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Lesson 8 from: Post-Processing for Outdoor and Travel Photographers

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

8. Cropping

Next Lesson: Dust Spot Removal

Lesson Info


one thing that I actually find a lot of people ignore more than they should is cropping I find most images could be improved through cropping to make him a stronger composition sometimes it's because the lenses you shoot with you happen to not have a lens that's long enough to really zoom in on the subject enoughto isolate what you're truly thinking of other times it's just a matter of not thinking about it in the field and it's much easier to consider when looking at really big on screen but let's just do some basic cropping and look at some of the ideas we can use their so here I have a serious of images that we're going to crop and so cropping happens in the developed module along with all the other kind of processing we do so click on the one image I'd like to work with in the upper right of my screen I'll switch fromthe library module which is where we organize our pictures to the develop module which will replace this entire area down here where our control show up if we ever nee...

d to get back to our grid of thumbnails either click on the word library or there's the shortcut of g for grid if I type it right now brings me back to my library back to looking at the thumbnails go to develop now and develop I'm going for now hide the left side of my screen because we simply don't need it right now so over here click a little triangle so we can concentrate on my picture and the choice is on the right side now on the right side just below this bar chart thingamajig there is an icon right here which is the crop tool and you compress the letter r to get to it quickly if you'd like and if you forget that keyboard shark just hover over it without clicking on it until a little tool tip shows up it will remind you on the end of the tool tip that the letter r would do that I rarely remember maybe I can remember by r stands for rarely remember crop tool but I'm to click on that so now I'm in the crop tool and when I do that settings that show up just below the crop too will change to ones that are specific to the crop tool itself and there's a bunch of different things I can change in here the main thing is there's a choice called aspect he and I can click over here in say do I want the very specific aspect ratio for this if I know I'm going to print this on eight and half by eleven paper I might as well limit myself to crop it into that size or is really a ratio or I can come in here and choose one's for different video settings nineteen twenty by ten eighty if that just sounds like an odd a number that is hd video like if you have a tv set that's uh hd tv that's the exact amount of information that could be displayed on it so you could crop something to fit a t v the ten twenty four by seven sixty eight is the ratio for most projectors that are not hd meaning not wide screen there like a normal projected you see in most auditoriums for showing slide shows that photographers would use also it's the aspect ratio if I remember correctly oven ipad s o if you want to crop for an ipad you could use that other that up here you have some aspect ratios for different kinds of common prince you're welcome to use and you can do that now this menu is going to change to the word custom if I just grab the cropping rectangle it's here and move it and all that means is we are not conforming to one of those ratios we're in a custom one that we just made by moving this uh and so if you ever are stuck in one of these and you want to get back to where you can change it yourself you can just set it to custom custom means let me do it and if you find that what you need is not in here you're doing something for a very specific use you're going to make a print that's very skinny and very tall not in this list you can choose enter custom that will bring this little dialogue up where you could type in your own ratio but most the time it depends on how I'm thinking it depends if I'm thinking about a particular kind of printing if I always print too the same size sheet because I want to use standard frames that I could go and buy it target or walmart wherever you buy cheap frames then I'm going to use one of these aspect ratios if instead I'm used to printing on like let's say a custom stretched canvas where I can use any size I want a custom framing then I'll just have that not set to a ratio so I could do my cropping manually so in here I just want to try to make this composition stronger through cropping and so I look at what really makes this image special and I think it's the river that's here there's a tiny little church here and some buildings and so those are the main pieces but I do like showing the whole valley that's there I think up here those there's just a lot of neutral space stuff that doesn't do a lot so I'm just going to bring this down in the side should I go to maybe there or would it be stronger to maybe come in and even cut into some of those clouds if I want more of a panoramic I feel everybody's got a different idea I just come in here and say what is really needed to keep this image concentrated there's a little riff top of the building here I often don't like little elements on the edge of my frame to distract so I might pull up just to that the trees out mine because when you get there there's a payoff to me if there's something on the edge of my frame that is distinct little detail there should often be a payoff when I get there I get there and go oh cool flowers oh cool fall color or something else but there's no oh cool in a little chunk of rooftop you know so that's why I might come in here bring that up and if I ever get to something really close to a square I don't usually like really close to a square either like square or quite a ways different from square just feels a little odd when it gets to be really close to square so if I get close to square I might come over here to the aspect ratio and choose one toe one which means square and then just kind of resized in position this if that's just happens to be what I end up with otherwise said it the custom and you khun do any uh set up you'd like all right and be careful though when it's set to custom that doesn't mean it doesn't restrict your dragging it just means that it doesn't conform to any of these numbers there's a lock symbol right next to it see the lock that means lock the ratio even if it was a custom one so if you want to just be able to free formally move each side if the lock symbols turn on you can because it's going to keep the ratio of whatever you're at right now so that it's consistent so just click the little lock like the little animation popping open and that's what allows you to teo drag this however you would like but that can sometimes mess you up you think custom means whatever I want and sure it means whatever you want but it means whatever you defined it means sticking with that when you're done you just click on the crop tool second time and it will only show the cropped area and then I'm going to use the right arrow key the arrow keys usually switching between the images that you have so right arrow should bring in the next image I'm click on the crop tool again see all this kind of dead space up here not all that exciting so I'm going to bring that down still want you to get a sense that there was a sky they're here we're in dubai going on a little no no no wait called safari like thing but this part down here is not all that exciting I want to concentrate this in more on where the action is happening to get hopefully what I might consider a stronger image once you have a cracking rectangle you can also click in the middle of it and just drag it around but what happens is the picture drags around within it just that a little bit and I usually look on the edges and just look to see if it's clean if there's any little elements they're like these little bushes I might just bring it to the other edge of them because any detail on the edge it's just something calling for somebody's eye to go glance at it that little thing there those are things that will bug me I'm picky good next image and so on you know a couple of the things about this though is if you need to go back and switched it over picture and you're not sure which one you just don't want to go in sequence it's you know you could press the letter g to go back to the grid and then you'd see all your pictures you can click between them but you don't have to go back to the grid to see them let me go back in here to the ballot let's say I was cropping a picture this one was taken in uh uh place compote called began in uh I don't know how to pronounce it properly because everybody does it differently but in miramar or some people still call it burma but if I want to switch images instead of going back to the library each time if I move my mouth to the bottom of my image down here remember that triangle at the bottom I could expand we haven't talked about this is called a filmstrip the film strip is like a little mini library so you don't have to constantly switched from library to whatever you were doing it back to the library this is just going to show you the folder you've been dealing and you can switch between your images using it it's like a little mini library just so you can stay in whatever feature you were using this switch between your images quickly so what I usually do get under that triangle at the bottom of my screen and I right click on it and say why don'tyou auto hide this or auto show and hide so that whenever I need teo I could just move my mouse down to the bottom of my screen and once I get into the black bar that's at the bottom that will automatically pop up and I could just switch to whatever image I want and once I do that I could just move my mouse off the barn it goes away and it just becomes a nice quick and easy way of being all to switch to other photos and if you have more than the five photos that I have in this folder and studio folder of a thousand you could just scroll in this horizontally it'll just be one long for is on a list that you could do if you want those thumbnails to take up more or less space you want bigger or smaller all you need to do is when that's visible go to the top edge of that thing and just watch your mouth when you do it you'll see when you get to the top edge of the area sam asked has changed into that little thing supposed to look like a little gripper kind of like a crip in a bar you could expand this to make it take up more space remember is going to go away the moment I moved my mouse out of it so fine if you need it big or if he needed to be tiny because if you haven't set to auto show on auto hide then when you move away it's going to get out of the way now that thing it's called a film script is consistent throughout all of light room that means if you're in anything in light room you're in the print module you're in the book module whatever modules you can have appear and you need to grab a different picture just move your mouse down to the bottom there and you can get to another image in the same folder that you reviewing so in this case I want a crop in image here we're looking at the inside of the hot air balloon that you see here in the air after they landed I was up in one of the balloons and one of these after they landed this is them are actually before we went up this is I'm filling it I think and I ended up going into a little vent area and shooting that but the other thing I really look out for a lot when I'm working with my images is what's going on in the corners anything in the corners especially diagonal lines in the corners are going to pull your eyes to the corners and if there's no payoff when you get there then it's really pulling them away from your subject and so we'll be fine if this was flowers in the corner where once you get there you're like cool glad I got pulled over here but otherwise I'm going to grab my crop tool and I'm gonna clean up those corners that shadow that was there in the upper left little corner that was there and just say how can I really make this a stronger image this area down here isn't really doing much so I might decide to just concentrate it on this this little shape if I want it or I might decide to bring all the way into there I kind of like that change in brightness all right so it kind of strengthen the image by concentrating yume or in on on what we have there uh and just know that cropping is never permanent as long as you did it in light room never permanent well the only time it's permanent is when an image gets exported out of light room and any time that happens it's a copy there is one other time it could happen and that is if I decide to keep not keep but I side to work on this image in photo shop that's getting out of light room it's going toe fully bake in the changes you made you might make changes in there and then it gets re imported in the light room but you'll still have your original picture sitting here and then you have a duplicate of that picture that has had the photo shop changes made so it's kind of weird to think about this forest is it permanent or not you will have the original you can get back to in this case I think I might do that they then let's talk about straightening our pictures I'm going to go to our crop tool and with crop tool if you look in here it's a really called crop and straighten and you see this little guy looks like a little bubble level like kind of level you put on a grandfather clock the level it or a picture frame waken do that uh I'm going just click on that icon in that makes the little bubble level tool kind of active I can come over to my image and I can click in drag and just tell it where what's the angle the horizon when I let go it's going to rotate the image to make the horizon horizontal and then I can adjust this cropping rectangle by grabbing its corners fine tuning this so going to make it so you don't need a lot of sky because there's not much going on in the sky so bring it down and then at least get rid of that edge the building there maybe bring that in a little stronger that way come up until I almost clip into his reflection there and then I just click on again the crop tool to get out of it now if you didn't like the angle that I ended up with their you wanted to be a little bit off you could either adjust the slider here called angle to say you want a different angle by doing that it's just going to rotate like this I'll choose undo command z or you could move your mouse on your image they just move it outside of the cropping rectangle throughout beyond it and then if you click and drag it's like you grabbing the photo and rotating it but I'll choose on dukes I like the one I had so cropping your image is uh it's something that I find maur images should be cropped if I see him online most the time I'm like having a virtual crop to in my head saying stronger photo you know if you crop down to something more more interesting now you can also tell that an image that's been cropped if you're not sure if you cropped it or not because sometimes what will happen is somebody will request an image and they'll say I need want this for the cover of a magazine and that means I need a vertical image and not only do I need a vertical image but it's actually good to have what I might call neutral content up at the top so they can put the name of the publication up there whatever text they put on their cover and so oftentimes I cropped those areas out for prince and portfolios but I might need him for other things so if you look at any of these images you're going to find now an icon in the lower right corner of the thumbnail for each that icon is supposed to look like the cropping rectangle that we applied and that means that we're not seeing the full view of that image and if you come in here and you click on the cropping that little icon it will take you into the develop module take you into the crop tool so you can see how much of that has been cropped so if I hit g to go back to the grid I can just click on that little icon brings me right in so I can see how much is it been cropped and therefore I could tell hey could I use this for magazine is there a bunch of nice neutral space up there that magazine's might like or not like this press the letter g to get back to the grid quick question for you and if you don't mind kathleen libya was wondering if there's a way when you're cropping get to change it from portrait or landscape to portrait uh yeah there's probably a shortcut of some sort that I'm actually not aware of because it's something I'm not used to using every day it's probably like arrows or or a little charcot there's probably one you could do with your keyboard but otherwise you could move your mouse out here and if you try to rotate usually you can end up getting it for just crab sea usually I end up just dragging it out so I don't actually have to deal with that s o but I'm sure there's a way to easily rotate it would just take me a moment to find it under here under tools most likely you could also have overlays by the way right now you'll find that I have the rule of thirds like a grid over this if you go to the tools menu when you're in the crop tool there is a choice called tulle overlay and you can say should I always show that overlay should I auto show it which usually means only when you have your mouse near the corners like you're actively re sizing and if you moved away it would go away or do you want to never see that grid that's on top of it right now and then if you choose crop guide overlay you have a bunch of choices including some some people would consider ridiculous like the golden spiral and that type of stuff but here's where you have that I usually just like it said two thirds or a grid grid is easier to figure out when your horizon is uh is straight because you can see how close is it to one of the grid lines I'm gonna leave mindset two thirds though uh that type of thing and then someone in charm suzan matthew actually just said you can use x to rotate the cry knew there was one there was so many different things yeah so if I had this I'll make it more obvious it's like this and I hit the letter x it would rotate the crops perfect thank you thank you and thank you suzanne for sure but yeah I just put the cross I just put it in the right way to begin with so I don't usually have to think about

Class Materials

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Bonus Packet
Post Processing Practice Files

Ratings and Reviews


After catching parts of each of the three days, I knew that I would need to have access to this wealth of information. What is great about the program is the ability to stop and go back over something that is not fully understood...and be able to do that until confident enough to move on. I saw no "fluff" in the course, just great information imparted with a style that is makes it easy to understand. CreativeLive scored a big hit with this course! The bonus material is SO valuable, especially the presets. That saves an enormous amount of time for me. My appreciation of the power behind the software is becoming ever clearer. Thanks, Ben, for another outstanding presentation!

Shannon Beelman Photography

Ben has been amazing! He is a wealth of information on organizing images as well as great tips to make your travel images pop just a little more. I came into this class feeling like I had a good handle on lightroom and have come out with a better understanding of the power of the software to make artistic life easier. He covers tips, tricks and little known options that help make workflow smother. I have sat here watching as much of the free broadcast as I can and in this last week I have gotten control over years of images in my lightroom. This is one I know I will be buying soon.


Great class! Somehow, it was enjoyable not having Ben default to "curves for everything"! I don't think the title for this course did it justice, tho. This class was 90% Light Room and 10% Photoshop. I was very happy to discover that dynamic and equally as happy to purchase this course! If you are new to Light Room, this class is a MUST. Creative Live offers several LR classes but this is the one to own. Ben is working on his new book about Light Room Mastery - can't wait! In the meanwhile, I'll be watching Ben's thorough approach to LR in this video. So, don't let the title throw you a curve ball, if you are new to Light Room or a seasoned user, there's plenty of great information - delivered as only Ben can! Thanks CL for this great class!

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