I'm not a professional photographer. Neither I want to pursue a career in same. But I like Photography as a hobby. But I don't know how should I crop, what area should be excluded, how to make composition better (by cropping), once photo is taken.

Here's the photo:

enter image description here How can I crop and which areas should be excluded and what would be logic behind them?

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    Your edit would be better as a separate question [though it may have already been covered on this site]. "Moral", cynically, is 'what you can get away with until public pressure forces you to change'. See recent developments in whether 'supermodels' should be quite so airbrushed/photoshopped as they used to be. I don't think the same moral pressure would be shown towards an airbrushed leaf ;-) You shoot what you can get; you fix the rest in post. Why own a horse & walk? – Tetsujin Aug 2 '19 at 14:44
  • @Tetsujin I guess you know about Shutterstock and Adobe Stock. Do people do such fixes in their photos (of course not all of them) before submitting? Or are they natural? – Vikas Aug 2 '19 at 14:52
  • yes, please make that a separate question – mattdm Aug 2 '19 at 14:52
  • @mattdm thanks, I will. Any possibility it already exists? – Vikas Aug 2 '19 at 14:54
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    Well, maybe photo.stackexchange.com/questions/26409/…? – mattdm Aug 2 '19 at 14:55

To avoid having to crop it quite so hard as xenoid's example, I tried this...

I healed out the worst culprits - the grey at the bottom of the wall & the post near the centre. I could have done more with the black panel & post towards the left but I was just doing a rough job as an example.

enter image description here

Then isolated the subject by blurring the background.
That let me crop far less harshly.

enter image description here

It's not perfect, but it took less than 5 minutes.

As regards the logic behind my choice - firstly to remove the worst distractions; the pillar/doorway hard left & the ugly grey buildings in background, which there's nothing you could do with except crop out. Then the grey stripe [gutter, pipe?]
I did, however, leave a hint of the shape contrast between the two opposing diagonals - the wall & the leaf, which I kind of liked once it became overall less distracting.
That X-shape could work. Had the lines in the wall been cleaner, I wouldn't even have blurred it out.

The more I looked at it after I'd posted it, I decided I'd punch a bit of colour into it too... [this from the last jpg as I'd already thrown the project away]
I also recropped at a slightly different aspect ratio, which I think pulls attention to the foreground better.

I reposted the original below so you can quickly A/B.

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • Thank you! That helps. Would you mind checking my edit? – Vikas Aug 2 '19 at 14:39
  • what blur you used BTW? I just moved the leaf after selecting it in a new layer as a copy. When I blurred the layer below, their is some glow of leaf, which makes it bad. – Vikas Aug 2 '19 at 14:59
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    There is, lens blur emulates the effect you get on lens blades, though at this resolution & with little specularity in the background, you'd be hard-pressed to spot the difference. I chose it "because we're doing photos" rather than any real artistic reason. – Tetsujin Aug 2 '19 at 15:21
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    This is frankly brilliant. When I read/saw the question I wasn't, frankly, hopeful. But this lets the quite reasonable photograph of the leaf and water beads pop, while turning the background into something the imagination fills in. (I think you're right you'd want to deal with that B&W above and left of the leaf; my imagination fills in that B&W as a cow. ;-) ) – T.J. Crowder Aug 2 '19 at 18:21
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    @T.J.Crowder - Thank you. I do think sometimes there's a difference in approach between, 'should I grab another shot with xyz attribute, while I'm here', vs. 'this is all I have, what can I do to make it better'. You wouldn't shoot A to generate B, but if A is all you came home with... [btw, if your mind drew in a cow, who am I to tell you there isn't really a cow there ;) – Tetsujin Aug 2 '19 at 18:30

The background

  • is uninteresting
  • includes features that distract

so I would crop the picture to completely remove it:

enter image description here

I would have kept the background if:

  • it was pretty (garden, etc...)
  • the subject was a flashy flower (to show the contrast)
  • The thing is this pic is taken from phone. Not so HD :D Would you still crop it like this? – Vikas Aug 2 '19 at 10:56
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    With only a crop, definitively. Otherwise, cut out the leaf and transplant it in a better background. One thing I learned doing photography is to never become so obsessed with the subject that you lose sight of the background. – xenoid Aug 2 '19 at 11:55
  • Kindly check my edit :) – Vikas Aug 2 '19 at 14:39

It is generally accepted that their are no rules in art. In art you are free to follow your heart.


The main problem with your background is that it is much too distinctive for having no thematic relevance to the foreground of the image. If you are not into computational blurring, you need either a far longer lens or a far wider aperture, or both.

Also your preexisting framing leaves absolutely no leeway for creating a useful crop based on the entirety of the leaf since that leaves you with no sensible aspect ratio.

This looks like a wide angle macro shot from the perspective: those work better when you have a scenic background.

  • What is longer lens? – Vikas Aug 2 '19 at 14:35
  • @Vikas A longer lens refers to a longer focal length. I think some of the newer phones have some zoom capability. You can also buy clip-on lenses that go over the lens on the phone to give a longer focal length. They give a narrower field of view and blur the background more. – Ross Millikan Aug 2 '19 at 18:00
  • Longer lens = Smaller depth of field = smaller aperture? – Vikas Aug 2 '19 at 18:34
  • Yes. Longer lens, even though it will by necessity have a smaller aperture will actually have a shallower DoF. You can get lenses that don't reduce the aperture as they zoom, but they start around two grand ;) I don't think anyone will make something like that for a phone, though, they'll be fixed length adaptors. – Tetsujin Aug 3 '19 at 8:46

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