Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Lesson in Cropping

One of the common subjects I have a difficult time articulating to my clients is how cropping affects their pictures. It is much easier to illustrate with a few pictures. The majority of pictures I will give clients in their online gallery are displayed in a 2:3 (vertical) or 3:2 (horizontal) ratio. Occasionally a picture will just lend itself to a different shape, so I crop it in a square picture (for example). So, assuming the picture I have shown you in your online gallery is in this 2:3 ratio (which 99% of them will be), you need to keep this in mind when ordering. If you like the picture EXACTLY as it is and want zero cropping to occur, you will want to order a size that is in that 2:3 ratio. Such as 6x9, 8x12, 12x18 etc.
See picture of my Kaylee below.  It does not have a lot of negative space at the top and bottom, meaning the top of her head is pretty close to the top of the picture, and there is not much of the tree stump she is sitting on taking up space at the bottom of the picture.  It would look good in any of these sizes (4x6, 6x9, 8x12 etc.) and the exact proportions of the picture would remain intact.

Now, let's examine how the picture will look if cropped into another common size, 5x7 (picture above left). It still looks OK, but I much prefer the 2:3 ratio, as it leaves a little more negative space at the top and bottom. If you wanted this picture to display on a table and wanted something close to a 5x7, the 6x9 would probably be a better option.

Now if the picture is cropped into another common size, 8x10 (picture on top right), it just doesn't work. Part of her head is cut off as well as her hands and the tree stump she is sitting on.  You lose the impression of where she is sitting, and I don't know about you, but I like the tree stump she is sitting on, I think it adds a lot to the picture. A much better option would be 8x12.

(However, sometimes artistic cropping is desirable and all rules are thrown out the window. But not in this picture.)

Which brings us to another quandry.

Where in the heck do you find 8x12 or 6x9 frames or mats?  Do you have to then pay extra for custom framing? NO! In the Houston area, one of my favorite frame stores is Aaron Brothers. They carry all the funky sizes in a lot of different colors and styles. There are also a myriad of online retailers (like this one here ) that sell frames in "off" sizes.  Of course, you could always buy the print on canvas, which comes ready to hang and won't need to be framed.

Stay tuned for more display tips!


The Heflins said...

I ordered some posters from Land of Nod and they are a really funky size; 14x24. It has been a nightmare trying to find a frame but now I will try Aaron Bros. Thnx!

The Heflins said...

Awesome pic BTW.

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