Often when I crop, its all about precision. I frequently need to crop to a specific aspect ratio. Sometimes its for the screen (video projects and slideshows) as well as print output. In these cases, I need the shape of my photo to precisely match my target. Fortunately Lightroom makes this easy
Step 1: Select an image for cropping
Step 2: Choose the Crop Overlay tool by pressing the R key. This will even switch you from the Library module to the Develop module. An outline appears around the image with adjustment handles to modify the crop.
Step 3: Examine the Crop Overlay tool in the tool drawer. A closed padlock means the crop tool is constrained to a preset. While, you can click the lock to unconstrained the crop tool, lets focus on using a specific aspect ratio preset.
Step 4: Click the a Aspect pop-up menu next to the padlock to choose an aspect ratio. The following choices are available (international localizations may contain different sizes).
- As Shot: This matches the original ratio of the photo.
- Original: This essentially uncross the image and restores it to its original crop.
- Custom: More on this later
These ratios are common print sizes.
- 1×1: This is a square-shaped crop.
- 4×5 / 8×10: This is a popular print size.
- 8.5×11: This matches a standard sheet of paper in a US standard.
- 5×7: Another sized crop used for prints and frames.
- 2×3 / 4×6: These two sizes are also widely used for prints.
The sizes are frequently used for multimedia projects.
- 4×3 1024×768: This matches many older computer and revision monitors.
- 16×9 1920×1080: This is the aspect ratio for most video projects.
- 16×10 1280×800: This is the ratio of most widescreen computer monitors.
Tip: If you’d like to use the Crop Overlay tool with the last settings used, press Shift+A.
Tip: You can also enter a custom preset size at the bottom of the menu.
Step 5: Drag a crop handle to crop the image. You can also click to select the Crop Frame tool to freely position the crop.
Step 6: You can modify the crop behavior if needed with a keyboard shortcut. Press the X key to toggle the orientation of the crop between portrait and landscape.
Step 7: Press Return (or Enter) to apply the crop. You can exit without cropping by pressing the Escape key.
Remember, all cropping is nondestructive. You can always revert a cropped image by choosing Original from the pop-up menu to restore an image to its original crop.
Rich has published over 100 courses on Lynda.com. Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.
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