Monday, September 19, 2005

Photo Cropping Possibilities

By Christina VanGinkel

The more I scrapbook, the more I crop photos. Moreover, thanks to my computer, I can crop them digitally and then print them in the size and format of my own choosing. When I think of all the old photos that I deemed not useable, or those that I would cut away parts of the background leaving what I thought was the good part, I cringe at the thought of the many that I ruined and wasted. Before my digital camera, I was terrible about saving the negatives, so if I ruined a picture, chances were that was my one and only copy unless I had originally printed doubles. I also tossed whatever parts of a photograph that I cropped, except for the main subject that I was cropping the rest of the photograph to get at.

Now, thanks to my digital camera and my computer, I can crop a picture in a hundred different orientations until I find the one I like best, and then print it as is. My choices are almost endless. Still, with all this available to me, I was overlooking one advantage of this combination of cropping and digital files. I never thought to look at the parts of a picture that were not the main subject. Consider a snapshot I took of my son last year. He is leaning against a tree in our back forty. All around him are blue sky and colorful leaves. When creating a page in my scrapbook recently, I was pouring through my background papers looking for a scrap, one that would be an ideal backdrop for a poem I had penned. Nothing fit, nothing jumped out at me as the best choice. Then I remembered the snapshot, or I should say the background.

Within minutes I had opened up the photo in my photo editor, Microsoft Picture It! Photo Premium, cropped away my son and the base of the tree, and inserted text of the poem directly onto the blue sky with the orange, red, and gold leaves as a border for the text. Perfect is the only word I can think to describe the result. It not only was the perfect background for my words, it would never be duplicated in someone else's book, as it was an original in the truest sense.

Thanks to all the advancements when it comes to our choice of cameras and computer equipment, we are only beginning to realize all the wonderful ideas we can now bring to fruition. What we once dreamed, we can now accomplish, along with some things we never dreamed at all. Whenever digital is listed in a dictionary or book, it should include the definition of 'endless possibility', as only then will we begin to understand all the wonderful options this format of photography has opened up to us, the average user. For scrapbook enthusiasts, digital photography has given us the freedom to create memories like those you will find in no one else's scrapbook but our very own. Happy Scrapping!

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