In his latest blog post, Moose Peterson rails, gently albeit, against the art of post-capture cropping and I would have to agree that several of his points are quite valid. He talks about appropriate lens and distance from subject and getting it right in camera which the Holy Crop! blog applauds. I even admire the passion he feels for getting the best possible image at shutter snap. Ultimately, I find his admonitions fall short of reality as they proceed from an base assumption that is flawed.
Just the old cropist’s opinion here but Moose’s cropping philosophy is based upon an erroneous notion that a 3:2 Aspect ratio, or whatever ratio at which your camera captures, is the true and best aspect for the final image. In a world where 3:2 is your only output aspect ratio, Moose’s comments are very valid. Unfortunately, the space in which your image’s subject ultimately lives is hardly, if ever 3:2. My Monitor is 16:9 for example, a Facebook cover photo is 8.51:3.14, for example. I can’t fit those 3:2 aspect images into these spaces without slicing something off. Cropping is a real world necessity.
On another front, an image can be made stronger than the capture aspect ratio as in the moose shot (small “M”) shown above. The top and bottom portions removed aren’t really important to the image but, as you frequent readers know, the space and placement is. Why would you ever limit the aspect ratio of your output to the limitations of your capture device?
The output aspect ratio should make your image the strongest it can be.
Just a quick note: Moose is careful to say this is ‘his way’ and that every photographer must find their own path.
You can read Moose’s article here.
Rikk Flohr © 2012