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Improve Your Photography By Learning to Edit

A Guest Post By: John Davenport

You might have read the title to this post and thought that I was going to talk about how editing your photographs can make you appear to be a better photographer, but no, I really do mean better – behind the camera.

Thin Ice

I came across this idea of improving my skill behind the camera, by focusing on my skill behind the computer, when I was going about launching my new YouTube series, “Let’s Edit”, which focuses on how to edit photos in Lightroom.

What Exactly Can Editing Teach Us?

As we start out on our photography journey we are learning everything there is to know about creating a photograph. From how our camera works to how different light effects our shots and this can be a bit overwhelming – especially when we’re out in the field taking photos.

Optional Caption: Learning to Crop Differently Can Teach Composition

Learning to Crop Differently Can Teach Composition

When I first started photographing landscapes I would get lost in the act of trying to fiddle with dials and buttons and forget about composition, or when I’d focus on composition I’d forget about my shutter speed or ISO settings. There is so much that goes into creating a photograph that sometimes it helps to just sit down and learn a different way. So I thought I’d try to learn to take better photographs by focusing on learning how to edit the ones I did take.

One area that editing our photos can teach us is the idea of composition. I know there will be people screaming at the screen as they read this, maybe even ripping their hair out, when I say that cropping photos is an excellent way to experiment with composition, but it really truly is.

You can take the same photograph and crop it countless different ways and by doing this you are training your eye to see scenes differently. Apply this knowledge of composition the next time you’re in the field and you’ll actually see those different compositions as you’re looking through the viewfinder making it possible for you to take more photographs while you’re out in the field.

One other area that comes to mind is learning to see things in the field that will look good once edited. Take this black and white photograph of the Boston skyline that I took while I was out photographing the city with my sister.

By Seeing the Edit in the Field You Can Set Shots Up Accordingly

By Seeing the Edit in the Field You Can Set Shots Up Accordingly

By having the black and white image in my head as a concept I was able to know that by under exposing the frame then and there it’d make my life so much easier when I go about creating the final image back in Lightroom.

Now, this is just two concepts where editing can be applied to what we do in the field, I’m curious, have you ever thought about this idea of applying what you do behind the computer in the field? Do you think you can come up with other areas of editing that will make sense when you’re behind your camera? Let us know in the comments below!

John Davenport is an avid amateur photographer looking to make a name for himself. He has recently started a new YouTube series called “Let’s Edit” as well as launched a community site to go along with it. You can also find John on Facebook and Twitter.

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  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/cristiano007 cristiano007

    I’m not native in English but I hink that you are really talking about “processing” and not about “editing”. As long as I know, “editing” is about choosing, secuencing and presenting a number of pictures as a whole. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, please.

  • http://www.phogropathy.com John

    Hi Cristiano007 – To be honest I don’t know the answer to your question. I’ve heard ‘editing’ used in the way that I’ve used it within this article so many times that it never even crossed my mind to be an incorrect usage – though you do make a good point.

    That being said – Regardless of whether it’s technically correct or not I think it is generally an accepted way of expressing what I’m talking about especially if I am going for a more casual and less technical writing style.

    Of course, if others want to chime in I’m all ears.

  • Neil

    Either word is good Christiano, in the context of this thread. Having read Johns advice I realise I am a default cropper. I’m new to composition and never consciously considered it when holding a camera, but I learnt never to ‘ throw away’ a boring photo when importing from camera. If there was colour, clarity, mood even, I could crop away and revert, playing with areas of poorly composed photos and salvage some remarkable results. Being new to my Canon D5mk2 and ‘proper photography’ I’m allowed, by an open mind, to say ‘whatever’ and play. My cropped photos will have more mega pixels in them now than ever before, so clarity will no longer be such a concern post-crop. I’m very new so forgive my bravado.

  • http://www.phogropathy.com John

    Neil – I definitely am a fan of cropping in post to ‘fix’ a boring or poorly composed photograph – however I do think it’s important to make mental notes when you’re doing this behind the computer screen and then look for the crops when you’re in the field to better compose your shots in camera. This does two things.

    1.) You’ll have a better photograph at the full resolution of your camera
    2.) Allows you to crop your ‘better’ photograph to even more possible compositions and thus increase your knowledge of composition even further.

    It’s really win win and yes with the megapixel count of cameras these days unless you’re going to be printing on for billboards you really don’t need to worry too much about cropping away some data to achieve a better photograph. Thanks for the comment!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/cristiano007 cristiano007

    OK it’s good to know that. Now talking about the article, I’m not exactly agree with the “Never Ever Crop” crowd. I think is important to TRY to make good framing right out of the camera, it’s a good discipline. Why? Because you can substract from your frames by cropping but you can’t add anything, so is a limited tool. But a little cropping (around 10 percent) is not a big deal for me if helps to really improve a final image. My experience is that a big cropping or radical processing are not substitute for thoughtful shooting, but John nailed it, “make mental notes” and learn.

  • http://www.phogropathy.com John Davenport

    Well said cristinao – best case is that you get it perfect in frame and don’t lose anything except maybe a small crop to fit a desired aspect ratio.

    Though when you’re just starting out the odds of this are very slim and therefore I say learn where you can and if that’s behind the computer looking at different crops or the effects of different processing and white balance then by all means take it. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/kimberly.toupin.1 Kimberly

    I must admit, I’m also an habitual cropper just like Neil from above – but it’s a habit I am trying to break! I really struggled in my first couple years with the framing and drawing attention to the action of the shot – and I cheated a lot by cropping my way to some decent looking shots lol

    But I’d certainly always keep all originals, and I actually found some decent stuff from my early days that I was too quick to dismiss now that I know more of what I am looking for. Sometimes those quirky, off balance shots come back into fashion – so always keep ‘em :)

  • LouB

    The article is spot on for anyone who’s tried to teach themselves about photography! My first experiences with film and digital cameras were horrible! My mind simply couldn’t process and understand composition and the holy trinity of ISO, shutter speed, and aperture – not to mention the pluses and minuses of each. I was teaching myself and had no mentor. While I was in college, I took a simple graphic design 101 course which exposed me to Photoshop. After learning a few basic principles and techniques, I was able to better understand the functions of the camera, which in turn, helped me to become a better photographer. I totally think you’re right John. Editing will not teach you everything, but it will teach you, if you’re able to learn that way. Pro photographers are pro for a reason. Understanding digital editing can give you the advantage over the average photographer and help get one of the plentiful marketing/events/communications jobs out there. I know cause that’s what I do!

  • http://champastreetproductions.com Joseph

    This is such a good article. Learning how to save yourself time in post-processing (editing, processing, whatever) is a fantastic way to look at editing, (processing, post-processing). I edit (process) as much as I can in-camera because it’s just a life-saver. As someone who does this for his job 100%, I can’t afford not to.

  • Scottc

    A great article! I did learn more about composition by cropping photos early on, and that includes shooting for a crop in some situations. I haven’t tried the under exposure technique for B&W, but sounds like a great idea.

    I think that mistakes in the field also teach a lot about white balance and the settings on camera, another aspect I used to adjust quite often.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/8376193855/

  • http://www.zachholden.com Zach

    Great article! No matter how much experience a photographer might have, I believe it’s always important to try and continue the learning process. Back in the film days, I had an instructor that during critiques, would pull out a nifty home made cropping tool he made out of two pieces of right angled matte board. He could adjust it to any aspect ratio he desired, and would constantly look at our prints, and use the crop tool to “discover” photos within our photos. Now in the world of digital, the possibilities for new discovery seem almost endless.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/zafarsami/ Zafar

    I crop all th ewhile, and don’t even care about aspect ratio. I crop to the point where I think it is good, to get rid of distractions that I did not notice, or those that weer impossible to frame out due to shooting constraints.

  • Zoe

    John, I appreciate this. I love the skyline photo. Are you willing to share your editing process to achieve this black and white image?

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/djkj Kartik

    Nice article, well written and concise. The current age photography is a combination of 3 things – a good eye, a decent camera and the skill of using Lightroom/Photoshop. All three are needed and a true artist is one who possesses all these skills.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/djkj/5189147047/in/set-72157607131026740/lightbox/

    Cheers!
    DJ KJ

  • http://www.phogropathy.com John

    @Kimberly – It’s not cheating if you’re learning :). Keeping originals is a great way to be able to go back and apply the things you’ve learned since taking the shoot and sometimes you’ll find a gem that you didn’t even realize before.

    @loub – You’re absolutely right learning to edit not only can help make your own photographs better, but by getting practical knowledge of these powerful tools you can leverage yourself in a field that interests you – and get paid to do what you love!

    @Zoe – I actually have a YouTube video that shares a bit about what I did to create that photo – Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbJdvdebfvk

  • Kim

    Great article! Couldn’t agree more that post-processing teaches you how to improve your photography from every aspect. I am a LR4 user and appreciate that I can edit nondestructively…..especially when it comes to cropping. I crop both in-camera and in post. I feel that visualizing your composition helps tremendously. One specific area that post processing has helped me: it has taught me to have a looser crop in camera so that my intended composition can be rendered correctly in print sizes that don’t match my sensor’s aspect ratio. This has become especially important to me in portraiture photography. I learned this the hard way – having a great composition in camera only to discover that it turns into a poor composition once printed in different sizes/aspect ratios. If you intend to print your images, it’s important to allow enough room for the cropping that occurs with different print sizes.

  • Sal

    Absolute. Cropping it is the mos important part to get a better photo, I usually after level go to smart filter and for some reason give me some part of the photo that I considered beautiful and after that i will cropp it.

  • GariRae

    Great article concerning the significance of cropping. It took me two years to realize that I prefer medium shots – nature studies – rather that wide landscapes. I found I couldnt crop down enough in most cases and I needed to better assess my image intent before I shot. Recognizing my true interest in a scene and selecting my true subject directs my composition so much less cropping is necessary. This article was very supportive of my ecperience.

  • Anne

    I learned to crop photos in Jr. High and High School yearbook and newspaper classes. It’s a skill that helps today in my photography. Everyone says I take good fotos (my equipment is basic- a Ti3 with a kit lens (my long lens got snapped at football game while shooting) Basics. I don’t know much about photo shop ( I still use Picasa) but this article is spot on! Also what DJKJ says about the holy trinity. I’d rather shoot than think and it’s a big learning curve sometimes to remember to use the technical settings rather than just shooting.

  • michael

    Good article I must say. I like to take full advantage of digital photography (as compared with film) and take several shots of the same scene or subject, varying the angle each time. I find it’s usually the last one that’s used, however I do try and keep them all and decide during the review stage back on the laptop. I might vary exposure or DoF withing the few extras. I’m not that experienced so I don’t have the confidence to take just 1 or 2 shots and “trust” my judgement. I’d rather take 5 or 6 and be safe than sorry later (plus I use 2x 64Gb cards!).

  • http://sumitdey.foliohd.com Sumit

    Nice post! I know exactly what you are talking about. It took me a while but with time (not sure when) even before I would press the shutter, I could visualise the entire flow from the scene to the final image. Now all I know is basic processing, so all my brain does is the crop and colour selection, but it has led to stronger compositions which sit well with my preferred processing steps. E.g. I like the 9:16 landscape a lot, ergo most of the shots over time (where possible) have ended up being composed in such a manner that I can effect the desired crop without taking anything away from the picture.

  • http://www.phogropathy.com John Davenport

    Yeah – once you learn what kinds of crops you prefer visually and fit your style of and photographic voice you’ll then be able to see these frames within the viewfinder and take the shot to best fit your vision. It all starts with practice and learning to see the many possible pictures contained within one single photograph. Thanks for the comment Sumit.

  • http://theminimalistphotographer.com/ Steve Johnson

    I tend to regard both parts of the process, i.e. taking the picture and editing, as equal. You are exactly right insomuch as understanding the editing process will make a photographer take better pictures.

    Cropping is a great example and understanding contrast is another. It was only through spending many happy hours editing that I learned to ‘see’ contrast’ i.e. tone as opposed to hue.

    Excellent post all round.

  • Sue

    I am a complete novice and have a Sony Bridge camera. I thought your article was great and actually when I take a photo I always think about cropping it when I get home and have had some great results with this. I am still getting my head around ISO etc but on the whole I am happy with what I do. And thanks this website is really helpful and interesting and also easy to understand.

  • http://www.itechcode.com Amit Shaw

    Please suggest what software will be best for editing any image?
    Has Light Room been Enough or we will need more images?
    Thanks.

  • http://www.phogropathy.com John

    @Steve Johnson – you make a very good point understanding contrast is very important when you’re taking a photo and you can really get a grasp on it behind the computer processing your photos.

    @Amit Shaw – LIghtroom is enough to get some really good images – 80% of my photography is edited solely in Lightroom now.

  • https://www.facebook.com/photographybymichaely Michael Y

    Indeed. I highly agree with @ John. I have L.R. 4 and P.S. 6. I use Lightroom almost at all times for touch ups. It’s a bit challenging at first. But for real in depth adjustment P.S. is the way to go.

    F.B. “Photography by Michael Y”

  • Tony

    I’ve found that if I crop too much in-camera, this will limit the different possible crop ratios later. Sometimes it’s wise to leave a little space in the frame that will give you some flexibility in case you want to change the crop ratio later. I’ve had pictures that I want to use for certain projects, and I had to discard those photos because I couldn’t crop them in the aspect ratio that I needed for the project without losing important compositional elements. Had I left a little room at the edges of the frame, those pictures could have been used. And besides, if your original file has 20 MP, for most cases, a little cropping is no big deal.

  • Valkyri

    As a beginner (I have been a beginner for a long time) I couldn’t agree more. I have learned composition by cropping, I’m getting better at not having to crop because I have a clearer understanding of what I want when I’m shooting.

    Hopefully I’ll get the hang of exposure as well. :-)

  • http://www.phogropathy.com John

    @valkyri – Exposure is one of those funny things that really just comes with time. The more time you spend photographing different scenes the more comfortable you’ll get with that all important exposure triangle. If you shoot in RAW you can get an idea as to how under or over exposed your photos are by playing with the exposure slider then try and fix it the next time you head out in the field. :)

  • http://www.colorvaleactions.com Stacie Jensen

    I loved this article and have to admit I loved reading the comments too! I am not a big fan of post processing crop, I try to get it in camera as much as possible but definitely there is a need to do this in Photoshop if not correct. It really does make more sense to make a photo visually pleasing rather than worry about pixels … again without taking too much away from a photo and ruining print quality. I totally high five you on the RAW, wow a blessing for photographers :) Thanks again for this wonderful article and all the great feedback!

  • http://www.donnasdesignsandcrafts.com Donna Carney

    I’ve learned the hard way over time to take the time and get several different shots, capturing the subject in different positions in the frame, etc. I was making the mistake of cropping in too close on a subject and then not having any room to ‘play’ so to speak. Now I zoom in and zoom out and just take several shots to cover all of my post processing bases. Thanks for the article I’m always grateful for insight and knowledge!

  • Luiz Forster

    St. Paul’s and The City, London. Long exposure, small aperture, dark ND filter. Edited in post.

  • Naveed Aslam

    Interesting article and points raised. However, it is difficult to apply while shooting with camera and viewing the picture on camera LCD which is always different from the computer screen.

  • Patrick Johnson

    As a new Photoshop user, you are probably itching to get your photos edited and It is one of the first things most people want to do The above details are very valuable to learn editing to improve photography

    LearnPhotoEditing

Some older comments

  • Stacie Jensen

    March 13, 2013 11:41 pm

    I loved this article and have to admit I loved reading the comments too! I am not a big fan of post processing crop, I try to get it in camera as much as possible but definitely there is a need to do this in Photoshop if not correct. It really does make more sense to make a photo visually pleasing rather than worry about pixels ... again without taking too much away from a photo and ruining print quality. I totally high five you on the RAW, wow a blessing for photographers :) Thanks again for this wonderful article and all the great feedback!

  • John

    March 6, 2013 08:59 am

    @valkyri - Exposure is one of those funny things that really just comes with time. The more time you spend photographing different scenes the more comfortable you'll get with that all important exposure triangle. If you shoot in RAW you can get an idea as to how under or over exposed your photos are by playing with the exposure slider then try and fix it the next time you head out in the field. :)

  • Valkyri

    March 6, 2013 08:24 am

    As a beginner (I have been a beginner for a long time) I couldn't agree more. I have learned composition by cropping, I'm getting better at not having to crop because I have a clearer understanding of what I want when I'm shooting.

    Hopefully I'll get the hang of exposure as well. :-)

  • Tony

    March 4, 2013 11:02 pm

    I've found that if I crop too much in-camera, this will limit the different possible crop ratios later. Sometimes it's wise to leave a little space in the frame that will give you some flexibility in case you want to change the crop ratio later. I've had pictures that I want to use for certain projects, and I had to discard those photos because I couldn't crop them in the aspect ratio that I needed for the project without losing important compositional elements. Had I left a little room at the edges of the frame, those pictures could have been used. And besides, if your original file has 20 MP, for most cases, a little cropping is no big deal.

  • Michael Y

    February 26, 2013 03:09 pm

    Indeed. I highly agree with @ John. I have L.R. 4 and P.S. 6. I use Lightroom almost at all times for touch ups. It's a bit challenging at first. But for real in depth adjustment P.S. is the way to go.

    F.B. "Photography by Michael Y"

  • John

    February 25, 2013 12:07 am

    @Steve Johnson - you make a very good point understanding contrast is very important when you're taking a photo and you can really get a grasp on it behind the computer processing your photos.

    @Amit Shaw - LIghtroom is enough to get some really good images - 80% of my photography is edited solely in Lightroom now.

  • Amit Shaw

    February 24, 2013 11:02 pm

    Please suggest what software will be best for editing any image?
    Has Light Room been Enough or we will need more images?
    Thanks.

  • Sue

    February 24, 2013 02:02 am

    I am a complete novice and have a Sony Bridge camera. I thought your article was great and actually when I take a photo I always think about cropping it when I get home and have had some great results with this. I am still getting my head around ISO etc but on the whole I am happy with what I do. And thanks this website is really helpful and interesting and also easy to understand.

  • Steve Johnson

    February 23, 2013 03:47 am

    I tend to regard both parts of the process, i.e. taking the picture and editing, as equal. You are exactly right insomuch as understanding the editing process will make a photographer take better pictures.

    Cropping is a great example and understanding contrast is another. It was only through spending many happy hours editing that I learned to 'see' contrast' i.e. tone as opposed to hue.

    Excellent post all round.

  • John Davenport

    February 22, 2013 06:59 am

    Yeah - once you learn what kinds of crops you prefer visually and fit your style of and photographic voice you'll then be able to see these frames within the viewfinder and take the shot to best fit your vision. It all starts with practice and learning to see the many possible pictures contained within one single photograph. Thanks for the comment Sumit.

  • Sumit

    February 22, 2013 06:13 am

    Nice post! I know exactly what you are talking about. It took me a while but with time (not sure when) even before I would press the shutter, I could visualise the entire flow from the scene to the final image. Now all I know is basic processing, so all my brain does is the crop and colour selection, but it has led to stronger compositions which sit well with my preferred processing steps. E.g. I like the 9:16 landscape a lot, ergo most of the shots over time (where possible) have ended up being composed in such a manner that I can effect the desired crop without taking anything away from the picture.

  • michael

    February 21, 2013 08:54 pm

    Good article I must say. I like to take full advantage of digital photography (as compared with film) and take several shots of the same scene or subject, varying the angle each time. I find it's usually the last one that's used, however I do try and keep them all and decide during the review stage back on the laptop. I might vary exposure or DoF withing the few extras. I'm not that experienced so I don't have the confidence to take just 1 or 2 shots and "trust" my judgement. I'd rather take 5 or 6 and be safe than sorry later (plus I use 2x 64Gb cards!).

  • Anne

    February 17, 2013 02:05 pm

    I learned to crop photos in Jr. High and High School yearbook and newspaper classes. It's a skill that helps today in my photography. Everyone says I take good fotos (my equipment is basic- a Ti3 with a kit lens (my long lens got snapped at football game while shooting) Basics. I don't know much about photo shop ( I still use Picasa) but this article is spot on! Also what DJKJ says about the holy trinity. I'd rather shoot than think and it's a big learning curve sometimes to remember to use the technical settings rather than just shooting.

  • GariRae

    February 16, 2013 03:29 pm

    Great article concerning the significance of cropping. It took me two years to realize that I prefer medium shots - nature studies - rather that wide landscapes. I found I couldnt crop down enough in most cases and I needed to better assess my image intent before I shot. Recognizing my true interest in a scene and selecting my true subject directs my composition so much less cropping is necessary. This article was very supportive of my ecperience.

  • Sal

    February 16, 2013 04:19 am

    Absolute. Cropping it is the mos important part to get a better photo, I usually after level go to smart filter and for some reason give me some part of the photo that I considered beautiful and after that i will cropp it.

  • Kim

    February 16, 2013 01:02 am

    Great article! Couldn't agree more that post-processing teaches you how to improve your photography from every aspect. I am a LR4 user and appreciate that I can edit nondestructively.....especially when it comes to cropping. I crop both in-camera and in post. I feel that visualizing your composition helps tremendously. One specific area that post processing has helped me: it has taught me to have a looser crop in camera so that my intended composition can be rendered correctly in print sizes that don't match my sensor's aspect ratio. This has become especially important to me in portraiture photography. I learned this the hard way - having a great composition in camera only to discover that it turns into a poor composition once printed in different sizes/aspect ratios. If you intend to print your images, it's important to allow enough room for the cropping that occurs with different print sizes.

  • John

    February 15, 2013 10:42 pm

    @Kimberly - It's not cheating if you're learning :). Keeping originals is a great way to be able to go back and apply the things you've learned since taking the shoot and sometimes you'll find a gem that you didn't even realize before.

    @loub - You're absolutely right learning to edit not only can help make your own photographs better, but by getting practical knowledge of these powerful tools you can leverage yourself in a field that interests you - and get paid to do what you love!

    @Zoe - I actually have a YouTube video that shares a bit about what I did to create that photo - Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbJdvdebfvk

  • Kartik

    February 15, 2013 04:23 pm

    Nice article, well written and concise. The current age photography is a combination of 3 things - a good eye, a decent camera and the skill of using Lightroom/Photoshop. All three are needed and a true artist is one who possesses all these skills.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/djkj/5189147047/in/set-72157607131026740/lightbox/

    Cheers!
    DJ KJ

  • Zoe

    February 15, 2013 03:06 pm

    John, I appreciate this. I love the skyline photo. Are you willing to share your editing process to achieve this black and white image?

  • Zafar

    February 15, 2013 02:40 pm

    I crop all th ewhile, and don't even care about aspect ratio. I crop to the point where I think it is good, to get rid of distractions that I did not notice, or those that weer impossible to frame out due to shooting constraints.

  • Zach

    February 15, 2013 01:41 pm

    Great article! No matter how much experience a photographer might have, I believe it's always important to try and continue the learning process. Back in the film days, I had an instructor that during critiques, would pull out a nifty home made cropping tool he made out of two pieces of right angled matte board. He could adjust it to any aspect ratio he desired, and would constantly look at our prints, and use the crop tool to "discover" photos within our photos. Now in the world of digital, the possibilities for new discovery seem almost endless.

  • Scottc

    February 15, 2013 10:08 am

    A great article! I did learn more about composition by cropping photos early on, and that includes shooting for a crop in some situations. I haven't tried the under exposure technique for B&W, but sounds like a great idea.

    I think that mistakes in the field also teach a lot about white balance and the settings on camera, another aspect I used to adjust quite often.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/8376193855/

  • Joseph

    February 15, 2013 09:49 am

    This is such a good article. Learning how to save yourself time in post-processing (editing, processing, whatever) is a fantastic way to look at editing, (processing, post-processing). I edit (process) as much as I can in-camera because it's just a life-saver. As someone who does this for his job 100%, I can't afford not to.

  • LouB

    February 15, 2013 08:11 am

    The article is spot on for anyone who's tried to teach themselves about photography! My first experiences with film and digital cameras were horrible! My mind simply couldn't process and understand composition and the holy trinity of ISO, shutter speed, and aperture - not to mention the pluses and minuses of each. I was teaching myself and had no mentor. While I was in college, I took a simple graphic design 101 course which exposed me to Photoshop. After learning a few basic principles and techniques, I was able to better understand the functions of the camera, which in turn, helped me to become a better photographer. I totally think you're right John. Editing will not teach you everything, but it will teach you, if you're able to learn that way. Pro photographers are pro for a reason. Understanding digital editing can give you the advantage over the average photographer and help get one of the plentiful marketing/events/communications jobs out there. I know cause that's what I do!

  • Kimberly

    February 14, 2013 07:34 am

    I must admit, I'm also an habitual cropper just like Neil from above - but it's a habit I am trying to break! I really struggled in my first couple years with the framing and drawing attention to the action of the shot - and I cheated a lot by cropping my way to some decent looking shots lol

    But I'd certainly always keep all originals, and I actually found some decent stuff from my early days that I was too quick to dismiss now that I know more of what I am looking for. Sometimes those quirky, off balance shots come back into fashion - so always keep 'em :)

  • John Davenport

    February 14, 2013 02:19 am

    Well said cristinao - best case is that you get it perfect in frame and don't lose anything except maybe a small crop to fit a desired aspect ratio.

    Though when you're just starting out the odds of this are very slim and therefore I say learn where you can and if that's behind the computer looking at different crops or the effects of different processing and white balance then by all means take it. :)

  • cristiano007

    February 14, 2013 12:52 am

    OK it's good to know that. Now talking about the article, I'm not exactly agree with the "Never Ever Crop" crowd. I think is important to TRY to make good framing right out of the camera, it's a good discipline. Why? Because you can substract from your frames by cropping but you can't add anything, so is a limited tool. But a little cropping (around 10 percent) is not a big deal for me if helps to really improve a final image. My experience is that a big cropping or radical processing are not substitute for thoughtful shooting, but John nailed it, "make mental notes" and learn.

  • John

    February 13, 2013 10:35 pm

    Neil - I definitely am a fan of cropping in post to 'fix' a boring or poorly composed photograph - however I do think it's important to make mental notes when you're doing this behind the computer screen and then look for the crops when you're in the field to better compose your shots in camera. This does two things.

    1.) You'll have a better photograph at the full resolution of your camera
    2.) Allows you to crop your 'better' photograph to even more possible compositions and thus increase your knowledge of composition even further.

    It's really win win and yes with the megapixel count of cameras these days unless you're going to be printing on for billboards you really don't need to worry too much about cropping away some data to achieve a better photograph. Thanks for the comment!

  • Neil

    February 13, 2013 09:42 am

    Either word is good Christiano, in the context of this thread. Having read Johns advice I realise I am a default cropper. I'm new to composition and never consciously considered it when holding a camera, but I learnt never to ' throw away' a boring photo when importing from camera. If there was colour, clarity, mood even, I could crop away and revert, playing with areas of poorly composed photos and salvage some remarkable results. Being new to my Canon D5mk2 and 'proper photography' I'm allowed, by an open mind, to say 'whatever' and play. My cropped photos will have more mega pixels in them now than ever before, so clarity will no longer be such a concern post-crop. I'm very new so forgive my bravado.

  • John

    February 13, 2013 09:27 am

    Hi Cristiano007 - To be honest I don't know the answer to your question. I've heard 'editing' used in the way that I've used it within this article so many times that it never even crossed my mind to be an incorrect usage - though you do make a good point.

    That being said - Regardless of whether it's technically correct or not I think it is generally an accepted way of expressing what I'm talking about especially if I am going for a more casual and less technical writing style.

    Of course, if others want to chime in I'm all ears.

  • cristiano007

    February 13, 2013 03:47 am

    I'm not native in English but I hink that you are really talking about "processing" and not about "editing". As long as I know, "editing" is about choosing, secuencing and presenting a number of pictures as a whole. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, please.

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