Cropping for Printing

When we go to print our photographs just out of the camera we often find they don’t really fit into the frame we want to use.  Frame manufacturers make them in standard sizes such as 5 x 7, 8 x 10, or 11 x 14.  Each of these ratios requires us to adjust how our photos are cropped slightly differently.  None of those sizes represents how the pictures come out of our cameras. Oh, and each camera sensor is slightly different.  It is always a good idea to leave a little extra room around your subject if you are not certain of how you want the final output to appear. Luckily, getting them to fit is easy these days and in Adobe Lightroom ®, doesn’t damage the original. Here is the photo of my daughter Ashley as it came out of the camera.Because I wanted to make both 8 x 10’s and 5 x 7’s I first made Virtual Copies of the pictures.  Because they are just equations, they take up no real space on the computer until I go to output them as .jpg files.

In the Develop Module, the Crop Tool is the very first choice.  You can straighten your pictures as well as change their size.  When you select an image, the crop tool puts a grid on your photo.  You can use the corners to shrink and move the image around.  When you press >Enter, it will resize the photo As with all LR changes, you can restore the original image with just a single click.   The little lock on the right side of the panel keeps the aspect ratio the same as your original shot.  If you want to get creative, simply unlock it, and you can adjust height and width independently.  Here is the result.   One of the great features added in LR3 was the ability to easily go from a 5 x 7 to a 7 x 5 crop, just by using the keyboard short cut of –x.  

This is what you get when you crop down to an 8 x10.  See how it makes the subject larger, while cutting off material on the top and the bottom of the picture.

If you use certain custom sizes on a regular basis, LR allows you to specify them and keep them available for future use.  Very handy, if you like shooting panoramas and want to keep the ratio the same for many pictures.