Cropping Choices

Almost all the photos shown here on Darker View are cropped at a 2:3 ratio. The reason for this? I like it. And perhaps I am used to this ratio. It is very traditional, having been used for many applications for decades, including the venerable 35mm photographic film.

Cropping Ratios
Common cropping ratios
A cropping ratio is simply the ratio of the dimensions in the image, height and width. if the print on the wall is 24 x 36 inches, it has a ratio of 2:3. This is calculated using the smallest common denominator… Remember that term from learning fractions in grade school? The images here on Darker View are usually 600 x 900 pixels, also a 2:3 ratio.

Any number of cameras produce images with a 2:3 ratio, including APS-C sensor DLSR’s like my Canon 60D. The ratio is by no means universal. Many cameras use a 4:3 ratio, most compacts do, including my Canon G12. Other ratios are popular, HD video is 16:9, spurring a rise in popularity of this wider format.

I have read a little about the choice in cropping, the argument regular rages in photographic circles. One article in particular got my attention, the author extolling the virtues of a square crop, a 1:1 ratio. Perhaps I am in a rut, and need to explore the use of other cropping ratios. I use 1:1 on occasion, usually for astrophotos. Perhaps I should experiment with other ratios more often.

Laurent's Hermit Crab
Laurent’s hermit crab (Calcinus laurentae) peers out from under a shell

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

One thought on “Cropping Choices”

  1. I prefer 2:3 as it’s closer to the golden ratio of 1:1.618. However I’ll usually crop ‘as shot’ as I’m sort of lazy.
    I”m also seeing 1:1 work for certain compositions, the one’s that have radial or circular balance, it does help to emphasize the subject better. Sort of like adding vignetting.
    On the other hand, most of my cropping depends on the media I’m printing on, mostly 8.5×11 or 8×10, which is close to 4:3.
    I think the larger you print, 4:3 or 1:1starts to look a little better, it’s not as ‘stretched out’ though again, depends on the picture and whether it’s vertical or horizontal.
    So many aspect ratios, so little time.

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