Craft · How To · Scrapbooking

Photo Cropping Tips

Since March is National Craft Month, Faith Hunter from the Scrap This Mystery Series is stopping by to give some scrapbooking tips on cropping photo that will show them off to their best advantage.

Faith’s Scrapbooking Tips

Cropping a Photo to Enhance a Page

CROPPED photo onlyWhen cropping photos, remember the purpose is to enhance the page you are working on. It’s easy to let current feelings about those in the picture to overrule design principles, but you might come to regret a hasty choice. Here are some tips to help you create the layout best suited for the story you’d like to document.

1. Focus on the story. When deciding how to crop a photo, either on the computer before printing or after printing with a paper trimmer, keep in mind what the layout is about. Make sure the image complements the story and none of the key points are accidentally trimmed out.

Keeping the background shows "bedrooms" in the cabin. The ladder is for the drop down bunk and the curtain separates to the two "sleeping" quarters.
Keeping the background shows “bedrooms” in the cabin. The ladder is for the drop down bunk and the curtain separates to the two “sleeping” quarters.

2. Keep details to show time and place. Sometimes we view all background objects as distractions instead of a piece of history. Make sure some of the photos in your books show houses, cars, landscaping, and other items that represent the time the photo was taken. What looks like background clutter today could one day bring back fond memories and conversation of “remember when cell phone looked like bricks” and “so that’s what a Hummer looked like.”

3. Trim the excess a smidge at a time. If you’re not sure how much “white space” you want around the focal point of your picture, use your trimmer to cut off small strips. You always have the option of cutting off a little more, but not in adding parts of the photos back on. Unless of course you have a printer for photos at home or with you at the crop then experiment with your cropping because you can always print out another picture.

4. Mask photos to give them shape. Sometimes, we’d like to have photos in shapes other than a square or rectangle. Instead of cropping your photos into shapes, make a mask using a template or cutting an image using a die cutting machine (Cricut, Silhouette, etc). Place the mask over your photo to give it the desired shape. This way, the original photo is intact in case you decide later that photos cut into the shape of dinosaurs or favorite cartoon characters aren’t appealing any longer.

Megan and snow 1Megan and Snow 2








5. Work from a larger image. There’s no rule that you have to use the focal point of the photo on your page. Don’t be afraid to enlarge a picture to 5×7 or 8×10 in order to crop out the section of the photo you’d like to use. Sometimes the main focus of the photograph isn’t the part of the image that speaks to us but is too small to use the traditional 4×6 size. If the story is best told or enhanced by using the silly face your child or significant other is making over the subject’s shoulder, use that part of the picture.

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