How to Crop in Lightroom

In Lightroom Tutorials by Stefano Caioni Leave a Comment

If you’ve ever found yourself trying to make edits to your photographs, you’re bound to have tried to figure out how to crop in Lightroom. This a very fundamental technique that can be employed to create quite a powerful effect. Several people underestimate the impact that just cropping an image can have. Let us explore cropping in Lightroom in this article.

Related: Lightroom Tips to Improve Your Photos

Why Crop an Image in Lightroom

The following are some of the reasons why you might want to crop an image:

Eliminating unnecessary objects from the edge of photos

This is probably one of the most popular applications of image-cropping. It can be used to remove people or objects that are not supposed to be in the photo, but ended up in the background accidentally. 

Emphasizing the subject

If an image has too many elements in it, or perhaps a lot of the background, it can reduce the impact of the subject. It also helps with removing unwanted noise and other distractions in the image. Cropping can help you focus the attention on the subject, creating a significant impact. 

Create an aesthetic composition

Composing an image is not random. There is a lot of thought and understanding that goes into a well-composed image, and there is a reason why it looks appealing. Cropping your image such that it follows the Golden Ratio or the Rule of Thirds can make an average photo suddenly stand out.

Increase the visual interest in your image

Oftentimes, it so happens that there may not be any real reason to crop an image, but it may still be worth your while to do so. This is to perhaps get a new perspective on your image or draw attention to some special elements in the photo. This is noticeable mainly in wedding photography.


Getting images print-ready:

Printing images require specifications that are totally different from what might be needed on a website. In such a scenario, cropping your image can be a great way to get them prepped for print. 

How to Crop in Lightroom Step-by-Step

Let us explore cropping in Lightroom in a sequential manner:

Importing the Image:

  • Open Lightroom
  • Navigate to the file
  • Choose ‘Import Photos and Video’
  • Select the image you want to import and click ‘Import’

Accessing the Cropping Tool:

Once the files are imported into Lightroom, you will now have to select the crop tool. You can find it under the Develop tab, on the right-hand toolbar. You can also use the keyboard shortcut ‘R’ to access the Crop and Straighten tool.

Straightening the Image:

This is a step that you might not always have to perform. However, getting your image straight before you crop is very important. Make sure you do it whenever you have to. Follow these steps if you have to straighten the image:

  • Place the cursor outside the border of the image.
  • Wait until your cursor turns into a double-ended arrow that is curved.
  • Click and drag as needed. This will rotate the image.
  • Stop clicking on the image once it has been adjusted to your satisfaction.

Cropping the Image:

You can crop an image to standard aspect ratios. To do so, follow these steps:

  • Click on the Aspect menu, which can be found at the right-hand side of the workspace.
  • Choose any standard size from the drop-down menu to crop it to that size.

Creating a Custom Crop for the Image:

You can also crop the image to any custom size using a crop box that can be resized.

  • Select a corner of the photo and hold the left mouse button.
  • Drag your mouse, while still holding down, to resize.
  • Move the box around to choose the region that you wish to retain.
  • If you drag the box from the edges, it will proportionally scale the crop region. This will not affect the aspect ratio.

Choosing the Ideal Crop:

Once you’re happy with the size of your cropped photo, you will have to use the tools in Lightroom, or your design sense, to decide how exactly you want to crop for that particular image. There are several in-built tools that you can use to crop an image well.

Exporting the Cropped Image:

  • Click on ‘Done’. You will find this button at the bottom of the workspace.
  • Go to ‘File’, and then click ‘Export’.
  • Follow the required procedure to export the image as per your liking.

Final Thoughts

Cropping is a great way to improve your photos. We hope that this article helped you understand the fundamentals of cropping in Lightroom.

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