Is cropping of digital pics considered "cheating"?


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#2
Of coz not. Cropping is an art. If you need to crop a picture to remove distracting elements, to create a more dynamic composition, etc, do it.

Cropping has been done in the traditional darkroom for ages, just like most of the other tools you now do in photoshop, like contrast adjustment, dodging, burning, etc.

Regards
CK
 

Tweek

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#3
Originally posted by ckiang
like contrast adjustment, dodging, burning, etc.
paiseh eh for the offtopic, I've always wondered what the dodging and burning processes are, and what do they do?
 

#4
Originally posted by Tweek


paiseh eh for the offtopic, I've always wondered what the dodging and burning processes are, and what do they do?
In the traditional darkroom sense, Dodging involves using a mask or your hand to shield certain areas during the exposure of the photographic paper to lighten that aera without affecting the rest of the areas.

Burning involves using a mask while increasing exposure to darken selected areas, without affecting the rest of the areas.

Sign up for the SAFRA Photo Club's Monochrome course and have some fun with darkroom techniques! :)

Regards
CK
 

Darren

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#5
I say it depends on the level of cropping done and how forthcoming a poster is about the cropped amount.

With today's multi-megapixel digicams, its very very easy to produce an acceptable, some may even say, great, image to be displayed on the web by cropping to show only 15-20% of the original image.

The proof of the pudding would be to get the same image printed out - my guess is that the "Heavy Cropper" would not be able to produce acceptable images.

Its up to the ethics and integrity of the image owner as to how he wants to portray his "skills" - some ppl stick to full-frame or slightly cropped images, relying on their skills to enable them to get the image, some ppl prefer to go the Heavy-Cropping way and get a boost out of posting pics like that. And there are a million and one variations in between. To each their own ......
 

#6
Originally posted by Darren
I say it depends on the level of cropping done and how forthcoming a poster is about the cropped amount.

With today's multi-megapixel digicams, its very very easy to produce an acceptable, some may even say, great, image to be displayed on the web by cropping to show only 15-20% of the original image.

The proof of the pudding would be to get the same image printed out - my guess is that the "Heavy Cropper" would not be able to produce acceptable images.

Its up to the ethics and integrity of the image owner as to how he wants to portray his "skills" - some ppl stick to full-frame or slightly cropped images, relying on their skills to enable them to get the image, some ppl prefer to go the Heavy-Cropping way and get a boost out of posting pics like that. And there are a million and one variations in between. To each their own ......
There's a difference between cropping to improve composition (like removing distracting elements in the frame like I mentioned), or to achieve a "digital zoom" effect.

Some purists (for some reason) simply don't believe in cropping, and let those distracting elements which do not help in the picture remain in the picture. Some of these purists left vast amounts of "white space" simply because, well, they are purists. I feel this kind of restriction is totally unnecessary. Cropping is not cheating, and one need not feel guilty to do so, if it improves the shot.

I'd say a large majority of the pics posted here can be improved by judicial cropping. Also, whether the crop is mentioned is not important (at least to me), but would be nice if it is. When you go to a photo exhibition, you don't see the photos labelled as being cropped or not right? Or for that matter, you don't even see the camera/lens/settings.... :D

Regards
CK
 

HOCL

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#7
IMHO, cropping (digitally or otherwise) is no different from say using a (power) zoom lens, if we don't look at the issues abt resolution etc.

Purpose is the same (to remove distracting surroundings and improve composition), only the means are different.

So if using zoom is perfectly acceptable, why cropping is a crime?
 

M

Midnight

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#8
Originally posted by HOCL
IMHO, cropping (digitally or otherwise) is no different from say using a (power) zoom lens, if we don't look at the issues abt resolution etc.

Purpose is the same (to remove distracting surroundings and improve composition), only the means are different.

So if using zoom is perfectly acceptable, why cropping is a crime?
As an aside, using a longer focal length ("zooming in") is not entirely the same as cropping, because a longer focal length will compress the depth of the elements of the image and thus render a different image from a picture taken at a shorter focal length and subsequently cropped down to a similar subject size.

Having said that, though, my personal take on this topic is that at the end of the day, photography is an art and the artist is free to use whatever tools are at his disposal to achieve his desired outcome. Cropping is pretty straightforward and unlikely to raise any eyebrows; after all, when we print our negatives or digital photos using different aspect ratios (such as 8R), some cropping is always performed anyway.

A far more controversial tool is digital editing and retouching. My opinion is that heavily digitally edited photos are perfectly valid as a form of art, but the photographer must take special care to note that the image is not representative of the original scene. In the end, it's the final product that counts, not the process, but we should not mislead others about the latter either.
 

skf

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#9
Originally posted by Midnight
....
A far more controversial tool is digital editing and retouching. My opinion is that heavily digitally edited photos are perfectly valid as a form of art, but the photographer must take special care to note that the image is not representative of the original scene. In the end, it's the final product that counts, not the process, but we should not mislead others about the latter either.
well said! a healthy and balanced view
 

rueyloon

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#10
Originally posted by Midnight
As an aside, using a longer focal length ("zooming in") is not entirely the same as cropping, because a longer focal length will compress the depth of the elements of the image and thus render a different image from a picture taken at a shorter focal length and subsequently cropped down to a similar subject size.
Zooming in as EXACTLY the same as Cropping. "Compression" as you meantioned has to do with perspective, which is a factor of subject to photographer distance.

As long as we're standing at the same subject to photographer distance, the perspective would be the same.
 

kh_drew

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#11
Cropping, or any other forms of manipulation, is indeed an art. It is very hard to be a purist in terms of manipulation the image as little as possible. Where would one draw the line, then, if one wants to be a purist? (And I'm not saying it is nit-picking, neither is it wrong, just hard to judge). From the moment a picture is taken, many factors will contirbute to the final outcome of an image. Developing time, printing time, water temperature, use of different chemicals, cross-processing etc etc, when factors are changed, by intent or otherwise, the final image will be vary from person to person. So what constitutes purity? It is certainly an interesting question for all serious photographers to ponder over.
The question is even harder to answer with the advent of the digital process. Just by way of analogy, we all enjoy movies laden with special effects but do we criticise film-makers and actors who deal in blue-screen technology, CGI, etc, for being less of an artist compared to their counterparts who do not use CGI's. It is also interesting to note that when talking films replaced silent films, some actors did not sound as good as they looked on screen and subsequently they were dropped or had their voices dubbed. "Singing in the Rain" deals with this issue in a comic way.

Another thing, yes, one gets a different perspective by shooting with different focal lengths. A 20mm lens from 10 feet renders a scenery differently than, say a 105mm lens from 50 feet even though the subject may fill both frames totally. There are plenty of such comparative pictures in photography books but the best way to see for oneself (since digital film costs next to nothing) is to shoot and compare.

andrew
 

tsdh

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#13
Cropping had been done since the early days of photography, and nobody say that it is cheating (except probably.. the purist).
The purpose of cropping is to get better composition, adjust aspect ratio, or discarding unwanted portion.
News photo editor or journalist sometimes crop small portion and enlarge it, to get "zooming effect", compromising its quality. They do that because the photographer can't get nearer to the object to take picture (e.g.: war report, fire, etc.). And that is not cheating as far as the content of the image was concerned. They didn't manipulate or alter the content represented by that portion of image.

Regarding perspective, Rueyloon was right, as long as the distance between photographer and object is the same, perspective will also be the same regardless the lens' focal length.
The only difference is the depth of field.
 

E

Eric

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#14
Is using filters counted as cheating?

Any difference whether the filter is attached on a lens or is an effect in Photoshop?
 

rueyloon

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#15
Originally posted by tsdh

Regarding perspective, Rueyloon was right, as long as the distance between photographer and object is the same, perspective will also be the same regardless the lens' focal length.
The only difference is the depth of field.
I'm abit on shaky ground here, but I think the DOF would still be the same. Since zooming is just cropping, the rest of the factors would remain the same. DOF depends on where you're focussing (which means subject distance), and aperture.
 

M

Midnight

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#16
Originally posted by rueyloon
Zooming in as EXACTLY the same as Cropping. "Compression" as you meantioned has to do with perspective, which is a factor of subject to photographer distance. As long as we're standing at the same subject to photographer distance, the perspective would be the same.
Thanks for reminding me. You are correct, of course. I was actually thinking about shooting the same subject at different focal lengths while keeping the recorded subject size the same, i.e. at different subject-to-camera distances, in which case the perspective will indeed change. You are right in that if the photographer stays in the same position vis-a-vis the subject, a longer focal length and cropping will both yield the same perspective. My mistake. :embrass: :embrass:
 

tsdh

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#17
Originally posted by rueyloon
I'm abit on shaky ground here, but I think the DOF would still be the same. Since zooming is just cropping, the rest of the factors would remain the same. DOF depends on where you're focussing (which means subject distance), and aperture.
No. The DOF is different if you use different focal length (at the same aperture, same distance between camera and subject).
The one using shorter focal length has more DOF.
Probably you can try it yourself.
 

StreetShooter

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#18
Originally posted by tsdh

No. The DOF is different if you use different focal length (at the same aperture, same distance between camera and subject).
The one using shorter focal length has more DOF.
Probably you can try it yourself.
Yes, a 15mm lens at f2.8 has much greater DOF than a 200mm lens at f2.8 (provided the subject remains at the same distance from the camera).

It helps if you understand what the f-number really indicates. It is the focal length of the lens divided by the aperture diameter. So with a 15mm lens at f2.8, the aperture is actually about 5mm in diameter, whereas for a 200mm lens at f2.8, the aperture (in absolute terms) is about 70mm in diameter.

Since we know that DOF depends on the aperture size and subject distance, it follows that at the same subject distance, the DOF of a shorter focal length lens is greater than that of a longer focal length lens (ie pinholes focus much more sharply than wide open lenses).

Lest I get knocked on the head by Jed, let me say that this is only my fanciful theory and I am not at all sure about what I am talking about.

By the way, coming back to the original thread, what is the difference between cropping when taking the shot (by positioning the camera and choice of focal length), and cropping after taking the shot? No difference to me.
 

tsdh

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#19
Originally posted by StreetShooter
(ie pinholes focus much more sharply than wide open lenses).
A bit typo-error there: pinhole offer great DOF, but not sharpness (due to higher diffraction of light above f/8)

Lest I get knocked on the head by Jed, let me say that this is only my fanciful theory and I am not at all sure about what I am talking about.
Don't worry, Jed is not around. :)
 

#20
Originally posted by StreetShooter

By the way, coming back to the original thread, what is the difference between cropping when taking the shot (by positioning the camera and choice of focal length), and cropping after taking the shot? No difference to me.
There is a difference.

If you take a shot using a 35mm lens, and crop a 50mm equivalent out of it, DoF is that of a 35mm lens.

if you take that same (cropped) shot using a 50mm, you get the DoF of that 50mm lens.

Perspective in both cases should be the same, provided you don't move closer/farther away from your subject.

Regards
CK
 

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