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It’s Day 2 here in Paris, and Hannah, the 10-year-old traveling with me on this trip, is already doing much better with her photos with only an occasional tip from me. She’s using The Rule of Thirds.  She’s getting in close.  She’s kneeling down and pointing her lens up toward the sky to get the tourists and distracting backgrounds out of her photos.  And she’s training her eye to look at her subject (often, that subject is me or my daughter Charlie) but also at her background to ensure she’s taking a photo that really says “Paris” or “Louvre” or wherever we are. But there’s one mistake she’s been making a lot. And when I’m not careful, I’m making this mistake, too… To clip or to chop What I’m talking about is clipping and chopping your images… and how to crop pictures with purpose. Chopping is one thing.  You can deliberately chop your subject in half, thirds, fourths or eighths and as long as it looks intentional, it can be quite creative and fun.  See how I chopped the whole bottom leg off the Eiffel Tower here… how to chop pictures … and yet it looks intentional and done on purpose. It’s when it doesn’t look intentional — and you merely clip the edge of someone’s elbow or the bottom of their feet – that will get you get into trouble. Take these photos for instance… Here, Charlie’s shoes are just clipped (not good for saleability)… rsz_1410parisday2clipshoes-050107 Here, she’s chopped (fine for saleability)… rsz_1410parisday2chop-060098 A good rule of thumb is that chopping is ok but clipping is not. And here’s another tip, if you’re going to chop: Don’t do it on a joint. Here’s one that’s chopped at the ankles… rsz_1410parischarlie-100182 Kinda creepy, right? And here chopped at the wrist and knees… rsz_1410parisday2cliphandknees-050083 If you’re going to clip or chop, make sure it’s intentional and that it looks intentional. It may seem trivial but if you can learn to do this, you’ll take much better photos and you’ll improve the saleability of your images, too.  Violate this rule and it’s a deal-breaker for online stock agencies.  They won’t accept your image. (Magazines and websites don’t like it if you mess it up either.) You’ll get better as you go. Share on Facebook

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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