Editing your iPhone photography can turn boring, dull photos into awesome, eye-catching visuals for your small business. However, if you don’t have expert photo composition to begin with, photo editing will only get you so far. Even if your original snapped photo isn’t exceptional, you can often crop the photo to create a composition that is interesting to your viewer. In the third and final installment of our photo series, I’ll teach you some basic cropping skills to create compelling images for your brand.

If you missed the first two parts of this series, you can reread them here:

  1. How to Take Professional Looking Photos with Your iPhone
  2. Photo Editing Tips/Tools for Non-Creatives

Creating Unique Composition with Cropping

Crop Your Subject:

Don’t feel like you have to include your entire subject in the frame. Sometimes cropping off someone’s head or legs will help focus on something in the middle of the subject that the photo is meant to highlight. You can also position your subject in the corner of a photo and crop the top and bottom to create an interesting, visual effect for your audience.


cropping photos

Remove Additional Subjects with a Crop:

If your photo is overly complicated or includes unwanted background noise such as a sign in the middle of your scenery photo, a crop is a great way to get rid of unwanted photo details and hone in on what your photo is supposed to portray.

Crop Faces with Breathing Room:

If you want to get closer to a subject, it’s okay to crop closer to a face but it’s more visually appealing to crop a photo to include an interesting background and white space around the subject.

cropping photos

Avoid Cropping Off Limbs:

If you’re cropping a human subject to create a more creative visual effect, avoid cropping off hands or feet (unless it’s a close-up crop). This creates an awkward visual effect that is unappealing and distracting.

cropping photos

Use a Crop Instead of Zooming:

Zoom often changes the pixelation of your photo, reducing the image size and quality and turning your subjects into a blurry mess. If you want to get closer to a subject in your photo, try a crop instead of zooming.

Keep Cropping Consistent in a Series:

When you’re creating a series of photos, make sure you crop all of the photos in a similar fashion. For example, don’t crop one photo up close and the next far away. Keep the subject at a level horizon each time.

Play Around with the Camera Crop Tool:

The iPhone has a crop tool with different aspect ratio options that can change the composition of your photo. One of the most used crop ratios is Square, which allows you to automatically create an Instagram-friendly square size. You can also utilize common ratios such as 2:3, 3:5, 5:7 or 9:16.

Crop to Print:

If you’re printing your photo, the common ratios mentioned above will help you get the right size photo for your print. For instance, if you know you need a 4×6 photo, you can use the 4:6 ratio crop to ensure your photo prints properly.

Use Crop to Change Your Composition to Adhere the Rule of Thirds:

As mentioned in the first part of our series, How to Take Professional Looking Photos with Your iPhone, the Rule of Thirds is one of the first rules taught in photography composition. One of the techniques to the Rule of Thirds is to feature your subject off-center. If the original photo you shot doesn’t include your subject off-center, you can use a crop to change the composition of your photo to adhere to the Rule of Thirds.

cropping photos

Crop to Geometry:

If your photo has interesting visual lines or geometry such as a circle focus, use your crop tool to highlight this visual geometry and align to the shapes in your photo.

Crop to Texture or Pattern:

If you’re taking a photo of a subject with an interesting texture, consider cropping the entire image to focus on this texture or pattern. This will change the focus on a subject to a cool, visual effect. You can change something as simple as a photo of a pineapple to a focus on how visually interesting and eye-popping the pineapple’s skin is. Or windows on a building can turn into a repeating pattern like the photo below rather than a full building shot.


cropping photos

Don’t Crop Out the Horizon:

When taking scenery photos, make sure you still keep the Rule of Thirds in mind (vertically and horizontally). Don’t crop out the horizon because your photo will likely lack the depth you’re looking for.
cropping photos

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment with Cropping:

Sometimes photography is all about the creativity and visual eye of the photographer — some of the best photographers have become famous because their style is their own. If you want to crop your subject in half or try an extreme crop, do it and see how your audience responds.

With a few or many of these cropping techniques, you can take your photos from drab to dramatic right away.