Ann's Cropping Tutorial
Have you ever ordered pictures and waited in anticipation for them to be printed and arrive, thinking that everyone is going to love them? And maybe even give you a pat on the back for doing such a good job?
The big day arrives and you open your envelope with much glee, then you look with horror at the first photo and think, "huh? I don't remember chopping off Grandma's head! Hmm, maybe I did. I'll have to check the original to make sure".
You continue thumbing through the rest of your photos and again you're taken aback with what you see, "What in the world! I know I didn't take that many bad pictures".
Do you know what happened? Obviously not. I will explain in plain and simple terms. Sometimes the original shot doesn't "fit" into the new size you've asked for, so the photo lab's machine automatically trims some off along the sides. It's called a "crop". Some of you may know what that means. Speaking from experience, I know many people who haven't a clue what you're talking about. They're just not familiar with that term.
After talking about photos with a person I know who is very wise and an amazing 'human calculator' (in other words, a smart person in many other areas), I asked them if they knew what a crop was. They asked, "You mean like a crop of corn?" I asked, "If I told you to fit an 8"x10" photo into an album that was 7 1/2" x 10", what would you do?" They said, "Oh, I'd have to trim a little off the top (or bottom) so it will fit." I explained that it was the same as "cropping" and they said, "Why didn't you say so in the first place?"
In photography we use the term "crop" instead of "trim". So when you see the word "crop" in SmugMug's shopping cart, it's referring to your photo getting trimmed. And that is where a lot of people unknowingly "mess up". They don't realize that the photo isn't going to fit exactly in the size they've chosen, and it automatically gets trimmed (cropped), resulting in heads, feet, brides, etc., getting chopped off and many confused and angry customers.
Ok, let's start.
All text in blue and red arrows were added by me.
After you click the "buy" button to purchase a photo, you will be taken to your shopping cart, as in the sample below (Photo A). See the colored button that says "Auto" (right arrow)? That means it's set automatically. If there's any trimming to be done on the size you have chosen, everything outside the box gets trimmed off (see red arrows pointing left to edges of white box).
But wait, you say? You notice from the sample photo below that if it trims a little off the top and a little off the bottom it's going to cut too close to the butterfly's wing (could end up being Grandma's head!). Click on the "Adjust" button (2 buttons to right of blue "Auto" button) and go to Step 1.
To the right of the photo in the shopping cart (see photo A above) it reads "Adjust the crop for a better fit. See how." But many people haven't a clue what that means, ignore it, then click the "Checkout" button thinking they're done.
you click on the "Adjust" button the photo will pop up for you
to make your changes, just like you see in the example below (Photo
A1). See the blurry parts at the top and bottom of the
photo? Those are what get trimmed off. The cropping box is
automatically centered on the photo and that's why you see even spaces
at the top and bottom.
If you don't like the arrangement of the photo inside the box (see photo A2 below), then click on the 'crop box' (see red arrow in photo below) and move it up or down to get the arrangement you like. In the example below I moved the box all the way up to center the butterfly better and now what gets trimmed (cropped) off the bottom won't be missed.
By the way...don't worry, the photo will not have the lines or name going through it. The lines are just there to help if you want to get better results with your composition. And the photographer has their watermark there only when photo is being viewed.
At this point if you're happy with it you can click on the "Save Crop" button and move on to Step 5. If you're not happy with your arrangement and think you'd like a vertical shot, then click on the "Rotate Crop" button and go on to Step 3.
After clicking on the "Rotate Crop" button, the viewing box will change like the example below (Photo A3), giving you a rotated (turned right or left) crop box. Remember, each time you change it from horizontal to vertical (or vice versa), the crop box will be automatically placed in the center of the photo. Go on to Step 4.
Remember the lines? Well, if you click on the "Hide Grid" button they will go away (see Photo A4 below). You can always get them back by clicking on the button again, which will now say "Show Grid".
If you want to enlarge the butterfly just a bit, click on and move one of the corners in or up a little. That will make the box smaller. Click on the box itself and move it around until you get an arrangement you like. Remember, only what is inside that crop box is what will be printed. Your friends and family will think you're a pro! When you're satisfied with the arrangement of your photo, click "Save Crop". Go to Step 5.
After clicking on the "Save Crop" button you will be taken to the shopping cart. It will show you the photo(s) you've chosen and trimmed (see photo A5 below). You can see in the sample below that there is nothing left at the top of the butterfly box. You can still go back and change the crop if need be.
You'll also see the name of the file you chose, as well as which photographer's web page you ordered it from. Click the "Checkout" button and pay for your order.
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And thank you for stopping in and reading my tutorial.
I hope it all makes sense.
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