A Guide on Good and Bad Places to Crop on Your Portrait Subject


If you need to chop off portions of the human body while cropping a photograph, where should you draw the line? The folks over at Digital Camera World have released this helpful graphic with suggestions on appropriate and inappropriate areas to crop at:

Portrait photography is challenging for a whole host of reasons. Getting your portrait right in-camera is only half the battle. Knowing how to edit your portraits can be quite difficult when it comes to cropping a photo. Cropping in an awkward position on your subject can end up ruining a perfectly good shot. […] we’ve put together this easy guide for understanding some of the best places to crop a subject in a portrait, and some of the places where you should not. ‘Yes’ areas are marked in green, while ‘bad’ locations are marked in red.

This new infographic is nearly identical to one we shared two years ago, except it’s larger and clearer, and therefore more print friendly. You can download the full-resolution version of the image here.

Free portrait photography cropping guide [Digital Camera World]

Thanks for sending in the tip, Sam!

  • Gabriel Constantin

    Good tip for beginners but in this age that image looks horrible.

  • Abnel González

    I disagree with the red marks on the head and the top of legs.

  • pete n pete

    Yeah, if anything, it should have skinny jeans, not bell bottoms. ;)

  • Steven Alan

    I’m colorblind… so… I’ll just eye it out myself.

  • alnavasa

    It has being going around the net for last two days,

    every one agrees that you CAN NOT cut through the knees, BUT you CAN! over and underneeth it, there’s a little mistake with that in the diagram!

  • mural

    yea follow the rules… behh behh behh

  • William

    I’m one of 12% of makes that is color blind in red & green so I can’t make any sense of that diagram.

  • William

    *males – I’m also one of 88% of males with fat fingers that can’t type on a smartphone.

  • Peter Monk-Burton

    How can you crop to bottom of rib cage without cutting off arms as well. Equally how can you crop arms without cropping body??

  • Anatole

    How to crop Saturday Night Fever!

  • Sascha

    If the hands are raised, or horizontal, etc. The rule is not to cut some body parts at the indicated lines, not for this pose especially.

  • Joakim Bidebo

    Same there tho, problem for color-blinded. But if I was color-blinded I would change it so I can see the different lines.

  • Neoracer Xox

    Im totally blind I can’t see a thing either, Im gonna sue them for excluding my kind

  • neilcreek

    Pretty good guide! I disagree with the neck crop though personally. I’d make that a red line (nobody wants to be beheaded!) and I’d put a green line below the shoulders and above the bust.

  • Christian DeBaun

    How about letting your heart and mind make the choices?

  • Baz

    What a load of rubbish, a lot depends on hair, clothing, if they are holding something, angle of body, head etc.

  • Baz


  • anonymous

    I modified the original. does this help?

  • Dude

    It’s easy, the dark grey is bad and the other dark grey is OK.

  • el toro bumingo

    Thanks for the advise! :)

  • pezastic

    I agree totally. The image portrays the most basic guidelines, but even it is wrong in a couple of places, as has been commented on previously. A basic rule of thumb, VERY basic, is that you don’t cut where the joints are. But, again, each situation is unique. Practice makes perfect!