See What You’re Missing – 2 Ways To Non-Destructive Crops

We’re responsible for everything that’s in the frame. We’re also responsible for everything that’s not in the frame. Deciding what’s in the frame and what’s out is a critical decision that can make or break an image. Framing and cropping are critical. If you miss a key element during framing you’re out of luck. However, if you overcrop you’re not, if you crop non-destructively and you remember to reconsider your crop from time to time. After you crop, you forget what you’re missing. It’s out of sight and out of mind. But it doesn’t have to be.

Lightroom and Photoshop’s crop tools allow you to see the image information you’re missing Here’s how …

In Lightroom, highlight an image and tap R. You’ll see the areas eliminated with a darker overlay. You never lose image information when you use Lightroom. It couldn’t be easier. What’s hard is remembering to do it.

Photoshop also makes almost as easy. First you have to open an image. Then press C (or click on the crop tool). Then click on the Crop tool control handles and you’ll see the missing information, again under a darker overlay. When you use Photoshop, be careful. Unlike in Lightroom, you can eliminate image areas permanently. Here are two ways. One, check the Crop tool’s option Delete Cropped Pixels. Two, flatten the file or merge other layers with the Background layer. You may think this has happened when you first look at a file that has been cropped in Photoshop as when you first click on the crop handles you won’t see the larger canvas but simply drag the right corner of the window out and you’ll see the bigger canvas.

Why would you need to reconsider your crop? To make future improvements as your vision evolves. In the analog darkroom photographers never (almost) cut their negative’s or transparencies. They masked them during printing. This means every time them made new prints they reconsidered their crops. Sometimes, after their seeing matured, they changed their minds – significantly. I’ve witnessed the greats reviewing their top images. One day, Arnold Newman adjusted his crop on his portrait of igor Stravinksy. Another day, my father reconsidered his crop for Running White Deer, making subtle but significant shifts in their final compositions.  Those two images are both dramatically influenced by the way they’re cropped. If the masters do it, you may want to consider doing it too.

Small changes can make big differences. But you won’t think to make them if you don’t see what you’re missing. So make it a habit to reconsider your crops from time to time. It only takes a few moments and if you do, perhaps even your best images will improve.

Read more in my Creative Composition resources.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

4 Ways To Divide Your Images’ Frames Expressively

Dividing The Frame

The four most important lines of any image are the ones that are often least recognized consciously – the frame.  Second only to these are the lines that divide the frame, creating frames within the frame. Becoming more aware of how the frame can be used and how it can be divided will help you make more successful compositions.

There are many ways the frame can be divided. You can divide the frame horizontally, vertically, or diagonally; in each case the layers included define the virtual space presented. Different areas in an image can be divided differently. You can divide the frame (or a frame within the frame) multiple times; the more times the frame is divided the more packed and dynamic it becomes, progressively growing more design-oriented and finally being reduced to pure texture. Each operation has significant consequences.

One of the most significant results of dividing the frame is the creation of specific proportions. (The combination of the individual aspect ratios of each element creates a new unified aspect ratio.) Much has been made of the ‘rule of thirds’. Dividing the frame into three parts (left/center/right or up/middle/down) is a simple and often useful strategy for making images more directed, by prioritizing one element over another, and dynamic, through imbalance. Too little has been made of other ratios. What of fourths, fifths, sixths, sevenths, or eighths? No musician would be content to only divide an octave into halves and thirds. Every proportion produces particular effects, which are further modified by placement (high/low or left/right) and content. Rather than a rule to be adhered to, proportion is a force to be explored expressively.

When it comes to controlling the division of the frame in your images, you have more options available to you than you might think. You can crop, distort, retouch, or composite.

Before and after cropping

Crop

Cropping, either through placing the frame during exposure or by eliminating framed information during post-processing, which changes the aspect ratio, has been the most traditional way of dividing the frame.

Before and after distortion


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Use these compositional strategies to strengthen your unique style.

1. 2 Ways To Crop Non-Destructively – See What You’re Missing

2. 3 Ways To Crop Your Images – Crop, Distort, Retouch

3. How To Control The Proportion Of Your Images’ Frames Expressively

4. 4 Ways To Divide Your Images’ Frames Expressively

5. Tips For Cropping – Coming

6. Repertoire – Coming

7. Uncovering The Soul Of Personal Composition – Coming

 

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David DuChemin's New Mentor Class The Compelling Frame

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David DuChemin recommends, “If you want sharper photographs, buy a new lens. If you want more compelling photographs, start here.” So do I. If you love David’s books (including Within The Frame and The Soul Of The Camera), like I do – his new online class The Compelling Frame is for you.

Haven’t been able to take one of his Mentor Series Workshops? The Compelling Frame is a great way to get started while you’re waiting.

“The Compelling Frame is a mentor class about making more compelling photographs by being more intentional about your compositions.” (David DuChemin) As with everything David does, it’s vision driven. There are no rules here. David deftly points out that the elements of composition and the forces they set in motion are nothing without purpose – and in your photographs that purpose is yours to choose. Put another way, without knowing what you want to do, you’re unlikely to know how to do it. David puts heart and soul into everything he does; that’s what makes him so great. And he encourages you to do the same because that’s what will make you great.

In the videos you spend less time watching David demonstrate and more time listening to him talk and ask you questions – about really important things. It’s like having a fireside chat with David; the fire is a monitor and the warmth you feel is David. The Compelling Frame is not just a series of videos to be watched passively, this is a class, and to get the most out of it you’ll want to do the exercises that accompany each lesson. It’s well thought out. This is the good work we all need to do. This includes looking carefully at other photographers images, looking carefully at your own, and making new ones. Do this work and you can’t help but make better photographs.

What do you get when you purchase The Compelling Frame? 19 Video Lessons, 31 Creative Exercises, 4 About The Image videos, 2 Craft & Creativity Videos, 2 eBooks, 3 Ask Me Anything Sessions, a one-year membership to Vision Driven a private Facebook community, and 10% off future MentorClasses.

The Compelling Frame is available for one week only – until Sep 20, 2017.

Preview The Compelling Frame here now.

Find out more about David DuChemin here.

5 Ways To Use Abstraction

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1 – Simplify

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2 – Clarify A Structure

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3 – Show A Process

 
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4  – Visualize A Concept

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5 – Create A Pattern

To one degree or another, every photograph is abstract. At a minimum, photographs are flat rather than three-dimensional. Some photographs are more graphic than others, and the origins of a few photographs are virtually unrecognizable. Determining to what degree a photograph is abstract, how it is abstract, and why it’s abstract will help you understand more about it and its creator’s intentions; this might be you.
Abstraction can serve many functions: it can direct, structure, inform, and express.
Whether you use it a little or a lot, abstraction is a vehicle that can help you strengthen your stories and clarify your point of view. As every image is abstract to one degree or another, ultimately, the question is not whether you will use abstraction but how you will use abstraction in your images. Exploring abstraction is time will spent.
Read the full article on Craft & Vision.
Learn more in my creativity and digital photography workshops.
 
 

PHOTOGRAPH 16 – The Final Issue – Free Today

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“Issue 16 of PHOTOGRAPH magazine highlights the diversity of vision and creative expression. Issue 16 is a stylish send off (It’s the final issue!), featuring the work of Cynthia Haynes, Karen Divine, David duChemin, Takashi Kitajima, and Alain Laboile, and articles from regular columnists Martin Bailey, John Paul Caponigro, David duChemin, Chris Orwig, and Adam Blasberg. We hope this magazine inspires you to see differently as you continue to hone your vision.”
I discuss Using Psychology To Strengthen Your Composition.
Get your copy here.

Check It Out – PHOTOGRAPH Issue 12

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Get 20% off PHOTOGRAPH 12 through Wednesday, April 21, 2015 here.
“Issue 12 of PHOTOGRAPH magazine celebrates diversity of expression, from imaginative portraiture, to the sensual canals of Venice, the solitude of dales in snow, and the joy of telling stories about oneself.

Portfolios and interviews include John Keatley (interviewed in Episode 5 of the C&V iTunes Podcast), who lets us in on the behind-the-scenes nerves and excitement of photographing celebrities, and what it takes to come up with ideas to keep portraits interesting and entertaining; David duChemin, who opens his heart—and his portfolio—about his ongoing photographic Venetian love affair; Doug Chinnery, who explains why sharpness is overrated and that there are no rules (or police) in photography; and the Instagram stylings of Pilar Franco Borrell, who—despite her claims of “being a bit of a mess”—creates light and fun photographic stories in which she is often the main character.

Regular contributors John Paul Caponigro, Michael Frye, Guy Tal, Chris Orwig, Martin Bailey, Piet Van den Eynde, Adam Blasberg and David duChemin express themselves with articles on discipline, position, knowing where to stand, letting go of perfectionism, choosing risk, metering modes, the evolution of a portrait, the power of persistence, and creating a presentation folio.”
In my column Creative Composition I discuss the importance of Position within the frame.
Find PHOTOGRAPH 12 here.

PHOTOGRAPH eMagazine – Issue 7

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PHOTOGRAPH 7 is out. This issue showcases portfolios from David Baker (Sea Fever), Michelle Morris Denniston, Mitchell Kanashkevich (Vanuatu), and Dave Morrow (nightscapes). The featured article is from Bret Edge, and the usual columnists are here, including Bruce Percy’s Natural Light column including a new column by Guy Tal.
In my column Creative Composition I discuss Pattern.
Here’s an excerpt.
“Many of the mysteries of the universe have been discovered by recognizing and describing patterns. The Golden Section/Ratio (8:5), the Fibonacci Series (1,2,3,5,8,13,21, etc), and the Mandelbrot Set (a shape characterized by repetitions of self-similar forms at all scales) are three examples of patterns that have been used for many different purposes – scientific, industrial, architectural, aesthetic, etc. Discover the type of repetition or change associated with a pattern and you too will unlock the key to understanding it – and possibly a universal principle.
People are pattern seeking / making animals. Even when patterns are absent, we experience them through our own projections. Making images is all about sensing and creating patterns. The same could be said of making any form of art – including life. Life itself follows patterns. You can make your images livelier by using the power of pattern; the clearer you make the pattern, the stronger the image. Increase your powers of pattern recognition and you’ll increase your visual versatility. Increase your sensitivity the unique qualities of each pattern as well as its differences from other patterns and you’ll increase the depth of your expression.
The modernist painter Josef Albers said, “A pattern is interesting. A pattern interrupted is more interesting.” Interrupting a pattern is a visual strategy that tends to produce strongly organized yet dramatic images. The pattern provides the organization. The interruption provides the drama. The pattern makes the images easily grasped, setting up expectations that are reversed by the interruption, like an unexpected plot twist in a story. An interesting distinction can be made between two different kinds of interruption; accents simply interrupt patterns; counterpoints not only interrupt patterns but they do so in ways that contrast with either the pattern or the main message of an image; both accents and counterpoints often become the new focus of the image.
Once you start seeing patterns you won’t be able to stop – and neither will anybody else. Understand the patterns you are naturally drawn to and you’ll better understand your visual voice and creative intentions – and if you make those patterns clear to others they will too. Because pattern is so powerful, it doesn’t take much; some artists have spent a lifetime exploring just one of these universal, organizing principles. Of course, you’re not limited to one pattern and there are so many to choose from. Simply use the power of pattern in your images and you’ll make your images more powerful.”
There’s more similar content in this and every issue of PHOTOGRAPH.
Download PHOTOGRAPH 7 here.

Check Out PHOTOGRAPH – Issue 4

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Issue 4 of PHOTOGRAPH (quarterly add free emagazine) is now available.
It’s packed with Portfolios / Q+As (this time from Nick Hall, Kathy Beal, and Sam Krisch – two of whom are members of my Next Step Alumni) and columns / articles (including contributions by David duChemin, Martin Bailey, Michael Frye, Chris Orwig and more). My Creative Composition column focuses on using Space in compelling ways.
Purchase PHOTOGRAPH issue 4 for $8.
Subscribe to PHOTOGRAPH for $24 (save $8).
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