One of the bigger challenges that I face every week when I process the photos is the cropping. The ratio our shelter’s website uses results in an upright rectangle that doesn’t always allow for the best of what I shot for the day. I try to keep the format in mind when shooting and get a large buffer zone at either the top or bottom that can be cropped out at the end of the day. It has taken some practice but it usually works out.
When cropping close up faces one tip I can offer is to lose the tips. That is the tips of the ears. Knowing that the photo is only going to have so much screen real estate, my goal is to get as much of the face in the frame as possible. By slightly cropping out the very tips of the animals ears, particularly with cats, the photo can be very large in the space allotted. The one downside is that it may (in some cases) be confused with the actual real life ear tipping in feral cats. The practice of Trap-Neuter-Return is a common humane way of controlling the feral cat population. The main distinction is the left ear is clipped to signify the process has been completed. It is a universal sign to the animal rescuers and vets.
For our conservation of thumbnail web space, cropping out a portion of the ear can enlarge the photo and use every bit of the allotted space. In the case of photos on the web, bigger is better. The original unprocessed straight out of the camera photo of Penelope is in the upper right of this post. The end result is her glamour shot with Beige Pearls. Sweet kitty.
In some super close-ups and particularly when editing a fluffy kitty’s photo, I like to really zoom in on the face and lose most of the ears and face edges. In Penelope’s extreme close up I wanted to keep the slightest bit of color pop in the background. So the edges of this sweet little kitten’s face along with the soft pink boa remained. Remember if you love the bokeh effect like I do the closer you are to the subject the more bokeh action you get meaning the range of “in focus” area gets small.