I can waste a lot of time playing about with photos. It is purposeful if there is something obvious that needs fixing but often it is just idle play: ‘what does this look like, what about if I did that?’.
Cropping is particularly open ended as the overall shape and width of view can alter the subject. Sometimes a lot of background gives context, other times you need to focus on a detail. It could be you can’t decide which you like best but that doesn’t matter because you can keep both. However if you end up wishing you had taken the picture from a slightly different angle or paid more attention to all the elements in the frame, then you have a more serious problem. You might be able to go back, if you think it’s worth it, but most often you can’t. As I said play might be productive or it might not but it doesn’t matter too much, as with everything, it is the process that counts.
As the process takes time, it can’t be my fleeting pleasure. Instead it has to be one of those sudden realisations that happen during the time you are playing. In this case it is noticing something you didn’t really see when you took the photo.
Yesterday I posted a picture of a gull on the head of a statue. It was actually a crop of an already cropped picture. I did it for the post because the bird on the head was the thing that had amused me; however as a picture I prefer my initial crop, which is a wider view, showing the statue is of two dancers. Now though I have looked more closely at the detail and if I wanted to crop I would go further and concentrate on the head and shoulders. This forces you to look at the texture and weathering – something that was not at all on my mind at the time.