While attending his workshop, Jay Maisel said: “If it does not add to the story then it takes away from the story. Include only what is essential in your photos.”
Jay believes in getting it right in the camera so almost all of his photos that you see are not cropped. They are as he shot them. I believe Jay is absolutely right but I lack his talent of “getting it right” in the camera. Besides that, I think that some images just look best at ratios other than the normal 3:2 or 5:4 ratios that my camera allow me to capture. So, I do crop my images to the format that I feel best suits them.
After I import the image, my first step is to crop the photo into the format that I believe shows only the things that “add to the story.”
In this photo, my subject is: the details in the flower, the starburst and the bokeh. I cropped the top, bottom and right sides of the image so that I had symmetry between the top and bottom right corners. The corners are not important however I think including about the same amount of leaf in both corners helps anchor the flower. I know some people will be bothered by me cutting off parts of the flower but do you know what it is even after I cut parts of it off and is there enough of the flower left to show-off the details in it. I believe there is. Finally, I cropped the right side of the photo so that the bottom leaf was complete.
Camera settings: Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 at 90mm, ISO 1600, f/19 at 1/60th of a second on a tripod.
Lightroom 4—see above.