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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 most typical, digital photographic workflows, we begin our work with Adobe Camera Raw, or Lightroom. And here in this chapter, we'll focus in on Camera Raw. In this movie, we'll talk about how we can begin to use the crop tool in Camera Raw, in order to recompose our photographs. We'll be working with two different images which I want to select here in Bridge. So go ahead and navigate to the folder, O2 cropping in Camera Raw, then click on this image, rob.cr2, hold down the Cmd key on the Mac, Ctrl key on Windows and then click on this other image which is erin.dng, next I want to open up both of this photographs in Camera Raw, to do so, we'll navigate to the file pull down menu, and then select open in camera or of course, you can always use a shortcut, which is listed here.
That's Cmd+R on a Mac or Ctrl+R on Windows. So either way, either by using the shortcut or by selecting this menu item here, let's go ahead and open up both of these images inside of Camera Raw. Now, whenever you're working in Camera Raw, it's a good idea to work in it in fullscreen To do that, tap the F key, that allows you to take this to full screen, or you can also click on the full screen icon right here. In that way you can really just focus in on the task at hand, and that is here, working in Camera Raw.
All right, well let's begin with this image, which we've already seen previously. But let's take a look at how we can crop this photograph. To select the crop tool. You can press the C key, or you can just click on the crop tool icon which is located right here. Now, if you press and hold down on the icon, you'll notice that you have a number of different options. The two options that I want to make sure you have checked on are Normal and also Show Overlay. We'll talk about that in just a second. But for now just make sure there's a little check next to both of those options. And if there isn't, just click on that, and that will then allow you to then add that, by simply going to that menu area, and then letting go of your cursor.
With this first image, what I want to do is a Free Form Crop, which allows us to get closer to the subject. To do that here, we'll simply click and drag over the image. And here we're just dragging a free form shape. You can see how I can change that shape. And then we'll go ahead and let go when we get close to the crop area that we want to work with. Next if we want to customize this, we just position our cursor over any of the edges, or corners. And then we can click and drag in order to move this around. We can also position our cursor over the area inside where we're cropping.
And we can click and drag this around in order to crop a different area. Now currently we have this overlay turned on. We can see we have a rule of third on top of the photograph. And I'm going to position the eyes in this area. This will be a nice place to have those. Create a nice balance and kind of dynamic composition here with this photograph. Then to apply this crop, we have a few different options. One option is to press Return on a Mac, or Enter on Windows. Another option is to simply double-click inside of the crop area.
And that will then allow you to apply the crop to your photograph. And now if you've made a mistake or if you want to experiment a little bit more, just tap the C key. That will allow you to reactivate the crop tool, or you can always click on the crop tool icon, and then you could customize this further and you could make a few minor adjustments in order to change the way that you're cropping your photograph. And here I'll just make a few tweaks. And then, double-click inside of this area, in order to apply that crop to the photograph. Well after having worked on this image, let's work on another.
Click onto the image erin.dng, this other photograph which we opened. And one of the things I notice with this portrait is that it's a little bit too much to the left. And I want to sort of straighten things out a little bit. I feel like we have too much space in this area of this picture. And this is a picture that I captured just a couple of days ago. And I think when I was composing, I was just a little bit off. So I want to fix that. Yet this time when I fix this, I want to maintain the current aspect ratio of this image. To do that, we'll go ahead and select the crop tool here.
And this time, I'm going to click and drag outside of the image and just drag over the entire photograph. Notice how that stretches the crop area all the way to the edge of the image. Now if we want to constrain the aspect ratio we can just hold down the Shift key and then click and drag, notice how when I click and drag now it always maintains that aspect ratio if ever you let go of the Shift key well then its more of a free form shape here, so again go ahead and hold down the Shift key and then click and drag to reposition this.
Then you can let go of the Shift key, and let go of your mouse cursor button, and then just click and drag to re-position this. Press the Shift key again, and then just click and drag to extend this out. In this way, we can just make sure we have that aspect ratio, which sometimes, when we're cropping images, is really important. Well, to apply this crop to the photograph, here we'll just double-click that and it will then apply the crop to the image. And in this case I think it makes for a stronger portrait. It's a little bit better. And I just like the overall look and feel of the image.
And a lot of times when you're cropping your photographs you want to think about the rules and the guidelines which I've already suggested but you also want to trust your gut. You want to ask yourself, well, is this better. And sometimes what can happen is you can make mistakes. The great thing about using Camera Raw is you can just tap the C key to re-access the crop tool, and then re-crop it, and then you can just modify the crop in order to improve it. Again, to apply this, we can press Return on a Mac, or Enter on Windows. Well now that we've cropped an image, or multiple images in Camera Raw.
In order to apply the crop to the photographs. Simply click on the Done button which is located in the lower right hand corner. And that will then apply the crop to the photograph and we'll see some updated versions of our images here inside of Adobe Bridge.
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