We need to be corner-conscious when we crop. It is even better if we can be corner-conscious when we frame an image in-camera. Consider yesterday’s pre-processing capture of an American Goldfinch outside my office window.
Framing was limited by the layout of the building and the focal length of the lens I was using. I could not get closer without losing the ability to focus so I knew I would be cropping. The bird is a vertical subject so a portrait crop seems appropriate. The only decision left is how much space the bird needs and what to do with that pesky Sheppard’s Hook. The corners are the key. Too close and I risk running the intersecting line of the hook out of the frame awkwardly. (I would also cut off the finch’s tail). Too wide and I leave empty space in the corners. not the best choice as you can see below.
In order to make the corners work best I introduced a little rotation to make the corners match the hook’s curve and my content crop. This is seen in the final image below and in the first diagram of the crop at the beginning of the article…
The base of this image is strong and leaves little to draw the eye out of frame. It deals with the distraction of the man-wrought perch.
Mind those corners, especially at the base of your image, for ways to anchor and strengthen your images. The reward is a stronger image.
Rikk Flohr © 2013