In this video, How to Use the Crop Tool the Right Way, professional nature photographer David Johnston gives you tips on how to use the crop tool to achieve an ideal, balanced composition.
David works with an outdoor image of a beautiful tree in a field of wildflowers. To get movement in the clouds, he employed a long exposure. In Lightroom he goes to the Develop mode and clicks on the Crop Overlay tool. This brings up a grid which helps for correctly lining up the horizon line. It also helps the eye determine where to position elements in the image. Another couple clicks and David chooses how to crop his image. This is the simplest method for using the crop tool.
To complement your composition, there is more you can do. You press the O key on your keyboard, which will bring up a number of cropping options or “composition helpers,” as David calls them. The goal is to fine-tune your composition. To position the tree in the exact center of the image, David repeatedly clicks on the O key until he finds the right grid. This allows him to crop out part of the sky until the tree is centered. Next, he finds a grid with diagonal crossing lines and makes a few more small adjustments.
Join Outdoor Photography Guide’s professional nature photographer David Johnston to learn how to use the crop tool the right way. With David’s guidance, you will learn how to use the crop tool to achieve a balanced composition.