In the last article, When Rules Collide, I discussed what happens when you have competing rules in play. Rereading the article yesterday, I realized that I completely glossed over a key element of cropping. Today, I am here to rectify that!
In the original article, I mentioned, albeit briefly, that I corrected perspective to maximize my space prior to considering crops. That topic is covered quite well in this (seemingly ancient) article here but it is a nice place to remind all the croppers out there to consider perspective first, cropping for image strength second. If you look at the right hand tree, you can see it leans outward at the top due to the use of a wide-angle lens combined with a low shooting angle.
I have scaled back the perspective correction and overlaid a grid so you can see the effects. In order to crop this image square and not leave any dead space, we sacrifice a few pixels off the lower left and lower right sides. This gives us a clean basis to crop for content.
The difference in the final image is subtle to be sure but it is a necessary step to satisfy the sensibilities of your viewers and give you room to crop without fear.
Remember Straighten, Correct, and then trim for content.
Rikk Flohr © 2012