Graphics For Bloggers [#7] - Creative Cropping

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creative cropping example

Photography is something that we want to leverage in our blogging and presentation work for our business. Do you carry your camera with you wherever you go? Do you let photo ops pass you by because you weren't prepared to capture the moment?

Having imagery in our our blogs makes our posts much more interesting! Can you imagine a magazine where every page was only words. Do you think you would subscribe?

Before we take a photo, we should give some thought to the composition. Do you use the rule of thirds? Do you move about the scene a little looking for the best angle and lighting? You should. A few moments of prep can go a long ways! However, sometimes you have to snap a shot quickly before a key moment is past (hint: photography of children or pets!)

Also sometimes when we take a shot, there is something in the frame we somehow overlooked and we see it later when reviewing the photo shoot. The photo would be so much better, "if only that part was cut off." Well, post-production is a wonderful thing. Working digitally as we do these days, it is easier than ever. Are you looking at your photos and asking yourself, would a few seconds with the crop tool make this photo better?

Take a look at the photo below. We were on a boat and passing by the lighthouse. I didn't have much time to compose the shot, so I just took it -- knowing I could work on it after for a better composition.

Every photo editing app will have a crop tool and it is very easy to use. You can simply modify a bounding box that defines how you want to cut down your photo. In Picasa and in Picnik, you will find the crop tool under the Basic Fixes/Basic Edits tab. (both excellent photo apps are free BTW)

Another type of crop, besides the typical rectangular shape, is a square crop. When we are creating images to add to our blog posts, the square crop is especially interesting because once we put it in, there is plenty of room that we can put text along side it. This is what we call "floating" a graphic when we wrap text around it. You can see what I mean if you look at the top graphic in this post.

So that hopefully gives you some ideas for the next time you are looking at graphics to put into your blog posts! If you are interested to learn more about graphics, read about my upcoming online course "Graphics For Bloggers 101" (to be released later in November). I am now about halfway through in preparing the recordings!

This is part 7 in my series of articles "Graphics For Bloggers" -
you can see that link for the other articles in the series

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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Pat Laracy Baker 11/13/2011 01:44 AM
  2. Pacita Dimacali 11/25/2011 07:38 PM
  3. Mary Macy 11/27/2011 03:27 PM
Real Estate Technology & Tools
Active Rain Newbies
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Tips and Techniques for Better Real Estate Photography
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graphics for bloggers

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Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Craig,  Another terrific post and helpful hints.  So many bad pics out there, so little time !

Nov 13, 2011 06:29 AM #66
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

Benjamins - glad that you liked the post - glad to see you

Lisa - I love to help others learn new things - functional and practical, glad to hear it! :)

Mary - photoshop of course is terrific if you have it - a bit of an expense so the alternates when free are very welcome to go to! glad to see you :)

Michael - a little bit of knowledge about ROTs can make such a huge difference - sometimes in the crop we can get the composition better than when we snapped it - good to see you

Bill - hopefully us ARs in sharing our knowledge and talking about these things help decrease the number of bad pics because we know a little more about doing better - at least on our blogs we can set the bar higher than others - thanks for visiting :)

Nov 13, 2011 06:31 AM #67
Barbara Altieri
Kinard Realty Group Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Craig -- Cropping is such a useful tool as we cannot always plan the picture perfectly before taking the shot.  I only just started using picnik and love it. Am an old Photoshop user and I can do what I want much more quickly in picnik than PS.  Thanks for your sharing your knowledge and tips.

Nov 13, 2011 06:35 AM #68
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Craig, cropping your pictures could make all the difference of being able to use them in the first place. Thanks for the tutorial.

Nov 13, 2011 10:08 AM #69
Heather Anderson
214-317-1964- - Allen, TX
Real Estate Concierges

I realy appreciate your simplicity of explanation and useful information.  A picture really is worth a 1000 words.  thanks!


Nov 13, 2011 10:56 AM #70
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

Hi Craig: My 2 favorite photo apps, picasa and picnik... great suggestions and I especially like the square photo idea. I like the changes picnik made lately and the way they seperated out sharpen with clarity from the exposure tool. A lot of my blog photos are taken with my Blackberry, so no time for fancy placement or studying the shot. But I know if I just get everything I want in the shot and I'm paying attention to where the light is coming from, I'll be okay. Great post, thanks. 

Nov 13, 2011 11:26 AM #71
Justin Dibbs
Pearson Smith Realty - Ashburn, VA
REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale

Great post as usual!  I love your tips, keep 'em coming!

Nov 13, 2011 11:47 AM #72
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

Barbara - yes PS is a very sophisticated tools and most often we find ourselves needed a limited sets of basic edits - these free apps make it very easy to do some very useful edits - good to see you :)

Eric - it can make the difference between use and no use - very true - glad you visited :)

Heather - as I teach I strive to reach those goals - so glad to hear it, thank you!

Rene - it is great to have a camera on our phones, camera with us to shoot anytime! I'm just not happy at all with my BB quality pix, can't wait for the next phone!

Justin - so glad to hear it, thanks so much

Valerie - yes, I emphasize that too, save a copy (preserve the original) - naming the copy helps us to find it when we are ready to upload - glad to see you, thx

Nov 14, 2011 02:36 AM #74
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Craig, I usually use iPhoto because its editing features are so good, but love using Picnik for adding text and special effects :) As always, so helpful.


Nov 14, 2011 03:19 PM #75
Kenneth Cole
Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, - Staten Island, NY
NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

Looking forward to the course.  Just got back from a visit to Walt Disney World and have a ton of pictures that I want to use in blogs.

Nov 20, 2011 04:25 AM #76
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

I love ALL of your blog posts and just need more time to read and implement them all! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!

Nov 21, 2011 03:28 AM #77
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

hi Craig -- what a helpful blog post from the Master!  I crop photos quite a bit, but didn't know about the "square" crop so thanks for sharing that great info with us.  I'll give it a try!

Nov 21, 2011 02:59 PM #78
Michael S. Bolton
Michael S. Bolton,Inc. - Zimmerman, MN
MN Appraiser

Hi Craig, great tip. I crop my photos a lot, it's just the learning what and where to crop that I need practice with. Thanks for sharing, "I'll be back!"

Have a Great Weekend!


Nov 25, 2011 10:20 PM #79
Anne M. Costello
Weidel Realtors - Yardley, PA

Craig: Great post which I apparently missed. Thanks to Pacita for reblogging. Looking forward the the course. We need to catch up. I am laying low (as much as possible) this holiday weekend, but hope to catch up with you next week.

Nov 25, 2011 10:34 PM #80
Bill & Cyndi Daves
Hiawassee, Young Harris, Blairsville, Hayesville, Murphy and Beyond! - Hiawassee, GA
TeamDAVES - Your REALTORS In the GA/NC Mountains!

Craig - The camera is NEVER far away and I'm always ready to snap something interesting.  Poor Bill almost can sense when I'm about to burst out with "stop - I need to take a picture" when we're driving down the road.

So, what DID you do with the man on the beach??


Nov 30, 2011 02:26 AM #81
Steve and Jan Bachman
RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax - Herndon, VA
Realtors - Northern Virginia

Ha! You are a good man Craig. you almost responded to everyone. AND yes cropping can bring ho hum photos to life as can making them black and white. I have frequently salvaged my boring shots by cropping to a stong structure and making it black and white in Picasa or other editor.

Dec 06, 2011 09:05 AM #82
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

Sharon - someday I'll get some time on a mac with iphoto to compare notes - once you know the command, different apps all get you to the same goal

Ken - you have good pics to share - class wrapping up soon - big task to record these -just two more to go

Barb - thanks for the kind words, makes me glad to blog to help out

Maureen - cool, glad I gave you a new thought

Michael - it takes a little thought at first, then it comes more naturally - thanks

Anne - very glad Pacita reblogged, look forward to our next call

Cyndi - i'm the same way, STOP, and click, it's fun - the man on the beach got his 15 minutes of fame, we were on a boat, I only saw him in post production

Steve - whew, when you get to #84 your fingers get sore, thanks for calling to my attention I had let a few comments go 'unanswered' (though EVERY comment appreciated as soon as I see it) :)

Dec 06, 2011 12:26 PM #83
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Surprisingly, I already knew how to do this. There are other things I still struggle with. I will have to check out your other posts to see what else I can learn.

Dec 07, 2011 08:00 AM #84
Emily Medvec
eXp Realty LLC - Santa Fe, NM
Realtor | Serving Santa Fe & Northern NM

Craig, you are a treasured resource and reminder of so many new tools and basic practices. A cropped image is worth more than a thousand words especially if it makes the viewer/reader see differently.

Dec 11, 2011 02:37 AM #85
Reno, NV

I use "cropping" all the time......too much sky, water, sand. etc. Now I am photographing my hand-knit hats, and cropping the background to capture the hat, increasing the size of the hat to show the stitching detail. My new home based business: Pahaska Hand-Knit Hats Co.  I am building the website this month myself and having so much fun doing it.  Here's a preview of one of my hats:

Jan 11, 2012 03:01 PM #86
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