Have You Discovered Cropping?

As I have been posting the 600+ photos that I took on my research trip to Ohio to the FindAGrave.com website, I keep asking myself  “Have they ever heard of a cropping tool?”

Now, I truly believe any photo is better than no photo of an ancestors grave. However, some photos have the tombstone surrounded by so much grass that the grass is the focus of the image rather than the tombstone. Since I don’t want to embarrass anyone who is willing to do this service for others, I’ll use my own photos in the case study. What you’ll see is a photo where the gravestone is not the center.

Did you notice the legs of my tripod in this photo as well? Yep! That’s so distracting. But thanks to a cropping tool, I can reduce the grass around the tombstone and crop out the tripod. Then I have a photo like this:

James M and Doris C Flynn
St. Joseph Cemetery
Lockbourne, Ohio

I also used a blemish brush and a cloning tool to take care of the bird droppings. With the distractions removed, the photo focuses on James M Flynn (1911 – 1989) and his wife Doris C Flynn (1916 – 2002).

So, if you haven’t discovered cropping, please look into it. Your photos will look so much better!

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

2 thoughts on “Have You Discovered Cropping?

  1. Yes, I absolutely use cropping – sometimes I find my feet in a shot if I'm standing right over a stone!

    Do I need special software to get rid of the bird droppings on the stone after I'm home and am looking at the photo? I usually try to brush off the stone before I take the shot.

  2. Elizabeth,

    I cut out my feet too!! To get rid of bird droppings, you'll need a program that can fix 'blemishes' or does cloning. I use Corel PaintShop Pro X2. They have a blemish tool (icon like an acne cream bottle) that works for acne spots when working with faces but does wonders on gravestones. They also have a clone tool where you can 'copy' an area of the stone to another area to remove blemishes. I often try a combination of the two until the bird droppings are removed. Sometimes nothing works. But at least these two tools in PaintShop can help me a ton.

    There are free photo editing software on-line. I am not certain, but I've been told some of them can work with blemishes (again, like fixing acne, but bird droppings are gravestone acne). The cloning tool is generally in a more meaty photo editing software program.

    Hope that helps!

    – Devon

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