Learn With Me: Photography Week 6

Today, I am sharing with you the last post in my photography series. Now, that’s not to say that I feel I now know everything, or even close!, just that I feel I’m getting a grip on the basics, and I now have more than enough to be working on to keep me very busy for the foreseeable future! I’m so grateful to the wonderful guest posters that I’ve hosted here as part of this series, and I do urge you to take a look back at them, and pin or bookmark them for future reference, as I’ve done. All can be found under ‘photography’ in my categories list, and are..

Beginner’s Tips
Lesson in Perspective
Lesson in Light
Taking Nature Shots
Taking Landscape Shots
A Guide to Camera-Buying

And so to my last lesson, and I’m delighted to be guest hosting the rather fabulous Iona, from Redpeffer…

Hello lovely readers of The Reading Residence, I’ve been invited to write a guest post for this wonderful site and brilliant photography series that Jocelyn created giving you hints and tips on how to improve your photography.

I’m not sure I’m going to be telling you anything new, but I thought I might share with you my love of looking differently at images through cropping.

One of the things I enjoy most about taking photographs is looking at the picture in front of me in a slightly different way. It’s not earth shatteringly unusual, but rather like me and my blog, it’s images with a twist.

The wonders of digital technology mean that cropping and ‘fiddling’ with your images once taken is so incredibly easy. However, the first and most important rule to remember is always get the main image right, if it’s out of focus, blurred, at a wonky angle (when it shouldn’t be) or the focal point is cut off in it’s prime, then nothing can really be done! However, I’m going to show you what a difference a good crop can make to an image if the main photo is in focus etc.

What I’m going to show you works equally well for people as subjects as it does for animals and scenery or landscape.

Here’s one of my favourites taken originally.

image 1

And here it is after a bit of cropping.

image 2

What I liked about the crop is that the eye is drawn immediately to the butterfly rather than the surrounding greenery and the water droplets on the left somehow add to the whole piece rather than getting lost. I also think the edges of the leaf add some symmetry to the image.

And if you’re not confident about cropping images yourself just by using your eye, why not use an App or software to crop it for you? I use SnapCollage which has a free and paid for version (I use the free version) to play around with my images if I want to put them together to make a nice selection or if I don’t have time to play around with my more professional photo App.

Here are two images I took of lichen on a wall.

imAGE 3


image 7

And here they are together using a basic frame from SnapCollage


When I’m taking my pictures I usually have an idea in my head about how I want them to look so it makes it easier for me to do the cropping later on. This all comes with practise and discovering what works for you and what’s a disaster! I learn more from my mistakes to be honest, but digital cameras have given me the freedom to give things a try as you can simply delete a rubbish image, rather than the days of film where a whole roll could be ruined!

All of these techniques, where you crop to bring the eye towards where you wasn’t the focus to be also works on images with people.

Here’s my original:


And here’s the cropped version:


A word of advice-try to ensure you crop with a specified aspect ratio rather than ‘free flow’. In other words, use the traditional aspect ratios of conventional photo’s otherwise you might find difficulties when displaying them, and definitely if trying to print them off. Apps and software programmes will give you the option to crop using set aspect ratio’s though so don’t be put off by this.

Why not have a play around with your images and see what you come up with. The great thing is that if you play around with the cropping, it will improve your overall photography as you’ll be more aware of framing the scene.

Thanks, Iona! Yes, this is an area that I’m beginning to pay more attention to, as it really can make such a difference. Will have a play with some photos now…thanks!

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14 thoughts on “Learn With Me: Photography Week 6”

  1. Really useful post. I’m not sure how I’ve managed to miss this series on your blog! It looks great. I’m going to go back and read them all for some tips! I love taking and playing with photos

  2. I definitely do not do enough cropping or editing. Good reminder to use a bit of post-editing to improve composition. I will miss this post, I was looking forward to reading it every week, even though I did not link, sorry… so many things to do, so little time! I did take lots of notes for myself though. x Mel

  3. More great advice. I’ve enjoyed this series. I often crop mine as well. The BEST advice I was ever given was to take the biggest and finest quality photo you can on your digi cos’ then you’ve got a photo of the quality that’s fine to crop. Take it too small and you’re knackered. Remember you can always make it smaller if it’s “not all that” but it’s too late to salvage if you get a fantastic shot and want to blow it up or crop it and you’ve had the camera set to take only 800 X 600 size photos due to space constraints. Don’t do it !!

  4. Another tip is when the sun is behind you and getting low, watch out for your shadows in the photo. Its not always noticeable when taking the photo, but you will kick yourself when you notice that shadow.

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