How much crop is too much? I recently got asked this question and my smart aleck response was, “if there are no pixels left, you cropped in too much!”
But it is a fair question, right?
So, how much crop is too much?
I guess it boils down to what the image is and what you are going to do with it. It is save to say if you are just straightening a little and cropping off the extraneous bits, that’s fine. Likewise if your image is straight out of your camera at a certain crop — say 2-by-3 — and you want to set it to 5-by-7 or square and are just cropping off a little, then you are not losing too many pixels.
But let’s say you wanted to crop in a lot more. If you look at the grid mark below, anything outside of those grid marks would be lost pixels, when you export your image.
If you just want a small image with low resolution, that may not matter much. But if you want a high resolution image for printing, this could be a big deal. This could mean the difference between a 24-inch print and a 6-inch print.
Sometimes it’s totally worth cropping in hard to get the image you envisioned, but just couldn’t get. Just be prepared to lose all those pixels.
Now, I am perfectly happy to crop as much as I need to, in order to get the image I wish. Mostly my images are for social media anyway. But if it is for a client, or for a high resolution print, campaign or book, I rarely crop off anymore than I need to. Where possible. try to get as close to the actual crop you want in-camera.