Composing your images when you capture the photo has a lot to do with their appeal. However, pushing the shutter button is only the first step in composition. Every photo app and program has a cropping tool which gives you a second opportunity to adjust your composition. “Cropping” is simply removing part of the image, like cutting it off with a pair of scissors. Many “ho-hum” photos can become “stunning” with a little cropping.
Often we capture too much sky and that dilutes the impact of the image. No problem, crop it out! Likewise, too much scenery that doesn’t tell the story can make your main characters get lost. By cropping out the extra scenery you often have an opportunity to reposition and bring emphasis to the main focal point of the piece.
Overly bright or dark areas can make the whole image appear light or dark. Crop out some of this area and you’ll find a totally different reaction to the scene.
This is particularly true for bright areas near the edges of the image. Your eye will no longer be drawn away from the main subject, once you crop out that bright spot.
Sometimes we crop just to fit an aspect ratio (width versus height) for a particular frame. Most cropping tools also give you the opportunity to rotate the image, which can be a life saver for shots with horizons. First make sure your horizons are level and then crop to suit.
So pull up some of your past images, and play around with cropping. With a little practice you’ll not only turn “ho-hum” into “oh-boy” but you’ll also be training your eye for the next time you click that shutter.