I am back from my two-week stint as the Lightroom/Printing Guru at the Photoshop & You event in San Francisco. While there, they gave me a day off and I spent it as most photographers would: roaming the city and taking pictures. Street photography has never been large in my repertoire-in fact it is seldom attempted. So let me step outside my comfort zone and discuss the cropping of my shot: Street Performer.
Here is the in-camera framing from the original capture. I was shooting a 200MM focal length and this was as close as I could get without getting run over. In deed, I had to time my shots to keep out the cars passing in the foreground. I held spot-on to keep the focus tight on her face. I was happy with the capture. Sure some details could have been different but this is street photography. We take what we can get.
Let’s go to the Crop Shop!
When I looked at the image, I found these issues:
- Subject is dead-center. Not always a problem but it bothered me here.
- I have a half-balloon on the left.
- Dead-space rules the upper left.
- The combo of the curb and the window frame illustrate both the crooked nature of my grip and the lay of the land in San Francisco.
- I have a bright picture hanging in the display window that distracts me.
- The open mandolin case is a nice detail but cut in-half. If only she were facing the opposite direction, I could have framed differently.
I decided to drop in an image showing my crop in Lightroom™ to give you a feel for what it looks like when I crop.
As you can see I decided to sacrifice a lot of detail in the final image.
Rotating to compensate for the slanted camera took out some additional detail on the right. That clinched the complete removal of the mandolin case. At this point, the right hand crop was inward to crop the open case and remove enough space to facilitate lining up the person on the right rule of thirds.
Working clockwise, I brought the bottom up until the sidewalk crack hit the corner. The curb was eliminated and I was able to keep an ankle-height below the show.
On the left, my goal was to eliminate the half-balloon. Mission accomplished!
The top was a little tougher. I wanted to leave the three whole balloons but get rid of the picture frame completely.
In the final crop you can see that my story was ultimately about a girl (as they so often are). Her expression, somewhat lost in the original image, is now much more prominent and poignant. Most of the distractions are gone now and you can start to empathize a little more with her world. To me, at least, it is a much more emotional image.
Some of you might be wondering why I didn’t go all landscape on this and keep the open case in the shot. (Hint: the large bus off-camera right prevented that.) It is a good suggestion but, alas, in this scene not executable.
That does it for Crop Shop today. Remember we are still taking submissions for ShareCropping. Send in your image for the Cropist today.
Rikk Flohr © 2011