My favourite tool – the crop tool

Taken by Bren Ryan

I don’t know about you but there are times when you think you have taken the perfect shot, only to find when you are back home and importing your photos into Lightroom that the image you’ve just imported it is not what you envisaged when taking the original shot.  The composition is all wrong and you have not taken another photograph of the subject.  That photograph could end up in the bin or just sit there on a hard-drive never to see the light of day.

Taken by Bren Ryan – SOOC

Take for instance this photograph on the right… the rose is totally in the wrong place.  And yes it would have ended up in the bin or sitting there all along if it had not been for the crop tool in Lightroom.

The crop tool can be your friend, especially if you have the guide overlay set to what ever aspect ratio you want, if you don’t want to use their presets by going to Choose Aspect Ratio.

crop tool overlay

In Lightroom you can pick your guide by first clicking on the Crop tool and then going to Tools, Crop Guide Overlay, and selecting your Aspect Ratio.  As you can see mine is set to thirds, as this is the overlay that I feel more comfortable with and use for all my processing.

Another aspect some people like to use is the Golden Ratio, which is excellently described on Leanne Coles old Blog site in a post written by Sarah Vercoe.

Whatever guide you use.. you can still achieve some great results. Now back to my original image.  As the post was going on my website it really didn’t matter whether I kept the original Aspect of the shot locked or not.  But if you are printing your photos, just remember to check your sizes before clicking on the padlock.  The last thing you want to do is crop your photograph, do all your processing only to find when you print it, there is a huge border either on the side or the bottom.  To unlock the padlock in Lightroom, just click on it, once you have selected the ‘Crop Tool’ in the ‘Develop Module’.

Below is a cropped version of my rose using the same aspect ratio as the shot.

Cropped to original dimensions

As you can see, the Padlock is locked and I have put an angle on the photograph.  A quick tip if you crop in landscape mode and you want to make it portrait, just hit ‘x’ on your keyboard and that will change it crop. If you don’t like the new version after hitting ‘x’ just hit ‘x’ again and it will revert it back to landscape mode.  Or vice versa, should you originally crop in portrait mode.

As my photograph was being used for the web, I decided to unlock the padlock and choose my own dimensions for the crop.

cropped to non-original dimensions
Cropped to a different ratio of photograph

Finally when I finished my cropping for this photograph I added my B&W Soft Preset, and added some radial filters.

The crop tool is your friend and even if you don’t like the whole of the photo.. sometimes by using the crop tool there is an element of the photograph you can possibly crop and use for processing.  Like in this instance you don’t have to show the whole flower, just the parts that make a more pleasing composition.

2 thoughts on “My favourite tool – the crop tool

    1. Thank you… I am finding I am using the crop tool more and more.. especially for photographs that are going on the web… I still like to try and keep to the 3:2 ratio for the majority of my crops but do diverse sometimes if the photograph is only going on the web.


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