggage we carry in our own personality builds upon the act of rotating a crop 15° one way or the other. Only you can decide which rotation best suits your needs at the time. Play shifty eyes and see what works for the purpose at hand.
Rikk Flohr © 2012
In my last article, I discussed the new “Reposition Image” option for photos displayed on your Facebook Timeline. Whether you are a fan of Timeline or no, you can take advantage of this new feature: Highlight.
In this standard Timeline view you can see the picture of the singing meadowlark is cropped awkwardly. We could reposition it as I detailed in the previous article to make the images’ subject more powerful within the square aspect-ratio window, or we could invoke the new Highlight feature. The red arrow in the image above shows the Highlight option.
Clicking the Highlight star does two things. One, it gives you a much wider view of your image, and two, it makes it span both of the columns in your Timeline. You now have a panoramic window in which to view your image. The new image is slightly more than a 2:1 aspect ration making it a legitimate Panoramic Crop. When I measure it out, the window is roughly 840×400 pixels: 2.1:1 – very cinematic.
The Reposition option is still available to you to fine-tune your landscape image up or down to make the window show a more pleasing rendition of your image. All-in-all, it is a nice solution for displaying your images in a stronger fashion.
Of course, with all things Facebook, it doesn’t work everywhere. If you try to highlight a portrait orientation image, this is the result. Not very good, is it? There is too much white space around the image. A better solution would be to take portrait images and leave them single column but show the full height of the image. They would gain impact and not cause design or page flow to suffer.
With the advent of the Reposition and the Highlight features, Facebook is taking a positive step towards the proper and more aesthetically pleasing display of your photos. They should be lauded for this but encouraged to go the rest of the way.
Take a little time and add Highlighting and Repositioning to your Facebook arsenal.
Next time we will talk about the Missing Aspect Ratio on Facebook.
Rikk Flohr © 2012
The subject is the same but the story is different.
Firstly, apologies gentle readers. I have been traveling. I have been remiss. A wedding, the Presentation Summit and the desert Southwest of the United States has occupied all my attention for the month of September. The result? Many miles of driving, tons of image captures and time for thought. “About what?” You ask.
Cropping, of course.
Take a gander at these two captures of Elk on the south rim at Grand Canyon National Park. I thought it might be interesting to talk about the similarities in the subject first. Both photos show two bull elk sparring with horns interlocked. In fact, the same two elk appear in both pictures and the images were captured less than 9 minutes apart! In between the scenery changed from glade to forest and bright early-morning sun to subdued wooded shade.
The uncropped version of the portrait crop above shows you the actual scene. I cropped vertically for a couple of reasons. There were distractions to remove as well as animals cropped at the joint (the ‘waist’ of the right-hand elk). What dominated the crop was the subjects’ intensity in their eye-to-eye gaze and interlocked horns and my desire to bring that out.
Removing large sections of the right and left hand portions of the image really makes the eyes pop. The are looking right at each other with horns locked. These animals are engaged in combat. This image is the face of their struggle and the wiliness of their strategies to anthropomorphize a bit. All in all a much more compelling image cropped that highlights their complex and delicate behavior.
The panoramic landscape crop shows us a different struggle. The faces are downward and the motion is inward against the other elk.
Looking at the crop I chose, you can see that I eliminated everything that didn’t push the two elk toward each other. The motion, the strength, if you will, is lateral. To emphasize this the crop needs to match the direction of motion and strength. Next you make certain that you fill the frame making the animals seem as powerful as possible. I offset the elk just a bit so I could make the elk on the right ahead in the contest. Crop a little more off the right and the left elk is winning.
Two different stories.
Think about the relationship that is already there and enhance it with your choice of a portrait or landscape crop. They really help you tell different stories.
I wonder what the portrait image would look like as a vertical pano…
Rikk Flohr © 2011