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To Crop or Not to Crop

To Crop or Not to Crop?

Here's the answer:

Always looking to enhance our service we solicit feedback from our customers as to how we're doing, how can we improve our service, our image quality, style, and the availability of content.


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Recently I received an email from a customer who brought up a valid point regarding the cropping of images. The image above isn't meant to single out any particular artist but was selected to show an example of what the customer is speaking about. (Note the arm/ elbow on the left side of the image.) To use this image and drop text on the left side the entire left portion of the image would need to be rebuilt.

Here is the email I received from a customer regarding this image:

Many photos I've come across are cropped in the wrong place. I don't know if its buyers just gravitate toward an image that has been cropped or if it's the photographer exercising artistic license. The problem I'm seeing is, maybe I like a particular photo, think of a couple by a cozy fire but one of the heads is chopped off even just a little or their arms are cropped because the photographer was thinking it would stand on its own. What if I needed the full head because it was going to be silo'd, what if I needed the full body/more scene because I had copy to run down one part of it, what if I wanted to pull the couple off the background completely and put them over white because that's the way all my art for a particular project is presented. A crop, like what a portrait photographer would sell to a family just will not work"

This customer makes an excellent point. If the photographer pulled back in the framing of the image just 10%, costly and time-consuming retouching could be avoided.

All photographers need to be aware and give their customers as much creative flexibility as possible with each photo submission. Thus, they not only need to create great images, they also should think about all the possible ways those images will be used. Let's face it, it costs several thousands of dollars to produce a stock photo shoot including, models, make-up artists, styling, wardrobe, propping, studio time or locations, permits, and all of the ancillary items to produce the final image. As a commercial photographer wanting to get the maximum return on your investment, you should begin thinking in terms of cropping for usability instead of just esthetics. A great image is just that a great image. But a contributing artist that creates a great image keeping in mind the end user is a profitable artist.