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Cropping can save photos from a crooked horizon or unwanted subjects in the frame, but it can also be used to create new and interesting images. For this reason, it's closely connected to the photographic principle of composition. Join teacher and photographer Chris Orwig as he shows you how to refocus your eye and reorient your photos with cropping. Learn how to use the Photoshop, Lightroom, and Camera Raw suite of tools to straighten, remove distracting elements, fix distortion, and add creative effects.
Let's take a look at how we can crop and straighten our photographs quickly using Camera Raw. Here we'll be working with two different photographs, the first one is titled lake.jpeg. Go ahead and select that photograph then hold down the Cmd key and click on this other photograph, which is london.jpeg. Then navigate to the File pull down menu and choose Open in Camera Raw. When you click on that menu item it will launch these photographs in Camera Raw. Now this first image here obviously isn't level and what I want to do is fix that.
The horizon is tilted. Well, one way to do that is to work with the straighten tool. You can select that tool by tapping the A key or by clicking on the icon right here. Then all that you need to do is to click and drag over an area of your image that you think should be straight, in this case, the horizon, then let go. And what it will do, is it will crop the image and also rotate the crop so that that line, I should say, is straight and it will correct the photograph. If we double-click inside of this area, you can see how it performed then, how it straightened the picture out.
Now, sometimes what you may want to do is actually access the straighten tool another way. Let me show you how. Here if we go to the Crop pull down menu we can select Clear Crop, which will undo the crop and also the straightening of this picture. Often what we'll do is we'll work with our crop tool by selecting it, then you hold down the Cmd key on a Mac or Ctrl key on Windows to temporarily access the straighten tool. It's a really nice and handy shortcut that you can use. Drag that line across an area that you think should be straight, that will then crop the image and rotate it so that that will be straight.
Then press Enter on Windows, Return on a Mac in order to apply that crop and straightening to the photograph. This also works if you're working with lines which are horizontal or vertical. If we click into the image London, one of the things that we can see here is that this wall right here is not straight. We'll just straighten that. Let's use the technique which we learned in the previous photograph. We'll press the C key to select the crop tool or just click on the crop tool icon. Next, with the crop tool active, we can hold down the Cmd key on a Mac or Ctrl key on Windows, which gives us access to the straighten tool.
Click and drag the line over something that you think should be straight, that will then allow you to crop and also straighten the picture. If the crop isn't exactly where you want it, you can always move this around. You can hold down the Shift key and click and drag to make sure you're maintaining that same aspect ratio. Or you can also just change the crop as we know how to do as we've done in the other movies as well. Here, I'll go ahead and just bring this back to where it was. And then double-click inside of the crop area in order to apply that crop to the photograph.
And the great thing about using these techniques of course, is that these are all non-destructive. So if ever you want to go back and just slightly modify it a little bit, just tap the C key to reactivate the crop tool and then here we can crop into the photograph and change the overall composition if we want to. And then double-click inside of the cropped area in order to apply that crop to the photograph. Now we'll actually be working with these two images again in the next movie. So what I want you to do here is to go ahead and click Cancel, that will allow us to undo the cropping that we've done in this particular movie.
Because in the next movie we'll look at another technique that we can use, which will allow us to crop and to straighten these photographs.
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