Photo Tip – Remember To Try New Crop Sizes

Photography Tip – Thinking outside of the rectangular box.

Cropping can be such a powerful way to add dimension to your compositions. Most cameras today have a 2:3 ratio and we are so used to seeing everything in this typical 2:3 rectangle. We did a post a little while back on Reasons to crop your images square and today I want to talk a little about cropping into a long panoramic format.

One thing that I love to do at weddings is to create a portrait of the bride and groom set against the wide open landscape where they are getting married at, and crop it to look like a wide panoramic shot. I’ll shoot the image with a wide lens (normally a 24mm) but move far back to give myself lots of room to crop. Including a sweeping landscape into the portrait and cropping the image to be a non-standard size is a good way of capturing your readers attention. Look for things like pathways or other leading lines to incorporate into the composition. Also since your subject is going to be fairly small in the shot and not the full focus of the image they don’t need to be posing in a traditional sense. Sometimes I will have them kissing or I also like to have them walking through the scene. To me it feels much more like a still from a movie scene.

Leave some extra room around the shot and get a few that are wider than normal if you want to crop a different size image. In this image there was a lot more to the original photo but I knew I wanted to crop it into a really wide and dramatic panoramic shot. I loved the background scenery, the beautiful coastline and the Ritz Carlton hotel in the background and cropping this into a panoramic image really made the composition much more powerful.

cropping photography

This can also work well with a close up portrait. Having your main subject to the side of the frame with lots of empty space to the side can create a powerful composition. With these I am doing a free form crop not fixing the proportions to any exact size so I can always fit the crop to best take advantage of that image.

panoramic crop portrait

If you haven’t tried this out before, try it out now! Go through some of your older portraits and envision a few that might work well cropped into a pano size. Let me know how it goes would love to hear.

Do you like to shoot and crop to a panoramic style wide image? Leave a comment below or post an image to our Facebook wall at

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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  1. Hey just a question, is that a petal lens hood on the right bottom of the last picture?

  2. Yep good eye 🙂 A quick clone tool for this will do the trick.


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