View Full Version : Critique on Cropping and Closeups

07-19-2007, 10:04 AM
I shoot a lot of macro, especially bugs... and I would like to be able to produce some shots that are super-close up (not all my shots that way, because I think showing the whole bug is more appealing in many cases) but I have seen some work where the shot is zoomed way in on a bugs eye or certain angle to a bug and I think it looks really cool...

To me, this can be accomplished in a couple ways.... 1) use equipment to get closer (I already have Nikon's 105mm and 200mm macro lenses... I also have a set of macro tubes and recently picked up a couple macro rings) so I have the equipment to do this and I have tried on a few occasions, but the problem I'm having is I like to shoot bugs in their natural environment and bugs are constantly moving, so I've always hand held all my shots and stalk the bugs, crouching and sneaking up on them whatever I can do to get my shots... setting up my equipment to get a lot more than 2:1+ closeness is real hard to do handheld, and its pretty hard to stalk bugs and use a tripod... I know one alternative is to capture bugs and shoot them in a "caged" situation - but I'm really not interested in that.... and another alternative is to become stationary, use the tripod... and wait for a bug to come to me (boring, and I don't have the patience for it LOL)....

Soo... another option I'm thinking is to crop closer, but then the quality and sharpness of the shot has to be REALLY high... whenever I try to crop closer I feel like it's loss of quality and it bothers me, so I usually dont... but I'm thinking it might be my only alternative (until Nikon comes out with the equivalent of the Canon's 5X macro lens anyway :Hammer LOL)....

So... my point for this whole thread... is to ask for opinions / critique on the shot below and loss of quality when cropping super close.... this shot is one I took over the weekend... it's probably not one of my very very best shots, but I think it's pretty representative of the quality of a lot of my decent macro shots, so I chose it for the example... Fly eyes are really interesting to me and it's the kind of subject I would like to get super-close...

I keep looking at the original shot and comparing, and seeing loss of quality... but I know I am a picky perfectionist who can't be objective about her own work :doh so I would really like some honest opinions on loss of quality, how the shot compares when cropped even closer, if you judge the shot purely by itself without comparing the 2 what would you think, etc...



07-19-2007, 10:15 AM
To be honest I like the 2nd one better. As a whole, it's not a shot of a flower with a fly on it. It's a shot of the fly itself. The 2nd shot gives the detail of the fly - especially his eyes. That's the one.

07-19-2007, 11:36 AM
definitly enjoy both shots, but #2 is my favorite. I see no problem with cropping to achieve the desired effect.

07-19-2007, 12:48 PM
I like the second one better too. They both look great though.

07-19-2007, 01:00 PM
#2 rocks for me..

As for your Macro Theory, do you use a Mono pod to shoot insects with? Or is EVERYTHING you shoot all free hand?

As for the loss, I see the 1st shot the exact same way the lens is focused only on the fly. So to crop the shot to the fly only is perfectly good, as there really is no big detail feature other than the fly.

Very good shots as usual Trish..

As a project, possible idea.. Could YOU shoot some insect, and tell the setup of the shot, while Ross shoot YOU shooting the insect, to see the distance and how you setup those shots??

I apparently have no tact with insects, and I can never get good crisp shots with my 50mm or 105mm Macro's..


07-19-2007, 01:35 PM
i like #1 better... why? because you can see the whole fly! the second shot is good and it looks nice but the crop bothers me, it looks like you just framed it bad.. i know youll lose part of the fly during cropping but it just looks like it wasnt framed correctly during the shoot. now go write

"I will not crop my macros anymore" 50 times on the Board.

07-19-2007, 03:09 PM
I really like the 2nd one and to be honest I don't see any loss of quality between the 2, if there is any it's not noticable on monitor. Have you tried using a mono-pod or for that matter a table top tripod, you wouldn't have to open the legs just use it like a mono-pod, they both would be more portable/faster than a full tripod, and yet give you some support, just a thought.

07-20-2007, 08:12 AM

I think both work... but in different ways... it depends on if you want to do the macro shot to draw attention to the fly... or the fly and its environment... my personal opinion is that I like #1 for its overall quality and #2 for its technical aspects... (I know they are the same shot... but changing the crop changes the shot)..

I dont believe (because technically its true) that when you crop the shot and bring it up you are going to lose quality... its inherent to photography... I think because your focus is on the flies eyes... it works in this instance... but if you take in the whole second crop the body has taken on a softness to it that makes the eyes almost "feel" they are also soft...even though when you do just focus on the eyes they arent...

I would say that using a platform (such as a monopod) will allow you to get better croppable shots since macro is so precise any little shift at 200mm @ >1:1 can create a slight blur... even in the most steady hands... I know that using a monopod wont work in all situations because of time on target... but if you resize it to the height you feel you will mostly shoot at, you can use that as a default... and then just handhold the rest with the monopod still attached...

07-22-2007, 12:42 AM
I agree with Ross's opinion pretty much. But other than the crop I think it would look better with the yellow specs removed from it's eye. But I would be right proud of myself if I could take a shot like this.