Skip to main content

The Crop Tool

Lesson 23 from: Editing and Organizing your Photography in Lightroom

Jared Platt

new-class photo & video

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

23. The Crop Tool

<b>In this lesson you will learn everything you need to know about the Crop tool in Lightroom.&#160; There is a lot more to the crop tool than you think.</b>

Lesson Info

The Crop Tool

1 Okay, let's talk about cropping images for now. 2 The Crop tool is right below the Adjustments. 3 So the edit tool is up here at the top 4 and then right below it you'll see the Crop tool. 5 When you click on the Crop tool or the C key for crop, 6 you'll see that you have several different options. 7 The first is that you can choose an aspect ratio. 8 So if you want a square image, just choose the one by one. 9 That way you know that this is perfectly square, 10 and then you can drag that square around 11 to the proper place. 12 And then once you're done with that, just hit the C key 13 and now it is a cropped image. 14 Okay. 15 So let's go back to As Shot. 16 So now we have the entire crop available to us. 17 I can always just grab the edge of the crop. 18 So when I'm outside of the edge of the crop, 19 my cursor turns into kind of a U-shaped arrow, 20 and I can click there 21 and then just kind of spin the photo 22 until it is properly aligned. 23 And I'm just using those grid li...

nes 24 to try and line up the bottom edge of this area here. 25 So, like, you can see the baseboards, 26 I'm gonna try and get those baseboards 27 so that they are properly aligned with the grid, 28 and then hit the C key, 29 and that is properly cropped, 30 and then send it off. 31 This is actually a photo 32 that gets sold on stock quite a bit. 33 I'm going to, 34 again, reset this. 35 So back As Shot, 36 that's the proper aspect ratio. 37 If I click on this little arrow up here, 38 this undo arrow, 39 it takes everything back to the way it was 40 in the first place. 41 There's also the option of straightening the photo. 42 So this little slider allows you to grab it 43 and then straighten it. 44 It's exactly what I was just doing. 45 So it's kind of a redundant tool. 46 You can also click on the auto and it auto straightens it 47 and it's trying to do exactly the same thing. 48 It's looking for horizon lines. 49 Sometimes it works really well, 50 sometimes it doesn't. 51 And then the other option here is your crop overlay, 52 which in this case is thirds, 53 but you can do it in fifths. 54 You can do diagonals, you can do center, 55 triangle, golden ratio, 56 the golden spiral, aspect ratios, 57 like there's all sorts of different versions you can have. 58 I like the thirds option, that's my favorite. 59 You can also rotate and flip your image here. 60 So there, if for some reason your camera didn't flip it 61 or tell the the computer to flip it, 62 you can do that here. 63 Or you can actually just flip it like this. 64 So you can change whether or not 65 the image is right side up or upside down, et cetera. 66 Okay. 67 Those are pretty easy. 68 Everybody understands cropping, I think. 69 So we won't talk too much more about cropping 70 other than paying attention to your crop 71 is critical to a photograph. 72 I tend to think that a photograph is made 73 or broken by its crop. 74 There's a lot of things that you can choose in a photograph 75 that kind of, they don't do too much, 76 they just make it look a little different here, 77 a little different there. 78 But a crop can really make or break your photograph. 79 So pay attention to the crop, 80 it's worth looking at. 81 Now, below all the cropping options is the Geometry area. 82 And while you're working on crop, 83 you might as well also think about 84 the vertical and horizontal lines 85 and how those align with the crop as well. 86 Because sometimes you can have a vertical 87 or a horizontal line that's just a bit askew 88 because you were either too low or too high, 89 and so you've got that parallaxing effect, 90 or you were to the right or to the left, 91 and so you've got the same parallaxing effect 92 that's going on right and left. 93 Like if you're looking up at a building, 94 it's gonna naturally kind of go like this. 95 And you might not want it to do that. 96 You might want it to be straight. 97 In this case, this is a very geometric heavy image. 98 And so I want to make sure not only is it cropped correctly 99 and it's rotated correctly, 100 but I wanna make sure that all of these lines 101 are perpendicular 102 and horizontal to their corresponding crop lines. 103 And clearly they're not. 104 They're a little bit skewed. 105 And so that's what geometry allows us to do. 106 Now at its simplest, 107 you can click on the Geometry Upright option, 108 which is right here. 109 It says Upright. 110 And there's Auto, Guided, Level, Vertical, and Full. 111 And these are all kind of automatic options. 112 So if I click on Auto, 113 it'll just try and straighten it up. 114 If I click on Level, 115 it will just try and level the photograph. 116 If I click on Vertical, 117 it will just deal with the vertical lines 118 and try and straighten those. 119 And if I click on Full, 120 it'll try and do the vertical lines and the horizontal lines 121 and straighten it all up as well. 122 So let's see what all of them do. 123 And we'll just test each one of 'em. 124 So let's, let's start with full. 125 And you can see if I click on this, 126 it did okay, but look at the way it's skewed. 127 It really needs to be kind of that way. 128 Okay, so I'm not a big fan of the Full option. 129 So then I'm gonna do Vertical, 130 and it did the same thing. 131 It didn't quite get it right. 132 So now I'm gonna do the Level, 133 still didn't get it quite right. 134 So I'm gonna go in and reset Geometry again. 135 So I'm gonna hold the Option key down. 136 Anytime you have a panel, you can always reset it 137 by clicking the Option or the Alt key 138 and then clicking on that Reset Geometry. 139 Okay, so let's try this again. 140 So this time I'm gonna go to Auto, 141 and again, it's not, it's paying attention to... 142 I think it's paying attention to the stairs, 143 and it's not paying attention to these lines here, 144 nor is it paying attention to the baseline, 145 which is a little strange that it's not. 146 But the point of what I'm telling you 147 is that this is not the way to do it. 148 The way to do it is with the Guided Transform tool. 149 So you can see that there are two little buttons over here. 150 This one's just Auto Upright. 151 It's exactly the same thing as going in here 152 and clicking on that. 153 It's the same thing, 154 it's just a little button that you can push. 155 This one that looks like a cross is the Guided Upright tool. 156 This is the tool that you want. 157 So you're gonna click on that tool, 158 and it's going to give you a set of guides. 159 You get four guides, 160 two vertical, two horizontal. 161 So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go in 162 and find the most important vertical lines. 163 So that's this one. 164 And I'm just following the line there of that line there. 165 And then I'm gonna grab this other side, 166 and I'm gonna get that line. 167 There. 168 So now we know that those two lines 169 are perfectly parallel to each other. 170 Now I'm gonna go down to the bottom, 171 and I'm gonna choose this line of the baseboard. 172 And watch, 173 it's gonna recalibrate now the horizontal line 174 in comparison to the vertical lines. 175 Boom. 176 Did you see that? 177 Let me show you that again. 178 So I'm gonna do that again 'cause that's so amazing. 179 And I want you to notice 180 that the dog actually still looks really normal. 181 So here we go. 182 Boom. 183 Just like that. 184 And then if I want, 185 I can actually go up here to the top, 186 I can find a horizontal line at the top as well. 187 So I'm just gonna click on the top of this stair. 188 And there. 189 Boom. 190 So now if I go back to my crop option 191 and I click on the crop grid, 192 look how perfectly square that photograph is. 193 And that's really important in a photograph that 194 has all of these really great lines. 195 Now, I was trying very hard when I took the photo 196 to make sure that all those lines were parallel 197 and perpendicular to the actual crop lines. 198 But you know, it's a little hard sometimes 199 when you're just taking a photo. 200 And so having the ability to transform an image 201 by guiding it into those specific areas is great. 202 And if you ever have to renegotiate those, 203 you can always go back into the Guided Upright 204 by clicking on that tool. 205 And you can just move these around anywhere you like 206 and you can grab on those little dots and renegotiate 'em 207 so that they're perfectly in the right spot. 208 So that is the way that you make a very graphic image, 209 something that's very much geometric in its in its nature. 210 That's how you really makes an image like this sing.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Ratings and Reviews

Tim Byrne

Great job, Jared! You have delivered a master class for anyone beginning a journey into Lightroom, presented in absolutely clear and relaxed style. And for those with more experience with the program, every old dog can learn a few more new tricks. Teaching software is tough. Jared does it by breaking down each function and including not only the what, but the how and why as well. And each step is amplified by crystal clear photos which are manipulated with the function at hand. Bring a pad of paper, some snacks, and a cup (or two) of coffee. He is relentless in his presentation. You might watch this course as a freebie, but buy it to be able to refer to it for specific steps and processes. I've been using Adobe products since the mid 1990s and this is the best instructional presentation I've taken. ABSOLUTE WINNER1 Thanks, Jared

Student Work