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How do I crop to a specific ratio? from Lightroom: Tips and Quick Fixes by Richard Harrington

Let’s talk about sizing an image. One of the questions I hear most often is how do I crop to a specific ratio? For example, maybe you need to put this into a slide presentation, or you’re getting ready to drop it into a video that’s 16 by nine, or a printed frame that’s five by seven, or one by one square image for something like Instagram. Well, let me show you. Select an image that you’d like to work with. Double-click to open it, and go the Develop module. You’ll notice a tool right up here at the top. This is cropping.

When you click, you’ll see the crop overlay. Immediately below are controls for the tool. You’ll notice that the default is the original ratio. This will force you to crop using the original shape of the photo. If you click the lock icon, now you can go with any shape that you want, but ultimately,you’re likely going to want to stick with the preset. You’ll see here that you can choose sizes. For example, a four by five, which also equates to an eight by 10.

As you start to crop, you’ll notice that it constrains, and you start to pull in, you could actually switch it from horizontal to vertical. So you’ll notice here that it does support two different shapes, in this case, four by five, or five by four. From that popup list, there are many different choices. So, if this were for a video project, I might choose 16 by nine, and now, as I adjust the cropped image, it’s going to constrain things.

You may also notice that there’s an overlay here. This is helpful in this case with the rule of thirds for placing things. If you want to change that, you can go into the Tools menu, and go to the Crop Guide Overlay, and you’ll see many different ratios available. The grid can be useful if you’re checking for the straightness of things. I see that the road is angled a little bit. So this could come in handy with straightening that image using the grid as a general guide. Things look great, so I’ll go ahead and press Return, and the image is cropped.

Now we’ve cropped to a specific size as well as straightened. As you see, the crop tool’s really quite powerful. Let’s do that one more time. I’ll click on this next image here, and I’d like to do a crop for Instagram. From the Develop module here, I’ll choose the crop tool. The shortcut key is r.Now, from the popup list, I’ll choose an aspect ratio, and it constrains. Let’s adjust the shape, and the relative position, and when satisfied, press Return, and the image is cropped.

Remember, after cropping, you can still easily make adjustments. If you use the angle tool to straighten or rotate the image, it will automatically re-crop using the same relative shape. So you’ll see that it might have to adjust the crops slightly tighter if you rotate the image. When satisfied, just click Close and the crop is applied.