Top 7 Rules for Cropping a Photo with a Person in the Frame

A common mistake a novice photographer makes is to take pictures of people based on their inspiration. The same principle applies when cropping and processing an already-finished image. The result is a frame in which a person’s hands, feet, and edges of clothing are cut off. In the background, you can find the cropped part of another person’s face and not only. Even if otherwise the shot is entirely professional, such moments can turn viewers away from it.

The article will tell you what points you should pay attention to when you crop picture. This will help maintain your professionalism and the beauty of the photo.

Basic Rules for Cropping Pictures with People

When we look at a photograph of a person, the first thing we notice is their eyes. Further attention is transferred to the emotion of the photo and the facial expression. The next focus in the pictures is the triangle formed between the hands and the face. Below is the general pose of the model in the picture.

An interesting fact is that if there is an animal in the photo, the person will pay attention to it immediately after the model looks.

The process of editing and cropping images is critical. This will determine what impression your picture will make on the viewer.


When shooting a person’s portrait, the photographer seeks to convey his inner world. The face is a mirror of the human soul. Therefore, it requires attention when creating a photograph. On the front, it is easy to notice any skin defects, asymmetric arrangement of elements, fatigue of the model, and other factors. If you do not see this or that problem, you can completely spoil the impression of the picture. Wrong framing can focus on the issue area.

An important tip – try to focus on the eyes.

Head and Shoulders

Cropping the head of the model in such a picture is impractical. The photo will look bad; it will alienate the viewer. Shooting in the “head and line below the collarbone” format is often done to convey a person’s attitude towards something. When framing a picture, strive to ensure that this ratio is preserved. A word of advice – the camera should be at the same level as the eyes of the model.

Head and Chest

The head is in the frame, and the line is below the chest (the area in the middle of the ribs). This portrait is no longer as detailed as the two previous versions. At the same time, it is still essential for a photographer to remember the eyes. The whole focus of the picture should be on them. Framing is done with great care if there are hands in the frame. Under no circumstances should they be cut. Make sure that a triangle forms between the eyes and hands in these shots.

Photo of a Person up to the Waistline

This is the most common type of photography. This picture is suitable for different situations. The most important rule here is not to cut off the arms and elbows in the image. If you crop the photo below the pelvic line, it will damage her aesthetics. You can cut the human body if the area is hidden under clothing.

Three-Quarters Above the Knee

The appearance of legs in the frame is an opportunity to add dynamics to the whole picture. Do not, under any circumstances, cut the seams. The framing line of the knee should be unacceptable for you. Trimming is performed either above or below the knee. Ensure the model does not extend the arms too far forward or backward. This can affect the correct proportions of the body.

Three-Quarters Below the Knee

This allows you to take an even more dynamic picture. With this framing option, you can emphasize all the curves and lines of the model’s body. In this version of the image, the main element is not the eyes of the model but her waist. Focus on this area.

Do not use scaling to frame the model. This will result in incorrect body proportions.

Full-Length Shot of a Person

This is a good shot for situations where you want to convey the model’s character and some action. If the photo is of a woman, suggest she wear heels. This will make the legs look longer. When shooting in this way, the use of zoom is also prohibited.

You should pay attention to a few more nuances when creating photographs of a person. If you are aiming to convey movement in a picture, ensure enough space in the frame for this movement. If the model is looking somewhere, her gaze doesn’t need to rest on the edge of the picture.

The most important rule is never to crop the picture at the joints and fingers. If a brush is present in the image, it should be visible.

It can be difficult for a beginner photographer to master all these nuances. But constant practice will allow you to become a professional and take beautiful photos.