To Crop Or Not To Crop, That Is The Question


While some like to present their photographs unedited or straight-out-of-camera, it turns out that a little snipping here and there can transform good images into great ones. Did you know that some of the most iconic photographs of the century are actually cropped versions of their originals? Check out the gallery below and tell us what you think!

Properly framing your shots to include vital imagery and information can result in some magnificent photographs. Sometimes, less really is more, as these powerful images have shown us. We’ve compiled some of the most recognizable pictures and put the original and cropped versions side by side for comparison.

*Tank Man*

“The most used photograph of the event was taken by Jeff Widener of the Associated Press, from a sixth floor balcony of the Beijing Hotel, about half a mile (800 meters) away from the scene. Widener was injured and suffering from flu. The image was taken using a Nikon FE2 camera through a Nikkor 400mm 5.6 ED IF lens and TC-301 teleconverter. Low on film, a friend hastily obtained a roll of Fuji 100 ASA color negative film, allowing him to make the shot. Though he was concerned that his shots were not good, his image was syndicated to a large number of newspapers around the world, and was said to have appeared on the front page of all European papers.”

The Beatles album cover artwork for *Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band*

“The Grammy Award-winning album packaging was art-directed by Robert Fraser, designed by Peter Blake and Jann Haworth, his wife and artistic partner, and photographed by Michael Cooper. It featured a colourful collage of life-sized cardboard models of famous people on the front of the album cover and lyrics printed on the back cover, the first time this had been done on a British pop LP. The Beatles themselves, in the guise of the Sgt. Pepper band, were dressed in custom-made military-style outfits made of satin dyed in day-glo colours.”

*Dali Atomicus*

“Dali Atomicus (1948) by *Philippe Halsman* in an unretouched version, showing the devices which held up the various props and missing the painting in the frame on the easel.”

*Napalm Girl*

Phan Thị Kim Phúc is a Vietnamese-Canadian best known as the child depicted in the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph taken during the Vietnam War on June 8, 1972. The iconic photo taken in Trang Bang by AP photographer Nick Ut shows her at about nine years of age running naked on a road after being severely burned on her back by a South Vietnamese napalm attack.”

*Igor Stravinsky (1946) by Arnold Newman*

“The final image, composed of a few strong, simple shapes, resulted from a severe cropping of this original negative.”

*Aretha Franklin, _Halos_, by Art Kane for Esquire Magazine (1967)*

“Wanting to highlight her strong Gospel roots, Art Kane tried waving the camera in a circular motion to try to make halo shapes from the light in Aretha’s eyes. This photo is also a rare Art Kane crop as virtually all his images are composed in full frame.”

*Guerrillero Heroico*

“Guerrillero Heroico (English: “Heroic Guerrilla Fighter”) is an iconic photo of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara wearing his black beret taken by *Alberto Korda*. It was taken on March 5, 1960, in Havana, Cuba, at a memorial service for victims of the La Coubre explosion and by the end of the 1960s turned the charismatic and controversial leader into a cultural icon. Korda has said that at the moment he shot the picture, he was drawn to Guevara’s facial expression, which showed “absolute implacability” as well as anger and pain. Years later, Korda would say that the photo showed Che’s firm and stoic character. Emphasizing the image’s ubiquitous nature and wide appeal, the Maryland Institute College of Art called the picture a symbol of the 20th century and the world’s most famous photo. Versions of it have been painted, printed, digitized, embroidered, tattooed, silk-screened, sculpted or sketched on nearly every surface imaginable, leading the Victoria and Albert Museum to say that the photo has been reproduced more than any other image in photography."

*The Decisive Moment by Henri Cartier-Bresson*

*The Million Dollar Quartet* (Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash)

*Surgeon's Photograph (1934)* (Loch Ness Monster)

Purists might prefer untouched photos, but perfectionists may choose otherwise. It’s definitely a matter of choice and taste so let us know in the comments below if you you usually crop your shots or not!

Sourced from PetaPixel’s recently published article, The Uncropped Versions of Iconic Photos.

Fuji Provia 100F 35mm is just the thing when you don’t want to be slapped around the face with saturation but equally don’t fancy understatement in your images. Provia is strong and saturated, but never overdone – even when cross processed. See the whole range of colour slides in our Shop.

written by denisesanjose on 2012-06-27 in #news #black-and-white #crop #analogue-photography #iconic #vintage #art #news #salvador-dali #cropping #the-beatles #beatles


  1. theoclunk
    theoclunk ·

    I crop sometimes, because often by doing so I can show more vividly what I originally set out to capture with a shot.

  2. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    I'm not opposed to this technique however I never cropped my photos in postproduction, but before shoting, all the example showed below are surely better in the cropped version, I liked also the uncropped version of the Tank Man picture but in this case the photo acquires a different meaning and is not easy to see the little man facing the row of tanks.

  3. mafiosa
    mafiosa ·

    Great article. Fantastic examples of the power of framing and cropping. I generally tend not to do too much cropping for photos I post on lomography, but sometimes do before printing.

  4. jliceralde
    jliceralde ·

    I'm not really comfortable with cropping a photo. I want to bwork on composing my shots properly. But that's just my personal preference. Although there are cases where in you can't avoid cropping a photo. The article on the other hand is very informative, although seeing "The decisive moment" by Henri Cartier-Bresson cropped sent chills down my spine, especially since HCB (Henri Cartier-Bresson) never cropped any of his photos.

  5. micky_s
    micky_s ·

    er, i'm pretty sure the tank man photos are two different ones....

  6. zoe191
  7. ripsta
    ripsta ·

    normally after scan i just crop the black border ,example like Guerrillero Heroico

  8. lomonesia
    lomonesia ·

    why vintage photo can be cropped?

  9. dudizm
    dudizm ·

    great article...

  10. kendralugo
    kendralugo ·

    This is something that I've wondered many times! Great article

  11. rachelleah
    rachelleah ·

    the act of capturing a photograph in the camera to film (or file) is cropping a scene & framing it in the way the photographer wants it presented to the world. Cropping in post is the same. Subjective photojournalism or not images captured are the interpretation of the moment by the photographer.

  12. iamtheju
    iamtheju ·

    I never really crop these days but if it would help the photo i would. If i was working with digital photography i would be more likely to take wide shots that would need cropping but in 35mm I try to crop as i shoot to get the best negative i can first time.

  13. schlogoat
    schlogoat ·

    Yes I try to frame ths shot as I shoot it but I don't mind a bit of cropping.

  14. smu
    smu ·

    I haven't cropped my Pics by now as I love to work on my skill and get what I intend at initial shot. Especially as I'm mostly shooting slides, where everything HAS to be right (I love to project the Pics on walls, not only to scan them). But one of my most recent films led me to think about cropping a few days ago, as the results would definitely be more what I intended to do, but I was limited by not having a close up Lens for my Bronica. With a min focal range of 1 m, I sometimes have objects or people in the back of some of my pictures that I did not really want to have on them. When you e.g. want to capture just the structure of something, you only want that structure in the picture, not also a trash bin at the left side or something like that. But you can't get closer as the picture would be blurry then... So I thought about cropping, but haven't made my mind up, as this feels strange... It is interesting to see, what you think about this technique...

  15. befaster
    befaster ·

    Great article, really enjoyed it. I tend to crop in digital (more to straighten my perspective or in portraiture to get more emphasis) and just do the full frame in film because I like to see the edges. If I was enlarging them I'd probably crop a bit I guess, but I haven't done it much before.

  16. sirio174
    sirio174 ·

    This is a great tutorial. I use crop very often. Crop is almost inevitable in street photography!

  17. iamdnierod
    iamdnierod ·

    This answered my cropping questions! Thanks for this article!

  18. dmgphotography
    dmgphotography ·

    I avoid cropping and try to frame within the viewfinder, nice and easy with a zoom lens. But sometimes crop when I've corrected 'tilted' photos.
    Have to point out though, the 'uncropped' photos of the Sgt. Pepper album sleeve isn't the same photo. For starters, it's in black and white and the Beatles aren't in their finished photo poses. Also, I'm pretty sure, from books and magazine articles, the actual photo sessions were taken on 6x6.

  19. feelux
    feelux ·

    Great article. It was worth the read! I tend to avoid cropping but I guess it's good to crop to realign. Gonna try that out next time!

  20. af-capture
    af-capture ·

    great article....I do it once in a while...but yes sometimes it enhace the message or what you had originally in your profile pic has been cropped. thanks again for the article

  21. pangmark
    pangmark ·

    Cropping? I thought it was against the rules. Quite disappointed to see the decisive moment wasn't quite original.

More Interesting Articles

  • A Bit of Boston in the Heart of Vienna

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-03-05 in #gear #lifestyle
    A Bit of Boston in the Heart of Vienna

    The brand new Lomo'Instant Boston Edition hit the shelves around the world this week. In an attempt to celebrate the home of the ol' bean and the cod, we ventured out in search of some classic Boston flair. While we couldn't find a baseball match or a proper clam chowder, we did have a blast chasing red brick walls and spicing up our photo shooting with some iconic American flavors!

  • Chasing The Sun: Oasis 1993 - 1997 Exhibition

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-05-02 in #news
    Chasing The Sun: Oasis 1993 - 1997 Exhibition

    Manchester based band Oasis rose to fame in late 1994 with their debut album "Definitely Maybe" which went straight to number one in the UK charts. They went on to have eight UK number one singles, eight number one albums and whole host of awards, dramas, fights, fall outs and new members in between. Chasing The Sun: Oasis 1993 - 1997 was the first Oasis exhibition of rare and iconic photographs, artifacts and memorabilia from the early years of the band. Some of these photos were take by Tom Sheehan who had his own exhibition at our Lomography Store East.

  • Then and Now: Peter Essick and His Fascinating Tribute to Ansel Adams

    written by cheeo on 2014-06-26 in #lifestyle
    Then and Now: Peter Essick and His Fascinating Tribute to Ansel Adams

    Legendary photographer Ansel Adams created some of the most iconic wilderness photographs in history and it’s no surprise that his work has inspired many photographers to follow suit.

  • Shop News

    Sit, Stash & Fold

    Sit, Stash & Fold

    Get both appealing LomoDices for your home! These cardboard cubes can be used for different things – they make great, stylish seats but you can also stash small items inside and fold them for storing!

  • The Analogue Quiz: What B&W Film are you?

    written by andie_sollmer on 2014-10-20 in #news
    The Analogue Quiz: What B&W Film are you?

    Did you ever think about the myth that we actually dream in Black & White? No colors, maybe no truth behind it anyways. But we know for a fact that you can create the most dreamy photographs with an analogue camera. And for that you need the right film. Scroll down and find out which B&W film is the film of your dreams!

  • Photographer Gilbert Blecken Captures Iconic Musicians on Film

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-03-02 in #people #lifestyle
    Photographer Gilbert Blecken Captures Iconic Musicians on Film

    Back in the 1990s, Gilbert Blecken was a big music fan and wrote for his own small music fanzine. He would interview bands in between sound checks and take photographs of them. He was never a professional photographer or worked for a company; he simply did it for his fanzine. Twenty years on, Gilbert’s photographs have matured into an amazing documentation of some of the biggest music icons of that era. We caught up with Gilbert to ask him about these photographs and the fascinating story behind them.

  • Spread The Buzz - Help the Bees Fight For Their Survival!

    written by shhquiet on 2014-05-28 in #news
    Spread The Buzz - Help the Bees Fight For Their Survival!

    Did you know that 1/3 of the food that we consume are generated with the help of honey bees? The sad news is that bee hives are starting to disappear, posing a threat to the ecosystem. To help raise awareness about this condition, we designed some cover- and profile photos to use on your social media accounts. You can find the download link below!

  • Shop News

    Petzval Buddies

    Petzval Buddies

    Petzval lens are designed for a Canon or Nikon SLR mounts and a selection of brass or black for each camera brand is available in our stores. And start shooting with images full of sharpness, crispness and bokeh effects!

  • Tales from the Trip: Finding the Right Way

    written by plasticpopsicle on 2014-03-31 in #world #locations
    Tales from the Trip: Finding the Right Way

    As intrepid travelers, we don't only search for an adventure or a change of scenery -- we also seek to capture fascinating moments in photographs and tell the compelling stories behind them. In this wanderlust-driven series for the Locations section, we showcase some of the most fascinating travel photos by our fellow lomographers, along with their tales from the trip.

  • Yevgeny Khaldei's Leica III to be Sold at an Auction in November

    written by chooolss on 2014-07-19 in #news
    Yevgeny Khaldei's Leica III to be Sold at an Auction in November

    What's just as good as, if not even better than, getting hold of an iconic photograph? Well, owning the actual camera that was used to take it, what else!

  • Gallery Alert: Catch Barry Feinstein’s iconic Bob Dylan photos in the UK while you still can

    written by cheeo on 2014-03-28 in #news
    Gallery Alert: Catch Barry Feinstein’s iconic Bob Dylan photos in the UK while you still can

    Barry Feinstein was a staple name in the rock n' roll photography industry during his time. His iconic photographs of music icon and legend Bob Dylan are just some of his famous images. Now, you can take a closer look at the photographer’s work and see them on prints while they are still on display in the UK.

  • Shop News

    Lomo Instant Boston

    Lomo Instant Boston

    Here is another way to enjoy analogue experience and capture great memories in an instant! This package includes the best creative lenses for your LomoInstant camera!

  • Top Tips For Krab Underwater Case and Fisheye Submarine Users

    written by shhquiet on 2014-07-10 in #lifestyle

    If it's your first time to use the Fisheye Submarine Case (with your Fisheye One/Fisheye No.2 cameras) or the Krab Underwater Housing (with your LC-A+ or LC-Wide cameras), you might still feel a liiiiittle bit anxious about taking your favorite cameras underwater. To help ease your worries I gathered some of the most helpful tips, straight from summer-lovin' Lomographers who braved the waves with their cameras!

  • Snippets and Vignettes: Old-time optical toys resurrected as outrageous GIFs

    written by cheeo on 2014-05-20 in #lifestyle
    Snippets and Vignettes: Old-time optical toys resurrected as outrageous GIFs

    Have you ever seen those old optical toys they used in the 19th century to make out-of-this-world animated illustrations for kids and kids at heart? We haven't seen them in the flesh but it’s a good thing that Richard Balzer collects them and turns them into amazing GIFs for all the world to see.

  • Tales from the Trip: People from the Lake

    written by plasticpopsicle on 2014-04-22 in #world #locations
    Tales from the Trip: People from the Lake

    As intrepid travelers, we don't only search for an adventure or a change of scenery -- we also seek to capture fascinating moments in photographs and tell the compelling stories behind them. In this wanderlust-driven series for the Locations section, we showcase some of the most fascinating travel photos by our fellow lomographers, along with their tales from the trip.