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DPS Member Survey: Composition vs "Croposition"

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  • DPS Member Survey: Composition vs "Croposition"

    UPDATE: Croposition has been added as a word on Wikipedia here. I created the article just this evening! Tell me what you think of my explanation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croposition


    ...as you know, I like to make it up as I go along. If you recall, I coined the term, "hydro-bokeh." Well, I'm at it again.

    Back in the day, composition was much more critical on 35mm film, unless you had a sharp pair of scissors, and didn't mind putting your picture in an oddly shaped frame.

    So now, I'm less worried about composition...I concentrate more on getting all the elements into the shot that I want. Then crop for effect during PP....thus the term, "croposition." I did a cursory search of the internet for that word...you heard it here first!!

    I'm trying to poll DPS members to find out if they think croposition is cheating, or if it's just a benefit of the advent of technology.

    Here's an example of croposition:

    Out of the camera:
    before crop

    Cropped for effect:
    _purple rain

    With the hi-res sensors these days, you can crop 50-75% of the picture away and still be left with a very nice, sharp picture.

    What are your thoughts?

    Thanks.

    Jim
    Last edited by equilution; 11-10-2009, 06:59 AM.
    Jim, Mayor of Cropodopolis
    My Gallery: http://jmartinharris.com
    The Mayor's Toys and Equipment Reviews
    J. Martin Harris Photography on Facebook!!

  • #2
    I think, as with everything else with digital, it is best to do as much as you can in camera. If I'm taking pictures of a stationary subject, I'll get multiple angles and multiple possible crops. I also think it's important to pay attention to composition while you're shooting.

    That said, there are also times where shooting with the deliberate knowledge that you're going to crop later is valuable. For example, if I'm shooting sports where I'm following the player with a central AF point, then I'll try to shoot a little wide so I have room to crop for composition later. There isn't time (for me, at least) to frame for composition with sports. I'm focused on the moment.

    I'm afraid your term "croposition" is going to make people think that it indicates a deliberate laziness in not trying to compose in camera. But as you will.
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    • #3
      I do it all the time. I don't think it's cheating. To me it just gives you more options.
      [http://www.flickr.com/photos/paullacroix/ Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans

      http://www.lacroixphoto.net/

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      • #4
        Duly noted....

        Originally posted by cphoniball View Post
        I think, as with everything else with digital, it is best to do as much as you can in camera. If I'm taking pictures of a stationary subject, I'll get multiple angles and multiple possible crops. I also think it's important to pay attention to composition while you're shooting.

        That said, there are also times where shooting with the deliberate knowledge that you're going to crop later is valuable. For example, if I'm shooting sports where I'm following the player with a central AF point, then I'll try to shoot a little wide so I have room to crop for composition later. There isn't time (for me, at least) to frame for composition with sports. I'm focused on the moment.

        I'm afraid your term "croposition" is going to make people think that it indicates a deliberate laziness in not trying to compose in camera. But as you will.
        Duly noted. I would certainly not advocate a wholehearted departure from the purist's form of composition...in fact, far from it. Most of what I shoot is purposely composed. However, to bring out the detail I'm trying to draw attention to, I'll crop, as in the example picture to draw attention to the larger drops on the left. In some cases, the lens you have in hand will not allow you to get the proper composition for what you're intending.

        Thanks for the comments!

        Jim
        Jim, Mayor of Cropodopolis
        My Gallery: http://jmartinharris.com
        The Mayor's Toys and Equipment Reviews
        J. Martin Harris Photography on Facebook!!

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        • #5
          absolutely not cheating........The whole intent of photography is the photographer trying to capture a certain scene or essence or whatever and convey that to others or just his or her own pleasure. That is why we have so many styles of photography.....some do people, some nature, some astronomy, some the abstract, some architectural etc......but what really gets me regarding the "purists" is that they use filters like the rest of us.....that is intentionally changing the scene.....polarizing takes glare off of what is there.....glare is undesirable so we remove it......that's cheating if we want to go there. Cropping is essentially another form of change....dodging and burning is cheating......we create what we want.....be it dodging and burning, enhancing contrast, saturation color, airbrushing blemishes off portraits.....We would have to throw out filters of every type, throw out photoshop....everything if we were to be consistent with the purist philosophy......which by the way I don't believe has ever been purely pure!
          Patrick
          Nikon D40x; Canon sd770is P&S
          Nikon 18mm-55mm and 55-200mm kit lenses, Nikon 50mm f1.8, OLD Nikon 105mm micro f 2.8
          "All of that beauty is out there somewhere...you just have to get out there and capture it!" PLF

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          • #6
            Originally posted by equilution View Post
            Duly noted. I would certainly not advocate a wholehearted departure from the purist's form of composition...in fact, far from it. Most of what I shoot is purposely composed. However, to bring out the detail I'm trying to draw attention to, I'll crop, as in the example picture to draw attention to the larger drops on the left. In some cases, the lens you have in hand will not allow you to get the proper composition for what you're intending.

            Thanks for the comments!

            Jim
            Agreed! Not sure if it came across in the first comment, but I'm not against cropping at all. Sometimes you see things afterward that you didn't see when you shot (happens all the time). And if it's a choice between being "pure" and not cropping or having a well-composed picture, then crop away.
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            • #7
              Back in the day, I cropped or adjusted my speed weasel under the enlarger all the time. Same-o only my fingers don't smell like fixer. (i miss that sniff, sniff, tear)
              "They call me Bruce."
              www.brucebphotography.com

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              • #8
                I just started shooting a full frame camera and while I love perfect comp, I believe some of my best shots result from careful cropping and digital editing. When I started with B&W and developed my own film and pics, I cropped many of them. Now it is much easier but both processes yield better results.

                I think the true art comes when you are able to take a simple picture from the camera and make a masterpiece during post process....so NOT CHEATING.

                Great question though!
                Eric A. Nelson
                Nikon D90 /Nikon D700
                www.ericnelsonphotography.com
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                • #9
                  Nice post, Jim. I like the idea of croposition. I mean, why not. It does not mean that you should crop down to only a smallish portion (large crop) of a photo, although I admit to doing this once or twice to get an interesting smaller area of a photo because I realized after the "shooting session" that the whole original composition was not working as well as I had planned, but to refine the composition to exactly what you wanted.
                  For instance, if I think about my 40D, and the increase in the area of the actual image once I get it into my computer (the viewfinder shows only 96% of the actual image...approximately), I usually trim the excess I did not see in the viewfinder as I did not intend it to be in the photo in the first place. . I try to calculate this extra bit when I am framing at the time of the shoot, but usually I do not get it exactly the way i intended, hence the crop to tweak composition becomes the norm in most cases.
                  I have no problem with doing it. Today's high resolution DSLR's allow that latitude, as far as I am concerned, so why not take advantage of this opportunity. Like I said earlier, as long as you're not cropping most of the photo, what is the problem. This is using a kind of technology at the fullest. I mean, why else would they provide a cropping/ straightening option in programs such as Photoshop, Aperture, and Lightroom etc? No brainer for me on this one, although i am sure you will get the camp of "purists", which I thought I was, initially, that would most likely disagree with this thinking. One man's two cents worth. Cheers, mate.
                  Paul
                  "Photography is like any other art...It reflects an individuals vision of life." My flickr

                  Gear: Canon 40D/ Sigma 18-50 f2.8 macro lens/ Canon 70-200 f4. IS L series lens

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                  • #10
                    Well I think your new Digital Photography Phrase should be in the Next Photography book out, Croposition. Yes Sir! It's one of the things I love about digitl photography. Years after you take a photo, one day you look at it in a new light and bang, you see something all together different and when you crop it, it comes alive.
                    I call it Selective Cropping (not my Phrase) but it's a valuable tool and is not cheating at all.

                    I still believe that composition is extremely important and no amount of cropping can really save a Poorly composed shot. Well I guess that's up for debate.

                    Here's one where Cropositon or Selective Cropping was done well after the picture was taken.
                    [IMG]lotus[/IMG]
                    Larger: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2476/...16a8d9f1_b.jpg

                    Thanks for Starting this Thread Jim
                    Michael.
                    “Moses today”
                    “I will now take my Canon and turn aside and capture this great sight, why the bush does not burn. Exodus 3-3 (paraphrased)
                    Please visit: My Flkr

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                    • #11
                      I definitely have to do croposition, but without composition beforehand it won't help me any.

                      In the last year and a half I've taken approximately 15,000 photos, with 13,000-ish usually at ISO 800 or higher and aperture as wide open as possible. (Better with the dSLR than the old point and shoot, which was about 10,000 of those!) With the point and shoot flexibility I would compose fully on camera most of the time. But with the dSLR, I'm generally using a fixed focal lenth f/1.8 lens, in a crowd - so I can't move my feet to compose. It's very important I line up musicians and instruments as I want, etc., and I get the points of interest away from edges to ensure they are clear and the right color, etc., I want before I do croposition. I feel like - I have 15MP for a reason. It enables me to do much, much more than I could with my point and shoot without question. But it's just a tool and that composition which lets me crop is very important to it!
                      My flickr

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by zona5101 View Post
                        Back in the day, I cropped or adjusted my speed weasel under the enlarger all the time. Same-o only my fingers don't smell like fixer. (i miss that sniff, sniff, tear)
                        +1

                        The only thing I hated the most was with the early chemicals for color prints. Same experience with the first color printer.

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                        • #13
                          I agree, that second shot is excellent, super sharp!
                          Chiwalatta
                          Feel free to edit and re-post my images to DPS only

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                          • #14
                            Hi Jim, cropping cannot be considered cheating, if the masters of the past had the ability, they would have been cropping too. What we should admire is the time taken to frame and compose the old photos that are now masterpieces, taken with equipment whose features are nothing compared to what is available today. But we live in faster times, the best equipment is readily available to most people's budgets, there is no need to compose perfectly in each shot. We all need to just know the basics and how to use them in most instances, and well the computer does the rest according to our imagination.
                            Who knows how pictures will be taken in fifty years time.

                            Michael
                            Michael
                            A picture is worth a thousand words
                            Canon 7D: Various Canon and Sigma lenses
                            www.flickr.com/photos/26713745@N08

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                            • #15
                              Art is art, whether you use technology or keep it "pure". The end result is a beautiful piece of artwork. Why not use the technology available to get the end results you are trying to achieve?
                              Mocha
                              Still and always learning.
                              Canon T2i, 18-55, 55-250, 70-300, Circular Polarizer, Extension Tubes, Speedlite 430 EXII

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