More than likely the readers of this article are probably taking photographs with an
amateur camera with a small format type sensor, therefore in camera composition and
cropping is most important. The least expensive the camera, the higher the probability of
the sensor in the camera will be a very small one .
What that means is if you change the word “sensor” to “film size,” the more you try to
blow up and crop the photograph the more information you will loose if you have not
composed and cropped it right when you took the picture. One result of this is grain in
There are cameras that have very large film such as a view camera where the negative
could be an 8” x 10” size. Obviously if you are starting with a large negative such as an
8” x 10” sized one that the final photograph could be billboard size and maintain very
The sensors in the amateur cameras are very small, way less than the size of a 35mm
negative, therefore if you try to enlarge your photograph to say an 8”x 10” you are a little
past the maximum size. To obtain a decent looking 8”x 10” photograph buy at least an 8-
10 mega-pixel camera.
Now back to cropping. Crop your image in the view finder, get tight in and then get even
tighter. Look at magazines and compare the composition of the types of photograph you
are trying to take to the ones in the magazine. Study the magazine photographs, envision
in your viewfinder what you have seen and shoot it close in and tight just as they do. This
will improve the quality of the image.
There is one thing though to take into account when cropping. The sensor inside your
camera is not to the same proportion as an 8” x 10” photograph so when it is printed
some of the image will be cropped off from the top and/or bottom, or the sides if you
were taking a landscape/horizontal 10” x 8” photograph. So yes, you can crop too tight.
Practice with a photo editing tool to develop your skill and see your final result.
Again, remember; crop/frame it in the camera before you shoot it.
Another point about post cropping is this; every time you work with a digital jpeg
image/file in a photo editing tool information is lost from the file. That means you only
have a few chances to get it right before your image can become unusable if your
standard is wanting a high quality print so it just makes sense to crop it in the camera first,