Cut it out
Add intrigue and impact to your portraits with a dramatic crop
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?