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32 Cropping and Containment

Be sure to consider different ways of placing and containing the illustrations and photos that you add to layouts.

Images can be bled off the edges of a page, inset from a page’s extremities, bordered by a line (thin, thick, black, white, colored, etc.), confined by an illustrated frame, enclosed with text, or wrapped with a decorative pattern.

The perimeters of photos and illustrations can also be darkened, blurred, or roughened as a way of establishing and emphasizing their outer edges.

Consider cropping, too—especially if you’re working with photographs. Cropping can be slight or it can be severe, cropping can zoom in tightly on an image’s essential component(s), or it can be applied in ways that leave areas of excess space within a scene (space that might or might not be filled with compositional elements like typography, graphics, or other images). Try several options before deciding what’s best: Cropping can significantly affect the way any image presents itself.

If you’re a designer who likes to shoot your own photographs (as mentioned on the previous spread), you’ll be tempted to aim your viewfinder in ways that produce shots that are beautifully—and tightly—composed. Unfortunately, this otherwise good habit will allow few choices when it comes time to fit your photo into a layout that is calling for images of very specific proportions. The solution? Shoot wide: Pull back slightly from what you consider to be your shot’s best composition and allow a bit of breathing room around its central area of interest. This excess room will increase your options when it comes time to crop the photo to fit within layout-specific spaces.

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