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Adobe Photoshop CC Bootcamp

Lesson 16 of 118

Introduction to Cropping


Adobe Photoshop CC Bootcamp

Lesson 16 of 118

Introduction to Cropping


Lesson Info

Introduction to Cropping

In this lesson, we're gonna talk about composition and cropping. This is a topic that you don't think you could spend a whole lot of time on, but when you really dig into the weeds on it, there's a lot that's involved in this one topic. The crop that you can make in an image can either separate that image from being great, being all right, and being not so good, all with a crop. And the idea here is that the end user or the viewer has no idea what you did to get that image. But it's up to us to see that they see the best possible image that we can give them, not just edited-wise but also cropping-wise. We're gonna talk about what is composition. We're gonna talk about some composition basics and how to control that composition, because in turn, cropping leads to the composition that we're showing the individuals in the end. So, what is this composition thing? It's really simple. It's how we frame everything. And you gotta think about the other art forms and how they frame stuff as well...

. Painters use a canvas that frames out their image. They dictate what their image is gonna be like by the selection that they make of their canvas before they even begin. An illustrator would use paper, again, dictated by the paper size. As sculptor uses the entire three-dimensional space, depending on that three-dimensional space that they're using, and then photographers, we have the frame, but the beauty of our frame is that we aren't necessarily restricted to the canvas size that we choose in the beginning or the paper size that we choose in the beginning. We get the ability to choose what we want our images to look like before, during, and after we've had that image, before being in camera, during, in post production, and after being when it's printed and shown. So what I want you to think about is this, this is a video word that's used. It's called mise en scene. It's the placement of objects in a scene. It's typically done in films. Watch any good movements, and watch the way they place, I mean, let's talk about like Oscar-quality movies, you know? We're talking movies that really pay attention to that bike that's yellow on that street. They place these objects in these, in these places for a very specific reason. There would be no need for that bike there for any other reason than if the director really wanted it there. So, you are essentially the director of the film of your image, and where you place the objects in your scene, that mise en scene, is gonna separate your images apart from the next person who shot the exact same thing with maybe even the exact same lens and equipment that you had to set up. Let's talk about some composition basics. There's a bunch of different ways to actually frame a photo, and there are rules, and there are guides, but I say that there are rules and guides loosely. These are things that have been, they are patterned behavior of ways that images have been set up in the past to look great, and that's why we call them rules. You can contain one or more of the following two. You don't have to just use one of those rules. You can use many of those rules. You can have the rule of thirds, which divides your image up into three segments, whether that's three beautifully proportioned segments, like we would talk about the golden ratio rule of thirds, or that's just simply dividing your image into three blocks. Then there's also symmetry. Symmetry can be a form of composition. Forced perspective, that's where you're getting really low to the ground on a road to make that road just disappear into the back, or whether you're standing up to not maybe force that perspective as much. There's diagonals and triangles and geometry in general, looking for geometry in an image. And this is where we get into the great painters. The great painters didn't follow the rules of the rule of thirds or even the rule of symmetry or forced perspective. The great painters would follow these very almost algorithmic ways of composing the paintings that they created, and if you actually see some of these books where they study the great painters, you can see that a lot of their compositions are made up of diagonals and triangles. There is some dynamic symmetry with those diagonals and triangles, but a lot of it's just how your eye leads in and moves around. Now, from a painter's perspective, they get the ability to do whatever they want to you, because they have, they are painting it. Whatever they envision, they can put on that canvas. With us, it's a little bit difficult for us to see things quite like the great painters would. And then geometry using things other than diagonals and triangles, using squares and circles and ways that we can manipulate the viewer into our image. The golden ratio, this is one that, it's got the term the golden ratio on it, so you'd think it'd be the best of the best. Well, that's not necessarily the case. It just means that, the golden ratio is a way of, it's also called the golden spiral or the Fibonacci sequence, things that basically navigate your eye into the image, circling around what looks like almost like a nautilus shell shape. So this would be the rule of thirds. The placement of an object in the scene would be just on this rule of thirds marker, placing an object as close as I can to one of the quadrants in the image. And this is in post. Cropping is one of those things that happens all over the place. So, whether I did this in camera or I did it in the post, I'm putting this object close to one of those intersecting segment areas of the image. Another rule of thirds, again, putting the object there, but you see how it leads the viewer in. If I were to put that bench right in the middle of this image, it wouldn't be quite as impressive as it is leading us to this place. Now, is the image great, by any stretch of the imagination? Not really, but it gives us a sense of wanting to walk up to this, sit down on this, and spend a little bit more time with it. The thing is, if you were to take a portfolio full of images that had everything in the center, and you were to give it to somebody, that person's gonna look through your portfolio, and they're probably gonna go like this. Next, next, next, next, next, next. We're at a big disadvantage as photographers. That's why we have to use these compositional rules. Because as photographers, people can relate right away with what we photograph, because it's a photograph. They don't really spend time on the brushstrokes like they would for a painter. They don't necessarily pay attention to the line work that an illustrator would use. They aren't necessarily paying attention to the shadows that would rest on a sculpture. So a sculpture can be viewed in the round, 360. So someone can spend literally five to 10 minutes just walking around a sculpture, enjoying that sculpture. They can look at a drawing for anywhere from a minute to a minute and a half, just looking at how they put the pressure of the pencil down. And this all comes into play when we come to photographers. This is recognizable. We know what this is. So what we have to do as photographers to get someone to look through our portfolio a little bit longer is use these rules and use these ideas to our advantage to make them wanna stay somewhere longer, because the last I checked, there's a whole series of studies that's been done on people's, people's attention span for art. Photographers, it's like eight seconds. That's all we get. Eight seconds. Can you believe that? So if we're putting this dead center, how many seconds do you think we've shaved off? We definitely haven't added any seconds, 'cause people would say, oh, that's just, this is a park bench. We might get a little bit more time by letting that viewer navigate around the image a little bit more and make their brain take more time to process that image. This is a use of symmetry, though, where symmetry can actually be a pretty powerful use of symmetry where that star is, right dead center, straight in the middle. And you've got other things going on within the image, but there's a sense of symmetry there. These, the things that are happening in the image offset the balance of the photograph, but yet the photograph is still symmetrically balanced. Here's another image where we have symmetry happening, but we have a little bit of offset with some of the things that are happening within that space that are offsetting that symmetry. So I say always, you know, people say, well, don't put anything dead center. Avoid symmetry. Now, there's times when we don't wanna avoid symmetry. There's times where symmetry can be very flattering, especially for a space like this. I don't know if you'd wanna sleep here overnight, but it's flattering for the space. And we talk about forced perspective, and that's making our viewer see from the corners of our image all the way down to a vanishing point that just disappear somewhere, forcing that perspective to make that image much more dramatic, to open up that landscape a little bit more for them. Another version of forced perspective. Here, we're forcing the perspective into the corner. This is a great thing for real estate photography. You ever look at real estate images, a lot of times, you bury your back into a corner, and you shoot into another corner to really open up that space. Throw a wide angle lens on there, and that 10-foot by 10-foot room now looks like 40 feet by 40 feet. (Blake laughs) You're forcing that perspective of the viewer to make this feel a little bit more interactive and dynamic than just standing in the center of the room and shooting towards the center of that room. Here's another diagonals and triangles. You might not see it by looking at it, but when we put the overlay on here you see how the image kind of comes in from the left, from the top left-hand corner, makes its way around, and then also has another triangle that comes in like this. Little bit of geometry that's happening in there to make us see and navigate the image a little bit more using certain points, coming in from the bottom, touching on the top of this rock, coming down this way, but oh, wait, that rock is showing me more, going out that way. Here's a good use of geometry. Lot of geometrical shapes that make a stairwell in a house look attractive. It's just using the shapes that are available there and looking at it head-on and making sure that when you do that, even if it is a wide angle lens, you get all of those angles perfectly straight. What would ruin this photograph is if I just left it as the image that you saw straight out of camera, 'cause some of the angles are a little warped because of a wide angle lens. I'm standing in a hallway with that thing pretty much right in front of me. I didn't have much that I could put my back against or my camera against. So if you're gonna be using wide angle lenses, especially in this type of environment, paying attention to those perfectly vertical lines, especially in this one, the vertical lines and the horizontal lines. Here's something with the golden spiral where you have the golden ratio of the golden spiral. It comes in from the opposite side of the image, wraps around, and brings us into the photograph. It navigates our eye around into the areas that are important, and you can force that in something like cropping. It's a macro shot of a tiny little, little sweat bee, like this teeny tiny little thing. Again, this is where we're using multiple rules together, forced perspective and the rule of thirds that are driving us into the back of this image, but also using the rule of thirds to divide this up. Here's another one, forced perspective and symmetry, really forcing the viewer to the back of the image but making sure that everything is nice and symmetrical going in. Little bit of asymmetry with some of the details that are happening on the sides, but still, that giant shape just pulling us right in. This is a conference center in Kansas City. Beautiful building. We can control the composition in many different ways. I've touched on it a couple times through this, but our frame that we use kind of has unlimited capabilities for us, once we get into post production. We can do a lot of things with this. We have our in camera crop, which, that's the decision that we make right in camera. Do you use a wide angle lens or do you use a telephoto lens? What lens are you using that's already cropping your image right away? Then we have the in post crop, where you're in Photoshop, and maybe you didn't like what you did with inside the camera, so now you're fixing it in post production. And then we have the in print crop, which, this kind of throws everything else out the window when you go to print a four by six and it doesn't fit the ratio of the image that you're looking at. You're like, oh, why doesn't this work? Well, it has to do with how the print ratio versus how your camera sensor ratio works. So sometimes you're even forced to crop in print. This is the first step in mastering the comprehension of composition. So if you can, if you can understand cropping and really dig deep into the decisions that you're making in camera, in post, and in print, you're on your way to mastering the, one of the most hard compositional elements to capture or to comprehend, I should say.

Class Description

Adobe® Photoshop CC® is a valuable tool for photographers, but it can also be intimidating. In this all-inclusive 20 lesson course, you’ll go from opening the program for the first time to creating images that really stand out. Join Blake Rudis, Photoshop expert and founder of f64 Academy, as he shows you how to maximize your use of Photoshop. 

Topics covered will include:

  • Class Introduction & Bridge, Adobe Camera Raw, Setup Interface, Cropping and Layers
  • Layer Tools, Masks, Selections, Clean-Up Tools and Shapes & Text
  • Smart Objects, Transforming, Actions, Filters, and Editing Video
  • Custom Creative Effects, Natural Retouching, Portrait Workflow, Landscape Workflow, and Composite Workflow

Don’t let the many aspects of Photoshop prevent you from maximizing your use of this amazing app. Blake will help you develop the confidence to use your imagination and create the images that you will be proud to share with your clients.


Adobe Photoshop CC 2018


  1. Bootcamp Introduction
  2. The Bridge Interface
  3. Setting up Bridge
  4. Overview of Bridge
  5. Practical Application of Bridge
  6. Introduction to Raw Editing
  7. Setting up ACR Preferences & Interface
  8. Global Tools Part 1
  9. Global Tools Part 2
  10. Local Tools
  11. Introduction to the Photoshop Interface
  12. Toolbars, Menus and Windows
  13. Setup and Interface
  14. Adobe Libraries
  15. Saving Files
  16. Introduction to Cropping
  17. Cropping for Composition in ACR
  18. Cropping for Composition in Photoshop
  19. Cropping for the Subject in Post
  20. Cropping for Print
  21. Perspective Cropping in Photoshop
  22. Introduction to Layers
  23. Vector & Raster Layers Basics
  24. Adjustment Layers in Photoshop
  25. Organizing and Managing Layers
  26. Introduction to Layer Tools and Blend Modes
  27. Screen and Multiply and Overlay
  28. Soft Light Blend Mode
  29. Color and Luminosity Blend Modes
  30. Color Burn and Color Dodge Blend Modes
  31. Introduction to Layer Styles
  32. Practical Application: Layer Tools
  33. Introduction to Masks and Brushes
  34. Brush Basics
  35. Custom Brushes
  36. Brush Mask: Vignettes
  37. Brush Mask: Curves Dodge & Burn
  38. Brush Mask: Hue & Saturation
  39. Mask Groups
  40. Clipping Masks
  41. Masking in Adobe Camera Raw
  42. Practical Applications: Masks
  43. Introduction to Selections
  44. Basic Selection Tools
  45. The Pen Tool
  46. Masks from Selections
  47. Selecting Subjects and Masking
  48. Color Range Mask
  49. Luminosity Masks Basics
  50. Introduction to Cleanup Tools
  51. Adobe Camera Raw
  52. Healing and Spot Healing Brush
  53. The Clone Stamp Tool
  54. The Patch Tool
  55. Content Aware Move Tool
  56. Content Aware Fill
  57. Custom Cleanup Selections
  58. Introduction to Shapes and Text
  59. Text Basics
  60. Shape Basics
  61. Adding Text to Pictures
  62. Custom Water Marks
  63. Introduction to Smart Objects
  64. Smart Object Basics
  65. Smart Objects and Filters
  66. Smart Objects and Image Transformation
  67. Smart Objects and Album Layouts
  68. Smart Objects and Composites
  69. Introduction to Image Transforming
  70. ACR and Lens Correction
  71. Photoshop and Lens Correction
  72. The Warp Tool
  73. Perspective Transformations
  74. Introduction to Actions in Photoshop
  75. Introduction to the Actions Panel Interface
  76. Making Your First Action
  77. Modifying Actions After You Record Them
  78. Adding Stops to Actions
  79. Conditional Actions
  80. Actions that Communicate
  81. Introduction to Filters
  82. ACR as a Filter
  83. Helpful Artistic Filters
  84. Helpful Practical Filters
  85. Sharpening with Filters
  86. Rendering Trees
  87. The Oil Paint and Add Noise Filters
  88. Introduction to Editing Video
  89. Timeline for Video
  90. Cropping Video
  91. Adjustment Layers and Video
  92. Building Lookup Tables
  93. Layers, Masking Video & Working with Type
  94. ACR to Edit Video
  95. Animated Gifs
  96. Introduction to Creative Effects
  97. Black, White, and Monochrome
  98. Matte and Cinematic Effects
  99. Gradient Maps and Solid Color Grades
  100. Gradients
  101. Glow and Haze
  102. Introduction to Natural Retouching
  103. Brightening Teeth
  104. Clean Up with the Clone Stamp Tool
  105. Cleaning and Brightening Eyes
  106. Advanced Clean Up Techniques
  107. Introduction to Portrait Workflow & Bridge Organization
  108. ACR for Portraits Pre-Edits
  109. Portrait Workflow Techniques
  110. Introduction to Landscape Workflow & Bridge Organization
  111. Landscape Workflow Techniques
  112. Introduction to Compositing & Bridge
  113. Composite Workflow Techniques
  114. Landscape Composite Projects
  115. Bonus: Rothko and Workspace
  116. Bonus: Adding Textures to Photos
  117. Bonus: The Mask (Extras)
  118. Bonus: The Color Range Mask in ACR


a Creativelive Student

Amazing course, but don't be fooled into thinking this is a beginner's course for photographers. The problem isn't Blake's explanations; they're top. The problem is the vast scope of this course and the order in which the topics are presented. Take layers for example. When I was first learning Photoshop (back when we learned from books), I found I learned little or nothing from, for example, books that covered layers before they covered how to improve/process photographs. These books taught me how to organize, move, and link layers before they showed me what a layer was actually for. Those books tended to teach me everything there is to know about layers (types of layers, how to organize them, how to move them, how to move them two at a time, how to move them two at a time even if there are other layers between the two you're interested in, useful troubleshooting tips, etc. ) all before I even know (from a photographer's point of view) what it is the things actually do. The examples of organizing, linking, and moving mean everything for graphic designers from Day One, but for photographers not so much. Blake does the same thing as those books. Topics he covers extremely early demand a lot of theoretical imagination for a photographer who doesn't already know quite a bit about what he is talking about. Learning about abstract things first and concrete things later only makes PS that much harder to understand. If you AREN'T a beginner, however, this course is amazing. I thought it would be like an Army Bootcamp, taking you from zero and building you into a fit, competent Photoshop grunt. Now I think it's more like Army Bootcamp for high school varsity jocks. It isn't going to take you from the beginning, but the amount you'll get out of it is nonetheless more than your brain can imagine. I've been using PS for years to improve my photographs, and even to create the odd artistic composite or two. The amount I've learned in the first week is amazing, and every day I learn something -- more like many things -- which I immediately implement to improve my productivity and/or widen the horizons of what I can achieve. If you ARE a photographer who's a Photoshop beginner, I'd take very seriously the advice Blake gives in the introduction: Watch one lesson, and practice the skills and principles you learn in that one lesson for two weeks. THEN watch the next lesson. You can't do that of course without buying the course, so it's up to you to decide whether you'd like to learn Photoshop and master Photoshop all from the same course. Learning it first and mastering it later will cost more money, but I think you'll understand everything better and have a much more enjoyable ride in the process. As for me? I'm going to have to find the money to buy this course. There is simply way too much content in each lesson for me to try to take on all at once, but on the other hand I don't want to miss anything at all that he has to share.

Robert Andrews

Blake Rudis is the absolute best in teaching photoshop. His knowledge and how he presents the instruction is clear and concise - there is NO ONE BETTER. Yes, his classes require some basic skills, and maybe I'd organize the order of (or group) the classes in a different order, but, let me be clear - if anyone is to be successful or famous in the Photoshop world, it should be Blake Rudis. I strongly recommend his teaching. I started photography and post processing in 2018, and because of this class, I'm know what Im doing. The energy you get when you create something beautiful is profound, it makes you bounce out of bed (at 4AM) like a 5 year old, to go create. It's a great ride! Thanks Blake, & Thanks Creative live.

Esther Gambrell

WOW!!! I've been purchasing CL classes for several years now and have watched HOURS of "How-To Photoshop" classes, but this is the first one I've actually purchased because of the AWESOME BONUS content!!! SERIOUSLY??!!?!? A PLUG-IN??? But not only that, Blake is SO easy to understand, and he breaks down concepts in different ways to connect with different people's learning styles. I REALLY appreciated this approach because I am a LEFT-BRAINED creative that has an engineering background, so I really connected to what Blake was saying. THANK YOU FOR THAT! There are TONS of Photoshop courses out there, but I found this one to be the most helpful in they way Blake teaches concepts so that you know WHY you're doing what your doing. I feel like he taught me how to fish with Photoshop to feed me for a lifetime instead of just giving me a fish to feed me for one day. This is the BEST overall PS course out there!!! Thank you!!!!