Wondering how to crop photos - portraits specifically?\r\nHow you crop portraits makes a big difference to the feel and composition of the image.\u00a0There are some definite do\u2019s and don\u2019ts when it comes to cropping portraits.\r\nPhoto cropping rules apply whether you\u2019re cropping:\r\n\r\nIn camera (in other words, how you frame the shot) or\r\nCropping photos in post production on the computer\r\n\r\nIf you\u2019re looking for a straight forward simple rule on cropping portraits\u2026 For simplicity, the rule of thumb is not to crop across a joint.\r\n[click_to_tweet tweet="Portrait cropping rule of thumb - don't crop across a joint. #photography #croppingphotos" quote="Portrait cropping rule of thumb - don't crop across a joint."]\r\nPortrait cropping rules - the details\r\nBut there\u2019s more subtlety to cropping portraits than that. For example, what your subject is wearing can impact on where you crop the photo.\u00a0To find out about what's considered a good place to crop portraits and what's a bad portrait crop, read on. We'll cover the following portrait cropping rules:\r\n\r\nStandard portrait crops\r\nHeads\r\nTorso\r\nLimbs\r\nHands and feet\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n1. The standard portrait crops\r\nIt makes sense when we're talking about cropping portraits to list out the standard crops that we use. I'm sure you already use them, but it always helps to give a name to a thing. They are:\r\n\r\nFull length crop\r\nThree quarter crop\r\nTwo thirds crop\r\nHead and shoulders crop\r\n\r\n\r\nTo receive a cheat sheet of these cropping guides, fill in the form and I'll send it to you.\r\nSo now let's get into exactly where is considered good and not good to crop portraits.\r\n2. Cropping portraits - heads\r\nHow not to crop heads\r\nUnless you\u2019re making some sort of artistic statement, or need an extreme close up for some reason, don\u2019t crop off the sides of heads in portraits. Keep the ears in frame.\r\nLikewise chins. When you crop somebody\u2019s chin out of the shot it makes their face look heavier and without shape.\r\nIn fact, you should include a lot more than just the chin. A floating head also looks weird. So when cropping headshots, crop just below the shoulders.\r\nThe right way to crop heads in photos\r\nWhen it comes to the top of the head, you can either leave space above the head, or crop into the forehead.\r\nAgain, you need to be careful about where exactly you crop the photo.\u00a0Leave too much or too little space above the head and the framing looks uncomfortable. Ideally, when cropping headshots, aim for the eyes to be in the top third of the image.\r\nIf you crop into somebody\u2019s head, make sure that it looks intentional. In other words, don\u2019t just skim the very top of their head off. It will look like a mistake.\r\nBy all means crop into their head, but don\u2019t crop too far down. Cropping off the top of the head is personal taste, but even if you are in favour of it, there's a point where portrait cropping goes too far.\r\n3. Cropping portraits - torso\r\nI mentioned above that you can crop just below the shoulders. However, you need to be careful that it\u2019s not too far down. If you crop lower down the body, on women especially, you have to make the decision to crop either above or below the bust.\u00a0\r\nCropping portraits through the bust-line is not good.\r\nYou can crop at the waist, but not through the hip joint.\r\n\r\nThe lines in this photo show the right places to crop a portrait.\r\n4. Cropping portraits - limbs\r\nAs I mentioned at the start, the most important portrait cropping rule to remember when cropping limbs is to remember not to crop across a joint. So, no cropping at the:\r\n\r\nWrist\r\nElbow\r\nAnkle\r\nKnee\r\nHip\r\nShoulder\r\n\r\nYou can crop photos above and below the knee and elbow. Like with cropping heads though, make sure that it looks intentional, so don\u2019t crop too close to the knee or elbow.\r\nHow clothes affect portrait cropping decisions\r\nI mentioned earlier that clothes can affect portrait cropping decisions. If somebody is wearing a dress, skirt or shorts that end just above the knee, you have an additional decision to make.\r\nMost of the time it won\u2019t look good to have a sliver of leg showing below the bottom of the clothing. In these instances it would be good to crop the photo higher up the thigh, or below the knee.\r\nThe same goes with necklines on clothing and necklaces. Try not to crop through either, because it breaks the flow of the line and distracts the eye.\r\n5. Cropping portraits - hands and feet\r\nYou shouldn\u2019t crop through hands or feet either. This means that you should either include the whole hand or foot, or crop above the wrist or ankle.\u00a0\r\nDefinitely no skimming off tips of fingers or toes when cropping photos!\r\nBonus portrait cropping tip\r\nMake sure your camera is straight when you take a shot. Especially if you haven't left much space around your subject. If you then need to straighten the photo in post production, you could end up snipping off toes or even a whole foot!\r\n\r\nFurther reading: Cropping photos for maximum impact and better composition\r\n\r\nNo photographer is perfect\r\nI\u2019m sure that at some point every single one of us has cropped a photo where we\u2019re not supposed to crop.\r\nSometimes intentionally and sometimes by mistake. It doesn\u2019t necessarily mean that all of a sudden the photo is now terrible. Sometimes a photo crop that breaks the rules is more noticeable than others for some reason, which will of course have an impact.\u00a0\r\nIt just means that from a composition point of view, it\u2019s not perfect and this can be distracting, even if the viewer isn\u2019t aware of the rules of cropping portraits.\r\n\r\nFurther reading:\u00a07 portrait photography tips for better people pics\r\n\r\nLeave a comment\r\nIf you have any questions about cropping portraits, let us know in the comments.\r\nAlso, we love good news, so if our portrait cropping tips have helped you to understand how to crop photos, share that too.\r\nWill this photography tutorial help you with cropping portraits?\r\nShare the learning... pin it, post it.