Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Cropping the Shot

Hey guys! Happy Sunday to you.

For this week’s photo challenge, Patti asks us to show how we crop our shots to “improve an image and create a desired effect.” I like the quote she shared:

There is a vast difference between taking a picture and making a photograph.

– Robert Heinecken

I’m sure most of us have a selection of photos that we are quite proud of – the ones that require little or no editing – taken in that moment of magic when every photographic element fell into place. But what about all the others? All the other crummy shots that we hardly look at twice. And let’s face it. If we’re honest, we all have loads of “the others” in our files.

Something that challenges me is to take a photo that isn’t good and try and improve it. Or to take a REALLY horrible picture and try to find something – anything – within it that is salvageable. For today’s exercise, I looked through my Scotland photo archives for just those sorts of shots. Here are my examples of “cropping the shot”.


I took this photo of the Scottish countryside from the window of our moving car. The main issue here is the amount of grass at the bottom. The eye is drawn to the lower portion of the photo, which is clearly not the intention. Overall, the image is slightly off-kilter.


Sheep grazing in a green field in Scotland.  Snow capped mountains in the background.

By cropping out the bottom and doing a bit of light touch-up work, this photo becomes much more attractive.


I snapped this shot at Corgarff Castle in the Aberdeenshire countryside. I like the individual elements of the photo, but I don’t like the road on the right or the fact that my eyes don’t know where to look. Am I supposed to look at the trees or the castle?


Corgarff Castle in Scotland.  Bare trees in front of a cloudy sky.

The fix: I cropped out the road and brought the top down a bit. Now the eye is initially drawn to the lovely bare trees under a chilly sky.


This photo was taken at Elgin Cathedral in Elgin, Scotland. It’s kind of a mess.


Elgin Cathedral in Elgin, Scotland.

While the “after” photo likely won’t win any awards, by closing it in a little and removing some of the excess noise, it has now become a much more usable photo.


Where to even begin with this photo of the Greig Street Bridge in Inverness? Ick!!


Voila! A little cropping, a little light editing, and what was once only worthy of the trash bin has been saved.

What about you? Do you have some examples of photos where cropping the shot made a big difference? If you would like to join in the weekly challenges, click here to learn how.

I will close today with a great quote I found by author Matt Haig.

β€œIf you think something is ugly, look harder. Ugliness is just a failure of seeing.” 

Have a fabulous day, friends! See you again soon.


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