Monday, September 21, 2009

Cropping as an after-thought ...

Full-frame versus cropping --
to be or not to be.

To "be" is to shoot full-frame. "Not to be" would suggest that if you didn't frame your shot just right when shooting, cropping it afterward is in order to SAVE the shot, hence, you didn't really get the shot you wanted.

Well, that's the purist school of thought anyway.

If given my druthers, I'd never crop. With digital, however, I not only crop like mad, I manipulate the heck out of images. We have the luxury to SAVE images that way. We have the luxury to imprint mediocrity with something splendid. Digital is uber-forgiving and I'd even go so far as to say that if you don't like the shot and you don't like the crop or the manipulation, hey -- just blend it all together with some elements from another rejected shot and you could conceivably come up with a masterpiece.

That isn't to diminish the finished product when its rendered through digital imaging, but for those who are process aficionados, there is something to be admired about capturing the final image at the very moment you expose the film.

I sound highfalutin but the truth is, I really believe that shooting full frame and the deliberate nature of it is an art unto itself. It used to be touted as the respectable way of shooting when you're talking about film. But then, everything seemed more precious with film.

Shooting full-frame is a WAY OF SEEING which means a way of arranging what appears in your viewfinder.

When you compose your shot deliberately so that every corner of the frame is considered, it cannot be denied that that is a more PURE way of taking a photograph. There is no after-thought on which to rely. Sure, I can thoroughly appreciate manipulated images and the painter's mindset that accompanies post-production imagery, but I can tell you that it is exceptionally moving when a powerful image is rendered just at the moment the shutter is clicked.

Shooting full-frame is an art. Cropping is an after-thought. A good crop can produce better art but the better photographer can produce imagery with no cropping at all. : )

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009


Snapshots are folk art and you can't discount folk art as an art form. Think of snapshots as today's
Daguerreotypes to one day be collectibles of the future. (Okay -- not a great analogy since Polaroids would be a better one.)

Point is, with snapshots, families tend to create traditional styles of shooting. While growing up, my family was big on dinner table shots. I'm pretty sure this had to do with my parents always being dressed up fancy and my mother having had the table done up just so. If it was Thanksgiving, a turkey would grace the table, if a birthday, a birthday cake, but other than that, it was always sans food and seriously static.

Currently, the tradition with my kids is that my oldest winks in all the shots and my youngest intentionally closes his eyes.

go for the OUTRAGEOUS

That phrase has stuck with me ever since a seminar professor explained that it was the thing to do. You should always strive for the OUTRAGEOUS when shooting.

Sure, one could argue that that means going for what is sensational -- and that, of course, could mean a slam to integrity, a slight to your audience, some selling out or some cheap formula. It could mean you've bypassed art for the sake of shock value or sales and its lowest common denominator stats.

BUT, I'm happy to report that that is not what the professor meant at all. Going for the outrageous is to say, PUSH IT. Don't hold back, don't settle, but more so, once you think you have it, GO FURTHER. You may think you snagged a nice shot of your sexy girlfriend peeling a banana, but you'll have to do better than that ................ you'll have to light a fire and do some flambé.

Point is, you owe it to yourself to push limits and explore the scenario.