I see alot of raw photographs as I sift through literally hundreds and hundreds of family beach pictures every day. A big misconception is that because you are being photographed by a professional photographer, that the photos come out of the camera and are ready to hand to the customer. Nothing could be farther from the truth. What the photographer strives for is to get excellent exposure, natural posing and to bring the best background possible out of a shoot. Then comes the task of editing. The best pictures are the ones that don’t have to be dramatically edited. That is just a fact. Many of our clients come in and want the sky color changed, the face of their kid taken off of one photo and put on their chosen photo, all the wrinkles removed from faces, all the windblown hair put perfectly back into place. All of this, while it makes the studio tons of money, it harms the natural look of the photo. No matter how good a graphic artist is, it still plays with the integrity of the original shot. So, what I tell my photographers is to bring in photos that only need a slight levels(we will discuss levels in a follow up article)tweaking and some basic cropping. Most all digital photos need this done. It is truly amazing how a single photo can be transformed with simple cropping. Cropping can most of the time eliminate unwanted and unavoidable background clutter as well as zooming in on a subject so to be able to catch that very personal expression or action. So, in closing, even your most basic photo editing software comes with a crop tool. Don’t be afraid to use it. Get in there and play with different crops and see how your photo will transform. One thing to remember, the larger the digital file, the better quality the final cropped image will be. Remember to set your camera to take the largest file possible.