Oh, Crop!

There is a simple way to change the appearance of your photographs without using any fancy software.  In fact, you can try this with the simplest image manipulator or the most expensive, and your viewers won't know the difference.  This simple tool is the crop tool, and it can completely change the look of your image. Your first chance to use this tool doesn't even require any software - it's your camera viewfinder.  Every photographer crops the scene before he pushes the shutter button.  As you look through the viewfinder and change your position to capture the exact image you want, you are cropping.  If you have a zoom lens, you can create several different crops without moving your feet.

But we're talking about a rainy day activity when you just want to explore.  You can do extreme variations like the one below.  When I took the first image, I just noticed the two different building materials and the nice geometric shape of the geometric rafters. I didn't have any other thought about it, a simple snap.

Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire, England When I got home, I decided to play with the ceiling rose and process the rafters differently, so I cropped in tightly, and decided I liked that image better.

geometric cropSometimes you don't want to change the viewer's focus, you just want her to look to a different side.  I don't know why - maybe it fits better in your photo collage in the guest bathroom.

lily in Virginia Beach, VA, USAlilly pond in Va. Beach, on the rightWhen you crop in to focus on a detail, don't forget you can also rotate the image.  A landscape format just feels different than a vertical.

dragon flags in Georgetown, VA

dragon flag

When I shot these models in Georgetown, I really liked the white line on the sidewalk, but I included a little too much wall on the left, so I cropped in a little.

wedding couple   wedding couple in Georgetown, VA

The picture was better, but I decided the line was a nice design element, so I cropped in tighter and liked it better.wedding dress, graphic designSo, the next time you have the urge to play around with your images, give cropping a try.  It's always better to crop in the viewfinder, but, later, you may want to change it some more.  Go ahead and play.  Just do it on a copy because six months from now you may want to change it again.  Have fun.