A Little Crop Can Go A Long Way

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Gerry Leave a Comment

A great deal of wildlife images can be made better by cropping.

I’m not referring to shooting with a 36 megapixels D800 and then cropping to make the composition work but rather the selective cropping of an image to make it better.

Wildlife photography is a visual language and whatever you decide to include or exclude in the frame will tell the viewer of the image something.

I took this image two days ago in the Chobe.

Gerry van der Walt - Wildlife Photography

This image was shot at a 240mm focal length.   Since we were on a boat and moving around a bit I did not want to chop anything off I chose to stay a bit wider thereby leaving myself a little bit of room for error.

The story I wanted to tell was one that focused on the small family of elephants drinking together.  That is what I wanted to show in my image.

In this frame, as it is presented here, my visual language is a bit messy as I am asking my viewer to look at the little pieces of elephants that are creeping into the frame from the sides.

It is distracting and it draws the eye away from the story I want to tell.

By cropping the image in a little I can  get rid of the distracting elements – the bad visual language – and strengthen the overall image, composition and story.

Gerry van der Walt - Wildlife Photography

This image is a lot stronger and tells the story like I want to tell it.

After playing around I chose a 16:9 crop which not only allowed me to get rid of the unwanted elements in the frame but also helps with leading the viewer’s eye side to side in the frame – visual energy – but more on that later!

Yes, get as much right in camera as you can but always take a moment to see how a little crop can make a huge difference to your image.

Until next time.

Gerry van der Walt

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