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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.
In this move I want to talk about, how we can view and customize, the crop overlay graphic so that we can use this to improve the way that we crop, and compose our photographs. Let's begin by working with this image here, it's titled nate.cr2. It's a photograph of one of my friends down in Mexico on a surf trip. And here if we tap the R key to select the Crop Tool, or if we click on the Crop Tool icon, you'll notice that we have this rule of thirds overlay graphic on top of the image. Sometimes we can use these overlay graphics to help us to try to figure out how we might want to crop our images.
Now you'll notice in the tool bar below we have the ability to change the tool overlay or the way that the overlay is displayed, if we have it on always we will always see in this case the rule of thirds overlay or we can click on this menu we can choose a few other options, if we select Never that will forever hide that so as we click to drag this or to change the composition we will just see the photograph. On the other hand, if we choose the option of Auto, we will only see the overlay when we actually are recomposing the image or cropping the image.
Then when we let go of that, it will disappear. You'll want to choose the option that will be most useful to you. And in my own work flow, I find that the tool overlay option of Auto typically works best, because this allows me to see that overlay graphic and then perhaps recompose the image so the subject is there right on the intersecting lines of the rule of thirds then you can let go of it, because its helpful to see the image without that because you have to keep in mind that the final viewer will not see an overlay on top of the photograph.
For demo purposes though, I'm going to turn this back onto always, so we can talk a bit more about the overlay graphic. Now there are a number of different overlay graphics that we have access to. Here I want to apply this crop, so I'll double click this in order to apply that crop to the photograph, and I want to navigate to a demo slide which I have here which shows us the different overlays. Here you can see we have different overlay graphics. And we can view all of these graphics once we have the crop tool active and we press a shortcut key.
Let me show you what that is. We'll go back to the photograph which we were on previously, this one here. Let's reactivate the crop tool by clicking on the crop tool icon. And next, let's cycle through the different overlay graphics. When you tap the O key, you can see here that we can navigate through the various overlays that we have here. Including one, which allows us to have some overlays, which we can then use as guides to crop to specific aspect ratios. We'll talk a little bit more about that one later.
Yet for now, I want you to tap the O key to cycle through the different overlays. Now if ever you come to AN overlay where you have one that has sort of specific orientation, you can always flip-flop that by pressing Shift and then the O key. And here you can see how I can flip-flop this particular graphic. If we tap the O key again and navigate to the one which shows us the Golden Mean here, you can press Shift+O, and that will then rotate, or cycle that through the different positions in your image. Which sometimes can help you to come up with a better way to crop, or to compose your photograph.
And again, just tap that O key to go through those until you find one which will, perhaps, work for you, and typically, what works best is the rule of thirds. That's the most common overlay, and that's why that one is the default option. All right, well after having gone through those overlay options, let's go ahead and double-click inside of this crop area so that we can then apply the crop to the photograph.
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