Portrait Cropping Guide

Framing your subject up for a portrait can sometimes be difficult. Should you get closer? Further? Cropping in close is particularly challenging because you don’t want to change it in such a way that it looks like your subject is missing limbs. A poorly cropped photo can make all the difference when it comes to portraits. To help you out, here’s a little cropping guide shown from Digital Camera World that shows where to crop and where not to crop. Green lines mean it’s a good place for the edge of the frame, red means it’s a bad place:

portrait cropping guide

Portrait Cropping Guide

Remember, you can always crop in, but you can’t crop out. So it doesn’t hurt to pull out just a bit when taking your shots. That way you have a little wiggle room during post.

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  1. Cedric says:

    Extremely useful post!

  2. Chuck says:

    Since there is no green line below the feet, does this mean that a portrait shouldn’t ordinarily include the feet at all?

  3. Rod Arroyo says:

    This is helpful. Thanks

  4. David says:

    I was always told you never crop at a joint. That means never at the neck, waist or knees. Complete opposite of this post.

    Just goes to show, crop it however you think it looks good.

    • Howard says:

      IMO the neck is not a joint and that is a common crop, and the diagram doesn’t seem to show a crop at the waist~ but I agree about the knees. I prefer the crop above the knees shown in red. This is a common crop leaving a little “sky” below the crotch. :)

  5. Aidas says:

    In complete agreement with above comments – never crop at the knee. Am sure that is an error.

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