Skip to main content

Mastering Photographic Composition and Visual Storytelling

Lesson 21 of 50

Post Capture Cropping


Mastering Photographic Composition and Visual Storytelling

Lesson 21 of 50

Post Capture Cropping


Lesson Info

Post Capture Cropping

the question of whether it's OK to crop it image after it's been taken is one of those thorny issues that never fails the warmer debate. And there are people on both sides of the fence, famously on re Cartier breast on wasn't a fan, he's quoted as saying. To crop, a good photograph kills its composition while cropping. A poor photograph rarely saves it now, putting aside the fact that one of Cartier Bresson's most famous images was cropped on the whole, I agree with him. I always aim to get the best composition in camera. At the same time, though, I don't think self expression, which, after all is the main purpose of photography should be constrained by the camera. For example, I regularly taken image shot in a standard format ratio of free to two and crop it into a square or panoramic. Because the composition calls for it, the camera should serve us, and now art, not the other way around. And just because an engineer in Japan or Germany decided to standardize on a particular size and ...

shape doesn't mean we should be constrained by it. In fact, some cameras today give the option of changing image format in the menu settings on. There are also legitimate reasons for framing a good composition within the confines of your viewfinder and then, because of practical limitations, cropping extraneous space afterwards. This is something ideal with all the time in wildlife photography, where getting too close to an animal might disturb it. Basically, my view is this. So long as you're not compromising the integrity of the original composition, where's the harm? The principal consideration again is intent. Quality considerations aside, out of camera cropping is perfectly legitimate if the intent was there and accounted for when you composed the image in the first place.

Class Description



  • Compose a shot consistently and effectively
  • Create artistic, powerful images quickly
  • Gain confidence in building narrative
  • Identify what stories you’re drawn to photograph
  • Brainstorm and develop concepts for creative shots
  • Trust your instincts when approaching a subject


CreativeLive is partnering with Chris Weston to offer you his Complete Photography Master Course. This is the second class in the series.

Today, everybody has a camera, but that doesn’t mean everyone’s a photographer. Chris Weston will show you how to do all the other stuff – how to “see” an image, tap into your creativity, and compose a photograph that makes the subject look as good in print as it does in real life.

This class isn’t about cameras, it’s about you – the photographer. It will break free your creative mind, get you thinking about narrative rather than object, and show you how to apply simple artistic skills that turn that next click into a powerful photograph.

Learn how to approach photography like a pro and start creating great pictures straight away. With in-the-field lessons, case studies and powerful tips and techniques, you’ll quickly unleash your creativity and gain confidence in expressing yourself through your camera.


  • Beginner photographers
  • First time DSLR or mirrorless camera users
  • Any photographer who wants to hone their artistic skills


Named one of the world's most influential wildlife photographers, Chris Weston takes a contemporary approach to photography. After launching his career in 2001, the Fujifilm ambassador's images have graced the pages of top publications like BBC, The Times, Outdoor Photography, Practical Photography, and Digital Photography. As a photography educator, Chris has written over 20 photography books, along with leading photo tours and online workshops.


Silvia Garcia

Excellent ! Will see it many times to digest all the messages here. Important info on composition theory. Very well explained. Go to the essence of photography. Thanks, Chris !

a Creativelive Student

Absolute must to watch! Perhaps few times, as is packed with all the information you need to know to make your photography to the next level. I think it is the most comprehensive class on composition. Fantastic!


fabulous course no matter how advanced you are.. LEarned so much from it. I'll watch it again as it contains so much.