How many photographs have you taken and been really disappointed with the results? Maybe your cat is too far away, or their tail tip isn’t in the photo, or you cut off an ear? You think, oh that is terrible. How on earth can you rescue that photo?
I wanted to focus on something quick and easy that every cat lover can enjoy doing today to rescue and transform a photo. So, before you move the photo to the rubbish bin (trash) I am going to ask you to hold off deleting it for just a little while longer.
There is one great way to rescue photos so you can include the image in a blog post, help a rescue, or share on social media with friends and family. I add some extra tips at the bottom of the post too.
The Magic of Cropping
That’s cheating, isn’t it? It’s not the photo you took? Yes, it is your photo, and cropping is one of the most popular post-production skills used by photographers of all levels.
Adjusting and editing photographs in a photo editor like Affinity, GIMP, Corel Paint Shop Pro or Lightroom can help transform a good photo into a much better one and cropping is something everyone can try.
Why crop a photograph anyway?
- You can remove a lot of distracting detail around your pet.
- It will help focus on a pet and product more closely for a sponsored blog post.
- A close crop can add a real sense of drama to your photograph
- You can tell your story better. Cropping down to a pet and the toy they love best says a lot more than a distant cat or dog, in a living room, with a toy thrown off to one side!
How do I crop a Photo?
Every photo editor has this basic photo editing tool of two intersecting corners with a diagonal line through them. These corners appear on an image when you activate the tool and you can adjust the corners to see how they behave.
You need to look at an image you are not satisfied with and ask yourself if cropping would improve it. If you are not sure, make a duplicate of your photo and play with that.
- I go into detail about cat closeups here too.
Ask yourself how much of your photo you want to remove and experiment with different adjustments. Depending on your software you may also be able to crop to different shapes.
- WordPress bloggers who are using Gutenberg have the option to display images with rounded corners using the Block Styles option.
Think beyond the rectangle, try a circular crop, or a neat square like this one. Use one of the online editors like Tuxpi to create something more unusual (see the bottom of this post).
Unless you are aiming for a dramatic close shot that fills the frame of your picture, try to give your subject room to ‘breathe’. The photo of Connor above, has light space around his head and the focus is on the cute face and bright eyes, so there is no cramped squashed feeling in the photo.
TIP: Try not to cut off a paw or tail tip when you crop. Ouch.`
Bonus Tip: Straightening
Have you ever taken a picture like this? You are trying to capture a passing moment and because you are rushed, with no time to look properly through your viewfinder, it comes out crooked? Maybe there is a lot of space around your subject, or perhaps you are lucky, like I was in this picture, to capture the whole pet at all. It’s just not straight, is it?
Your photo application should be able to help. Check the menus or handbook for a straightening option.
You will find a grid or measure that allows you to align or level your photo, usually with a slider of some kind. Like this photograph here, you may just need to make a small adjustment, and it will make a big difference to how people enjoy your photo.
The Two Best Cropping Tricks
You probably don’t want to spend half your life cropping in a photo editor so let me pass on two of my favourite tips to help you get it right when you are taking your pet pictures.
Transform Your Pet Photos – Cultivate Composition Skills
Practising your composition skills is something you can work on every time you take a photo. Every picture is practice, and every shot a chance to improve and learn from your mistakes.
- If we were all perfect photographers I believe the world would be a seriously boring place!
Don’t point and hope, try to frame your pet in a more interesting way. Did you know people like seeing pets slightly off centre in a photo. For some reason, our minds find the results more pleasing so try it with your own pictures.
The Rule of Thirds is a basic composition technique that is intended to divide the frame into three equal horizontally and vertically segments using two pairs of equidistant straight lines.Aperturebuzz
One of the best aids for taking pictures is the grid option. This grid overlays your viewer and divides it into smaller rectangles. It’s a great guide to boost your composition confidence.
The grid uses the ‘rule of thirds’ and you can use these guides to help position your pet when composing a photo. A pet eye or body placed along one of the lines or at an intersection of two lines will make a difference. Try using the grid and see what happens.
Shoot at a High Resolution
If you take photographs using a smartphone or a compact, check your resolution settings. Let me explain why this can matter.
If you shoot at a higher resolution then crop you will still get very good image quality. This will be good enough to make a canvas print or printable item from Red Bubble or Zazzle as well as sharing on social media.
TIP: Higher resolution pictures the up more room in your camera storage e.g. RAW images are very large. Check how much capacity your camera has.
What I Learned from Cropping
The lesson from all this? Don’t give up on your photos. Post-production can help you rescue a picture or make it look so much better!
Have you ever surprised yourself cropping a picture? Did you transform your pet photos?