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The Difference A Little Cropping Makes


Typically I am the type of photographer which does very little post editing to pictures. I try and do as much as I can during the shot to make the photograph as good as possible so post editing is at a minimum. This pertains to carefully watching the light, subject and background of a picture to do what can be done to get the best possible photograph in the camera and not have to rely on digital editing to enhance the shot.

Occasionally, however, there are times when post editing is needed and there are times when it isn’t needed but can still enhance even a good shot right out of the camera.

I photographed this monarch butterfly a couple days ago on the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. I went out looking for monarchs but only came across this lone individual. It didn’t present itself in a very photographic spot so I had to do what I had to do to get a decent shot. It is the only time I have actually photographed butterflies with my 600 mm lens because it was sitting back in a deep pocket of sunflowers and that was as close as it was going to let me get so I had to do what I could to get a shot off.

When I got home and looked at the shot I loved how it turned out. The smooth background and sharpness of the butterfly is striking in my eyes, even as it was taken in partial shade so the colors didn’t pop like I wanted it to. I started to play around with it a bit for fun and cropped and rotated it 90 degrees to see what kind of effect it would have on the photograph. I can honestly say I am not sure which one I like more, the original with the butterfly hanging almost upside down or the cropped and rotated version with the monarch right side up.

This just goes to show don’t be afraid to play with a photograph a bit if you aren’t getting what you saw originally. It is hard to get a perfect shot to work out, very hard so there are times when post editing can help such as cropping and rotating the subject to get more of what you were looking for. Just don’t rely on post editing too much and not put the effort where it matters most, setting up and taking the shot.

monarch butterfly
monarch butterfly

monarch butterfly
monarch butterfly