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Cropped Smile

As The Rolling Stones said (1969) “You can’t always get what you want”. What I wanted was a good, high-resolution seated portrait of Patricia. Smiles can be elusive (or forced) and this was neither. But the overall “body shape” (I refer to the image rather than the model!) was not right. But I clicked the shutter, nonetheless as I was confident that there was something within the image.

To be clear, I am not a “machine-gun photographer” who will rattle off 1000 shots in a session. (Although its not my scene, I did recently see a photographer who was proud they would provide – not just shoot but also offer to the client – over 1000 shots for a standard two-hour wedding shoot!) But I digress. The point is that I learned by art by deciding on what I wanted and shooting what I had imagined, rather than shooting many variation and then picking one that appear to fulfil requirements.

So I this case I clicked the shutter and explore the photo later. What I found was that the smile was excellent, and worthy of attention. Yes, the overall image size was reduced by 73% (approximately). But despite the cropping, the image is still big enough to display on any computer screen.

That does indirectly question what is the point of having all the top-end cameras having ever more pixels. The answer is that if you are only shooting for the computer screen and working in the amateur environment, then it is rare that you need more than 5 Meg in Raw or 1 Meg in jpg. Yes, if you zoom in you will see the difference – the pores on the skin, the detail on the hairs. But is that the point of the picture? If you are zooming in, are you not missing the intent of the photographer? I would rather my images made you want to look at the overall sensuality of the image.

And to put it in another light, yes in the days of analogy we did worry about grain and the image definition. But it was what it was and we did not obsess about it in the way some people now obsess about their pixels.

As the Stones went on to say “But if you try sometime you’ll find, you get what you need.”


Aperture: f/4

Lens: 105mm

ISO: 100