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Cropping tips and tricks

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Unless you want all your headshots to look like passport photos, you sometimes need to crop into the head.

Cropping into the forehead can give a more intimate portrait and draws the viewer into the eyes – but don’t crop below the hairline. Also look out for the ears: cropping into the ears can look messy, so either include them or go in even tighter and exclude them completely.

When you create a close-up, you’re essentially trying to fit a round object in a rectangular frame, so you might find an annoying little triangular portion of the background shows in the corner, like the left image here. It’s often best to crop it out.

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Cropping Close ups

Go square

Square crops can work brilliantly for portraits with a symmetrical pose or equal space around the subject.

When you use Camera Raw’s Crop tool, right-click for common aspect ratios including a ‘1 to 1’ square crop.

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Go square.

Be daring

A daring crop can be as effective as a striking pose or expression. It lets you focus attention on certain features while eliminating others – here the eyes are even more important than usual. Try something different in your next crop!.

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Be daring.

Composition guides

The Crop tool options at the top of the screen house lots of useful settings. You can set an aspect ratio and choose a resolution, for example. You can also use handy overlays based on composition rules like the rule of thirds and the golden ratio: position points of interest on lines and intersections for stronger, more visually pleasing compositions.

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Composition guides.
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Menu Options.
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