You may not need to use the entire image in a photograph. You should know
how to select portions of or scale photographs inside and outside the
Cropping is the procedure of defining a desired image area within a larger
image area. Crop photographs when the original image contains more
information than desired and select a specific portion of the image to enhance
the finished print. Photographs may be cropped in the darkroom or outside
of the darkroom.
Cropping in the
To crop photographs in the darkroom requires a negative. The negative is
necessary to project and enlarge the image before exposure to paper. Place
the negative in the enlarger and raise the enlarger head until the selected
portion of the image appears in the desired size on the print frame. Turn off
the light in the enlarger, place the print paper in the print frame, and expose.
The developed print will be cropped as you desired. One of the advantages
of cropping in the darkroom is less paper waste. A disadvantage of cropping
in the darkroom is that by increasing the image in the enlarger, grain also
increases in the print and lessens resolution.
outside of the
If you have been given prints to work with instead of negatives, you may
have to crop images outside of the darkroom. A simple method of cropping
involves two pieces of white cardstock, each cut in an L shape. By
maneuvering these two pieces of angled paper, called cropping arms, you
may frame the desired portion of the image in many ways. If possible,
mount photographs on cardstock. Place the cropping arms on the image and
move them until you have framed the desired portion. Indicate crop marks
on the cardstock border.
Indicate crop marks on photographs by lightly marking the borders around
the photograph, marking an overlay attached to the print, or cutting a
window in opaque masking paper to expose the desired portion of the print.
If you must mark on photographs, use a grease pencil so that the marks may
be easily removed. Do not mark more than one set of crop marks on an
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