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There are many reasons to crop a photo. Maybe you want to remove some distracting content around the edges or maybe you just want to improve the composition. Or maybe you need a photo to be in a particular aspect ratio because you need a print of a certain size that also has that same proportion. In any of those cases, you can access the Crop tool either by pressing the R key on the keyboard. Or by going over to the Toolbar under the Histogram and clicking the Crop Overlay icon in that toolbar. That opens the Crop and Straighten panel. Now to start cropping a photo, I'll just come in and click on any of its edges or any of its corners, and drag.
And by default, that makes the crop bounding box smaller in the same proportions as the height and width of the original photo. If I want to be able to drag these edges independently of one another, I'll come back to the Crop and Straighten panel, and I'll click this lock to unlock it. And now, I can drag any of the edges without dragging the other edges. I can also take a horizontal crop like this and swtich it to a vertial crop. To do that I'm going to press the X key on my keyboard. And if I want to crop in the same proportions over a different area of the photo, I'll click inside the bounding box and drag.
And the photo will move leaving the boudning box stationary. I notice that the area outside the crop bounding box is a little dimmer than the area inside. That can help you to judge the composition inside the bounding box, that here's the check that I like that helps me even more and that is to dim the lights. So, I am going to press L on my keyboard and now the lights are dim. But I can still see the outside of the bounding box and some of the controls. So I could easily move over any of the edges of this bounding box and drag. And I get a better sense of how the photo's going to look, after it's cropped this way. I'll press the L key on the keyboard again to turn the lights out completely, and one more time to turn them back on again.
Now sometimes, you need the crop bonding box to be a particular ratio. If I go to the menu to the left of that lock symbol, from there I can choose any one of a number of common crop ratios. 1 x 1 gives me a square crop, I can crop in a 4 x 5 ratio, which I would do if I wanted an 8 x 10 print, for example. And there are even some common crop ratios for video here. If I'm satisfied with my crop, I'll press Enter or Return on my keyboard and that commits the crop. But like everything in Lightroom, cropping isn't permanent. So at anytime in the future, I can re-crop this image because all of the original photo is still there.
So I can come back to the Crop tool by pressing R on my keyboard. Again, I'm going to press X so that I get a Portrait orientation crop, and I'll press Enter or Return again for a very different crop of the same image. Now let's take a look at another image down in the filmstrip. I'm going to press the left arrow key on my keyboard to move to the thumbnail on the left. This photo obviously needs a straighter horizon. And that can be done from the Crop and Straighten panel also. To open the Crop and Straighten panel again, I'll press R on my keyboard.
You can immediately see an overlay on top of the photo. That overlay is meant to help you with composition, and you can control the appearance of the overly by going down to the tool overlay menu in the toolbar. And if you don't want to see the overlay, you can set this to Never. Or if you want to see the overlay only when you hover over the photo, you can set that to Auto. And then as you press O on the keyboard, that will switch between different kinds of overlays, including this Aspect ratio overlay in Lightroom 5. I'm actually going to turn those off, by choosing Never for the time being. And let's say I want to straighten the horizon on this photo. There are several ways to do that, one of them is just to move the cursor outside of one of the corner anchor points and drag like this. Or, I can use the angle tool, here in the Crop and Straighten panel. I'll click on the angle tool to pick it up and then I'll move into the image. I'll click on an area I think should be straight, like this horizon, and I'll drag.
And then I'll release my mouse and Lightroom rotates the photo, so that the horizon is straight. I could still make the crop bounding box bigger or smaller by clicking on any of its corner anchor points and dragging. But I can't drag the bounding box larger than the image itself. If I'm satisfied with the straightening, I'll press Enter or Return on my keyboard. Now, there's another way that you can straighten photos automatically, and that's using the Upright feature in Lightroom 5, which I'll show you next.
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