Rediscovering Square Cropping

0Comments

As I mentioned yesterday – I was recently going through some of the first images that I ever took (as well as some taken of me) and came a cross a series of shots that particularly caught my attention (some shots of me as a kid from the 70’s). The reason they caught my attention was because they were in a format you don’t see much these days…

they were all Square

These days the predominant format for images is the rectangle. Square cropping is often seen as ‘dated’ or boring – however I quite like it.

The Square format is a simple and uncomplicated one that is particularly useful for symmetrical images, especially where there is a central point of interest (of course there’s no rules on this – unsymmetrical images can also work nicely too).

So next time you are editing images see what impact a square cropping might have on your shots.

PS: just keep in mind that getting shots printed at labs in the square format can be a little tricky.

Here’s a few more examples of Square Cropping.

Square-Cropping

Image Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • Chris

    Thumbnails on Flickr are all square (at least when browsing sets) which makes for a consistent browsing experience — ie not thrown off by vertical and horizontal mixed images. I like this very much.

  • I’ve got a load of square photos of me as a kid as well. It does show our age a bit though!

  • I love square crops!

  • There is no need to stick to the format the camera delivers, but it’s always difficult to find the right crop for the right picture (or element thereof). I for my part think that square crops are neither boring nor outdated – if they’re handled right. In my opinion square picturers work best, when they contain very few elements and get some kind of “iconic”.

  • I love square format for minimalist/abstract pictures.
    As Toras says, there is something iconic then.

  • The new Ricoh GR Digital II has a built-in square function 🙂

    I’ve always found 3:2 too rectangular for my pictures. I seldom go completely square, but the relatively squarer format of my Olympus Four-Thirds camera is definitely something that drew me to it.

  • Jason van der Valk

    White House Custom Colour prints square formats. I believe it is $3.40 for a 10×10. I’ve just started to discover the square format and I’m in love. 🙂

  • cropping is a must if you are a good photographer

    charles
    http://www.whatis.name

  • No, i disagree. Cropping is as option for everyone to change the impression of the picture you already have. There are plenty of perfect pictures that need no cropping at all.

    I thought about the square thumbnails of flickr or zooomr and I think they show the difficulty and the beauty of square pictures. The thumbnails are small enough to show only one point of interest and they tend to look great. But when you click on them to get the greater image most of the time you’ll be disappointed because the real thing can’t satisfy the expectations you got from the thumbnail.

    Torax

  • Bob

    I’ve always found square photographs to be calming, quiet, and interesting. I’ve seen many portraits that I could hold my hands up, movie director like, in a square and find a real nice square image trying to get out of the rectangular.

    Bob

  • Kelly

    I love square prints, however I find it difficult to get decent frames that are square without getting them custom made!

  • I actually think a lot of these pictures would be better in a rectangular format…

  • I love to square crop. Well actually I crop whatever is best for the picture, and if I can’t get the size I want in print I’ll get a full sized print and do my own cropping (scissors work quiet nicely). And I have found places that print square. Costco does it very reasonably as does MPix.

  • Patrick

    Ritzphoto prints square. 5×5, but you could print a square print on an 8×10 and get an 8×8 that way and trim the rest!

  • I like square cropping. Sometimes, I use square cropping on my images.

  • Mandi

    I use square crops all the time, they’re one of my favorite ways to make an image more interesting. Personally I don’t think they’re outdated at all.

  • Owen Glendower

    “I love square prints, however I find it difficult to get decent frames that are square without getting them custom made!”

    Good point, but you can avoid the cost of custom frames by buying unassembled lengths of molding, either metal or wood, from online suppliers or art-supply stores. And my local home center has a few basic frame profiles available in wood. Of course, assembling & finishing these would be tedious, unlike metal frames.

    Of course, if you could find standard rectangular metal frames at a good price, you could simply buy two 8×10 frames and re-assemble them into 8×8 and 10×10.

    I also keep an eye on the ready-to-hang “home decor” stuff which many stores carry these days. Sometimes it’s worth it to buy the item, toss the “artwork,” and just use the frame, and perhaps the matting.

  • Gordon

    Hi:
    Is there software out there to easily crop a square out of an image? My wife does a lot of printing and needs square pics to do that.

    Regards,

    Gordon

Some Older Comments

  • Gordon November 27, 2011 11:29 am

    Hi:
    Is there software out there to easily crop a square out of an image? My wife does a lot of printing and needs square pics to do that.

    Regards,

    Gordon

  • Owen Glendower October 18, 2009 01:00 am

    "I love square prints, however I find it difficult to get decent frames that are square without getting them custom made!"

    Good point, but you can avoid the cost of custom frames by buying unassembled lengths of molding, either metal or wood, from online suppliers or art-supply stores. And my local home center has a few basic frame profiles available in wood. Of course, assembling & finishing these would be tedious, unlike metal frames.

    Of course, if you could find standard rectangular metal frames at a good price, you could simply buy two 8x10 frames and re-assemble them into 8x8 and 10x10.

    I also keep an eye on the ready-to-hang "home decor" stuff which many stores carry these days. Sometimes it's worth it to buy the item, toss the "artwork," and just use the frame, and perhaps the matting.

  • Mandi October 10, 2009 08:17 am

    I use square crops all the time, they're one of my favorite ways to make an image more interesting. Personally I don't think they're outdated at all.

  • Mei Teng October 9, 2009 10:56 am

    I like square cropping. Sometimes, I use square cropping on my images.

  • Patrick December 31, 2008 06:31 am

    Ritzphoto prints square. 5x5, but you could print a square print on an 8x10 and get an 8x8 that way and trim the rest!

  • Sally November 7, 2008 06:19 am

    I love to square crop. Well actually I crop whatever is best for the picture, and if I can't get the size I want in print I'll get a full sized print and do my own cropping (scissors work quiet nicely). And I have found places that print square. Costco does it very reasonably as does MPix.

  • John Buddee May 23, 2008 06:29 am

    I actually think a lot of these pictures would be better in a rectangular format...

  • Kelly November 2, 2007 05:05 pm

    I love square prints, however I find it difficult to get decent frames that are square without getting them custom made!

  • Bob November 2, 2007 07:52 am

    I've always found square photographs to be calming, quiet, and interesting. I've seen many portraits that I could hold my hands up, movie director like, in a square and find a real nice square image trying to get out of the rectangular.

    Bob

  • Torax November 1, 2007 07:23 pm

    No, i disagree. Cropping is as option for everyone to change the impression of the picture you already have. There are plenty of perfect pictures that need no cropping at all.

    I thought about the square thumbnails of flickr or zooomr and I think they show the difficulty and the beauty of square pictures. The thumbnails are small enough to show only one point of interest and they tend to look great. But when you click on them to get the greater image most of the time you'll be disappointed because the real thing can't satisfy the expectations you got from the thumbnail.

    Torax

  • charles November 1, 2007 05:47 am

    cropping is a must if you are a good photographer

    charles
    http://www.whatis.name

  • Jason van der Valk November 1, 2007 02:14 am

    White House Custom Colour prints square formats. I believe it is $3.40 for a 10x10. I've just started to discover the square format and I'm in love. :)

  • Puplet October 31, 2007 09:39 pm

    The new Ricoh GR Digital II has a built-in square function :-)

    I've always found 3:2 too rectangular for my pictures. I seldom go completely square, but the relatively squarer format of my Olympus Four-Thirds camera is definitely something that drew me to it.

  • Olivier H October 31, 2007 09:12 pm

    I love square format for minimalist/abstract pictures.
    As Toras says, there is something iconic then.

  • Torax October 31, 2007 08:47 pm

    There is no need to stick to the format the camera delivers, but it's always difficult to find the right crop for the right picture (or element thereof). I for my part think that square crops are neither boring nor outdated - if they're handled right. In my opinion square picturers work best, when they contain very few elements and get some kind of "iconic".

  • Jamie October 31, 2007 09:52 am

    I love square crops!

  • Mandy October 31, 2007 08:09 am

    I've got a load of square photos of me as a kid as well. It does show our age a bit though!

  • Chris October 31, 2007 07:53 am

    Thumbnails on Flickr are all square (at least when browsing sets) which makes for a consistent browsing experience -- ie not thrown off by vertical and horizontal mixed images. I like this very much.

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