I will tell you a little secret, I generally crop my images. Often, this is out of necessity, because you can only get so close to some birds. Other times, however, you just capture more so you can make decisions about the final image.
Case in point, this shot of Tyler Skaggs. I really like the final image, but getting to it required some trade offs.
Usually cropping a bird photo is easy. You don’t have extraneous details to work out. Often it depends on aesthetics, cropping relative to background lighting, the angles of branches, where things come into the image, and the like.
But with a sports shot, you often have people in the background. And I don’t like cutting people in half, lopping off arms, legs, heads, etc. You may think that silly, because it is all in the background of the shot. But I don’t like doing it.
Sometimes, however, you have no choice and you just have to pick the crop and where to make the cut.
So I apologize to everyone in this shot who’s head is missing. If I could have gotten you in the shot and retained the image’s strength, I would have.