Curiously Cropping

“Fill the frame”, he’d say in that Ukrainian accent of his. “Allllleks, look at this photo you took. The action, the story is over here, (pointing to the upper left hand corner of the photo) yet you chose to fill your frame with grass and nothing. Get in closer. Fill the frame. Be better.”

What’s the story? Where is it? Why is this important? I’ve carried these questions in my bag of tricks since I was a boy. A vision of my Father framing a scene at the park with his hands. It’s stuck with me ever since. The man continues to harp in my ear on every shoot, or every phone call where he see’s an incorrect photo and says, “Closer. Get closer. What? They have bad breath?”, looking at me in that puzzled Ukrainian way.

And he’s right. The crop makes the story. Whether you get the shot in camera or have to crop it in in post, filling the frame is an art form in and of itself. No different than lighting, styling, hair and makeup, a bad crop and your photo fails to measure up. I’m lucky to have a team behind me to remind me, although not always so gently, that my framing is off.

Artists, photographers, spend a lot of time cropping their images to flow to near perfection. That they find depth and follow Fibonacci and the Rule of Thirds. My thought this week is, before you crop your image or someone else’s for that matter, consider the story. Does this draw your audience in? We’d never crop Starry Night to the edge of the church. So, why crop an image just for a website or social media post? A crop tells a story, where words don’t have to.

Tell your audience what to see in your next photo, and have your crop…fill the frame.