Follow up questions

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  James Staddon 9 hours ago.

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    blessings captured

    I have some follow-up questions from the last webinar.

    -You crop a lot. I’m always afraid to crop to much because it cuts the image resolution. I try to zoom in-camera. But sometimes I reach the limit of my zoom. Is image resolution not something I need to be as concerned about?

    -A lot of times on family vacations we are at scenic places during the middle of the day. How can I still take nice pictures despite the harsh light? Does black and white work well?

    -I have a hard time composing pictures of overlooks artistically. Do you have any tips?

    Thank you for any help!


    Logan Lamar

    @blessingscaptured I missed the webinar you’re referring to, but I did just attend Courtney Slazinik’s class called Beginner’s Guide to Vacation Photos (here’s the link for it:, and taking photos of your family on vacation in the middle of the day under harsh light was in the course!

    So, to answer question number two…
    Two basic principles that I’d give you from her class:
    1. If you’re shooting your family—as Courtney was doing with her kids—look for open shade for your subject. Clouds work great too.
    2. As hard as this may be, embrace the fact that you won’t have golden-hour light. This is what it looked like when you were there, and that’s what you’re documenting. If you’re just concerned about photographing your family at the grand canyon or wherever, this should be easier to accept than if you’re trying to shoot the landscape for the landscape’s sake.
    3. If you are trying to shoot the landscape for the landscape’s sake, I think my best advice (from me, not the class) would be to get creative with your composition. You might not have the light working for you, but you can change your angle. Don’t merely line up with all the other photographers pointing in the same direction shooting the same thing. Try a different perspective—get low, climb high, look up, look down—but be different. That will make your photo stand out from everyone else’s.

    Hope this helps!

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by  Logan Lamar.

    blessings captured

    Thank you @loganlamar for the great tips! Those are some great things to keep in mind and practice. To our eyes things look so nice, but it takes creativity to get it to look that way in a picture.


    Logan Lamar

    @blessingscaptured, just for fun, here’s a little example of what you were talking about. I got to tour Washington DC with my cousins last summer (which was really amazing!).

    We were touring the whole day, and it looks like this image was taken in the morning… but I’m not so sure about that because I think I forgot to set my camera to the right time zone (and I did, so it’s three hours behind… which puts these shots taken at around 12:30pm—hey middle of the day!).

    The first shot is probably a good example of what a lot of people get with their smartphones, but for the second shot I took a little bit of time to get a little creative. I got down on my stomach right at the edge of the pool so I had low angle. Maybe it’s not the most unique shot in the world, but I think it is better than the one I took first. 🙂

    Both shots were taken in the middle of the day.


    blessings captured

    @loganlamar that is a good example. Good composition always makes a differences!


    James Staddon

    Beginning at marker 1:16:48, I hope the webinar on Tuesday will give you some answers to your questions, @blessingscaptured!


    blessings captured

    Thank you so much @jamesstaddon! It did help me out.


    Ezra Morley

    -You crop a lot. I’m always afraid to crop to much because it cuts the image resolution. I try to zoom in-camera. But sometimes I reach the limit of my zoom. Is image resolution not something I need to be as concerned about?

    Since this is my area of interest I’d like to add a few things to what @jamesstaddon said. 🙂

    First, while it is true that you “lose detail” when cropping, you’re only losing detail in areas that you don’t want anyway. (i.e. the edges of the image.) Cropping does not affect the quality of what you keep in the least. (not on a computer screen, anyway)

    The reason it seems like you’re losing resolution is generally because the image is not truly sharp in the first place. Cropping just makes the problem worse, because you are seeing it up closer. A truly sharp image will be sharp no matter how much it is cropped. That being said, you can crop too much, of course. If you crop it down from 6000px to 1000px you probably won’t be too happy with the results even if the image is fairly sharp. That’s because we are accustomed to seeing photos at high resolutions scaled down to fit our screen, which makes them appear a lot sharper than they actually are.

    Here’s an example from some photos I took the other day… The first image is basically uncropped, except to remove a little distraction at the very edge. I sharpened it to make it look really nice when resized to 800px and shown here.

    This is the exact same photo, cropped to 800px. As you can see, it is still sharp. (except that the nose is slightly out of focus because of the narrow depth of field.)

    This brings me to the takeaway. Resolution is not all about pixel dimensions! A good sharp photo at 10 MP has more resolution than a blurry photo at 24 MP. If you can’t crop very much because your photos get blurry, that is not a megapixel problem, that’s a focus or motion blur problem. For a long time I didn’t realize this, and was shy of cropping just like you are, @blessingscaptured. For one thing, I was used to our old Canon point-n-shoot that took really blurry, grainy pictures. Once I upgraded to a DSLR, and my shooting techniques improved to where I could actually get sharp photos that were sharp even at 100% zoom, then I realized that resolution has a lot more to do with (perceived) sharpness than megapixels. I would not hesitate to print that puppy photo above at any size, because I know it’s sharp.

    Here’s my opinion; If you have a 24.0 MP camera, you do not need to worry about cropping too much, unless you’re planning on printing photos larger than 8.5×11. (Actually, even then you probably don’t have to worry. 🙂 ) You only need 3300px on the long side to print at 8.5×11. How often do you print? @blessingscaptured?

    @jamesstaddon, your example of switching photo orientation by cropping was a good one. But did you notice that the 4000px height didn’t even change when you switched orientations? It was 4000 before, and it’s 4000 after… All you did was get rid of the parts you didn’t want to see, you didn’t change the “quality” of the image. Cropping is not at all the same thing as resizing. You don’t lose quality when croppping. Period.

    Imagine with me that you have a large photo print. Now take some scissors and cut it down to 1/4 of its original size. Did you change the quality? No. You just got rid of part of the image. 🙂 That is exactly what cropping does to your digital file. The difference on a computer screen is that after you hit “Apply” it usually zooms it in to fit your screen. Therefore, the only time you “lose quality” when cropping is when you have to stretch it beyond 100% zoom in order for it to fill the screen (or photo paper). And with the advent of 4K screens, that possibility is something we will definitely have to keep in mind.

    With all that said, of course going to extremes will end in undesirable results. The most important advice @jamesstaddon gave is to try to get as close as you can in person. Don’t rely on cropping to get a good photo. There’s a quote by famous photographer Robert Capa that goes like this: “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”

    • This reply was modified 16 hours, 24 minutes ago by  Ezra Morley. Reason: added images

    James Staddon

    Thank you SO MUCH @buddingphotographer! You explained it very well!

    True, the height did not change. But the longest edge did. So, that’s sorta what I was thinking.

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