Cut it out

Add in­trigue and im­pact to your por­traits with a dra­matic crop

NPhoto - - Special Feature -

We’re told that there are cer­tain places in a body that are good ‘crop points’. The list of dos and don’ts is long, and reads like a screen­play for

Dex­ter: don’t cut off feet, crop into the shins (but not the calves); don’t chop off fin­gers, wrists or knuck­les, crop above el­bows in­stead; don’t cut at the crotch, crop above the knees. With close-ups, don’t crop too close to the eyes, or too tight to the top of the head; in­stead we should make a def­i­nite crop into the fore­head.

Many of th­ese rules can help, both when fram­ing a por­trait in-cam­era, and when crop­ping later on. But a dar­ing crop can have just as much im­pact. It grabs the at­ten­tion and, by ex­clud­ing parts of the body, draws ex­tra at­ten­tion to what­ever re­mains. Crop­ping off the mouth here, for ex­am­ple, fo­cuses at­ten­tion on the sub­ject’s most in­ter­est­ing fa­cial fea­tures – the fiery hair and blue eyes. So why not try fram­ing half a face, or trim the tips of some­one’s toes, or per­haps forget the face al­to­gether? Hands can tell us al­most as much about a per­son, so why not fo­cus at­ten­tion on them in­stead?

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