Keep in mind your final output when taking a picture. For example: I love 8 x 10 inch prints. While the vast majority of my pictures will only ever be seen on the computer screen, I like to have the best of the best printed out (via MPIX.com) at 8 x 10 format. I have three frames on my desk at work that I cycle through the latest and greatest pictures of my daughter in.
Here’s the problem: The output of your dSLR is in the 4 x 6 inch format. That’s great for smaller prints, but check the math. Twice that size is 8 x 12 inches, a format which hasn’t gained the kind of acceptance (with cheap frame makers) that the traditional 8 x 10 format has. This is a problem I was first introduced to a couple of years back via my wedding photographer. It means you either need unsightly white borders running up the sides of your picture, or you need to crop 1/6th of your image out from the longest edge.
So, now I try to include a little extra buffer room to the top and bottom of my portrait pictures, and to the wings of the landscape pics.
It’s also one of the reasons I wish I had a 12 or 15 megapixel camera today, instead of my 10 megapixels. I’m throwing out a chunk of resolution I wish I could keep.
Here’s a recent example. On the left is the original picture. On the right is what happens to it when you have to cut it down to 8×10 format. Thankfully, that black night sky was effectively white space. I think the composition works better with it, but there’s still something presentable in the 8 x 10. In portrait photography, cutting off a little from the top or bottom often lobotomizes people or cuts extremities off in ugly ways.
This is why you need to plan ahead. …