The ethics of cropping

I have submited recently a differently cropped version of this photo to, convinced that this time I might have a chance. Obviously, I was wrong. I am not there yet, and to quote Laura “2 years babe, 2 years!“. I only have like 7 months of cumulative DSLR activity, which is leaving me another 17 months until I will be able to say “You know, I might be a photographer now…“.

Anyway, I am struggling right now with the concept of cropping. Most of my pictures are not cropped (they can have a format adjusting cropping which is conceptually different) since I am trying desperately to work on my composition on site, not on computer. And because I have this ethical problem – should I crop pictures with some bad composition because I haven’t payed attention to certain elements or not? Isn’t this a way to cheat myself into believing that I am actually creating a valuable image? I strongly believe that indeed I shouldn’t crop.

…but the truth is that I am, but less and less often, and less and less from the original picture, which is a good thing. The above image is a re-re-cropped version, to make it technically ok, and it represents around 2/3 from the original image. The umbrella was in the center of the picture for example, and to the right down there was a huge amount of boring uninteresting space (thanks Bomi for pointing all these weaknesses out). So, I had to take it out and digitally recompose. Lame but true.


To be clear, I am not extending this principles to others. When I see a good photo I am never asking myself if the photographer cropped it or not. Beyond the window of my home or the screen of my computer, the only thing that matters for me is the visual quality of the picture. In fact, I am trying to extend to myself, and it is the only thing that stops me from deleting all badly composed original photographs.