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In one of my other lynda.com courses titled Narrative Portraiture I had the privilege of interviewing and spending some time with a fascinating and phenomenal photographer Rodney Smith. One of the things that he said is that composition to photography is kind of like rhythm is to music. And so here let's take a look at how we can improve the rhythm or the composition in our photographs. We will start off with this picture here, let's go ahead and double-click it in order to open it up in Camera Raw.
I really liked the simplicity of this picture, I like their expressions, it's natural, it's authentic. Yet the rhythm is just a little bit off because there is a subject looking into the frame in the background. What I need to do here is I need to simplify this photograph and so often when we use a Crop tool we think about cropping perhaps in a functional way. What I want you to do is to start thinking about how you can use this tool in artistic ways. How can you use is to improve perhaps the cadence or the rhythm or the music of your photographs? Well to work with this tool you can press the C key or you can click on the tool there.
Then you can go ahead and click-and-drag across your photograph, once you let go you'll notice you have these little handles. If you want to constrain the proportions we will hold down the Shift key and then click on one of those corner points. In doing that you can see I can constrain the original aspect ratio. On the other hand if you know that you're going to make a print a specific size maybe you want to make a 5x7 inch print. To do that or to create a crop like that, click on the Crop tool and then go to Custom.
In this Custom dialog what we can do is rather than choose Ratio I'll go to Inches, what I want to create is one that is 7 inches wide by 5 inches tall and then click OK. Well now this custom crop it will be limited to that particular size, it will also resize my image for me so that if I were to open this in Photoshop it would come into Photoshop as a 7x5 inch image. You can also hover over the corner points and you can click-and-drag these to change the overall angle of the crop as well.
To see how this crop looks, you can double-click inside of the crop area or you can press Enter or Return. Now if you don't quite like what you've done, just press the C key or click on the Crop tool again and it will change your view here and then we can recompose this image. Once again press Enter or Return in order to apply that. Well now that I've changed the composition of this photograph I'm really liking it much more. The next step is to go ahead and click the Done button, that will then apply that new crop to your photograph.
And you'll see that updated in your thumbnail and also in your Preview panel inside of Bridge.
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