Ok, I thought I’d give back what I’ve learned since so many people on the Internet have helped me out! If you already know this and I’m the only one who just figured it out recently, then I’ll slap myself silly and call it a day LOL.
Today, I’d like to show you how to get the most in terms of pixels on your subject, without cropping or enlarging the actual subject. We all know that when you crop an image, you lose pixels, when you enlarge, you may get blur depending on the software you use. I use Photoshop CS and CS4 (recently got).
Let’s take this picture as an example.
It’s a nice tight shot taken vertically with some white space all around her. I have learned to frame my subjects like this and ensure I have space all around, because later I can have more options to work with.
Now with that image, all you can pretty much do is print vertically, which is ok. Now let’s say you wanted to achieve the same shot but framer her to the right, like 1/3 of the picture for an interesting composition. With you camera, you would turn it sideways and have to “zoom out” to fit her in the right or left side and have all that white space on either side. Now, it will be a great image, except now your subject has gotten much smaller in terms of the overall portrait. Get it? You got that shot, but you had to lose out on the size of the subject. So if you cropped or enlarged, you would lose out a bit on pixels and maximum enlargement size.
Well I just learned that the crop tool, ain’t just for cropping in photoshop, well at least just not for cropping “down”. What I’m about to show you will work mostly on solid white or black backdrops, with very little effort, since colors will match perfectly. You can do it with other shades of white, but you will have some cloning, dodging or burning to do.
I opened Kaylie’s picture, the one I took vertically against a solid white backdrop that was overexposed. In photoshop, I took the crop tool and dragged it over the entire photo. Then instead of dragging one side in to crop it smaller, i dragged it “out”, making my canvas larger! Before doing this, i made sure my swatch color was white. After I expanded the crop to one side, I hit enter. This made the canvas size larger and filled it in with the white color from my swatch! Really in like less than 2 minutes! Now you see the same image with Kaylie on the right and all this white space on the left, looking as if I shot it this way. But, you will notice now that it is landscape and Kaylie’s body size remains the same, so we have not lost any pixels on her.
So now we have an image that works either in portrait or landscape printing! You can also do this in case you wanted a subject centered, etc. You can also do this by increasing canvas size, etc, but this is quick and super easy! This works great if you shoot musicians or anything that later may require that extra white space for words for a poster or CD cover, etc.
Please note that this image wasn’t completely white, so I did some cloning in the final image. But you will get the point I’m trying to make in this tutorial.
Let me know if you have any questions!