Tip – A Cool Cropping Tip in Lightroom 3 Beta

Knowing how to crop a horizontal image into a vertical one or vice versa, has always been this little secret among Lightroom users. If you stand on one foot, jump up and down and its the 4th day of the month, during a full moon of course, you can swap your cropping orientation from vertical to horizontal in a snap :) OK, I’m kidding (a little). I will say that doing this with the crop tool before LR3 wasn’t necessarily obvious, as you always had to move your cursor outside the crop rectangle a little and rotate it around to get the crop orientation to switch. But in Lightroom 3 (beta 2 that is), all you have to do is press the letter X while in Crop mode and it’ll switch automatically. Sweet!
Have a great Friday folks, and I hope you enjoy a very Happy Easter weekend :)

Author: Matt Kloskowski

Matt is the Vice President of Photography for onOne Software and a Tampa-based photographer. He's a best selling author of over 20 books and teaches Lightroom and Photoshop at seminars and conferences around the world.

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  1. Thanks Matt your a champ . I was waiting for every second Tuesday before attempting my crop. I’m sweet now cheers

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  2. Okay … I stumbled on this and it is now August 2011 and I spent a good chunk of my time trying to figure this out in LR3 version 3.4.1. I stood on my head and twirled my mouse in various directions etc. finally got it to work, but don’t know how! I never found the X key, just tried, and it worked. Thank you thank you thank you!

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  3. More information please? Every time I press x key I get “Set as Rejected.” I tried using ctrl+x and shift+x but neither of those works either. I tried pressing the x key while actually dragging the crop corners around with the mouse, but that doesn’t work. I am using LR3 ver, 2.7, and I am assuming that by “while in crop mode” you mean with the crop overlay on? Actually, that assumption MUST be wrong otherwise using the “x” key would change the aspect, not reject the image in the library…?

    vitality, thanks for the dragging tip! I have always changed aspect in the worst possible way (i.e. used a different photo editing program, unlocked the aspect, and tried to get the edges to match the image in the other program, lol), and didn’t know it could be done in LR. It puzzled me that LR would overlook this important feature. Soooooo much better!

    Lyle, kickass tip, thanks!

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    • Hi,
      Make sure you’re using Lightroom 3 Beta 2 and you’re in crop mode first. I just tried it and it worked.


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  4. I have been using Lightroom sense version 1. I am trying Lightroom beta 3.2 on a Macpro with 11g of memory. When I use the crop tool before any color or lighting adjustments, it works fast. If I apply adjustments to color, exposure, etc. it reacts very slow and jumpy. I am not sure if I am the only one that is having this problem??
    I just upgraded my OS from Tiger to Snow Leopard, but LR2 works great without the crop issues. I am also trying it on my MacBook Pro with the same crop problems with LR3. My normal workflow is to first us a user preset for light and other adjustments. Then I go through each picture and crop and fine tune the batch adjustments if they need it.

    Anyone else having the same problem?

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  5. Somehow I liked the Before dunno y…but I wasn’t there so I can’t really say what’s the best..

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  6. As so often, it is the little things that make life so much easier.
    Thank you for the tip Matt!

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  7. I suspect it was the vibrance slider. But increasing the blue luminance slider would also produce the added blue in the sky.

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  8. @franz – if you have the crop tool selected, pressing on the CTRL key will show the ruler, you can drag out a line and it will rotate your image so that line is parallel to an end of the crop. I just tried it and it still works in the LR3 Beta 2. (Someone else posted this a while back, it’s not something I found documented but haven’t looked either…)

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  9. What I really miss is a shortcut for the angle/straighten tool

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  10. Thanks Matt, this saves a lot of time!.

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  11. More horsing around with the crop tool?



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  12. I never really had a big issue with this. Just learned it by intuition.

    From Landscape to Portrait:
    1. grab Top-Right corner and start dragging it towards Bottom-Left.
    2. when you are about in the middle, now start dragging it towards Top-Left.

    From Portrait to Landscape
    1. grab Top-Right corner and start dragging it towards Bottom-Left.
    2. when you are about in the middle, now start dragging it towards Bottom-Right

    still thanks!

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  13. @Dave – Matt briefly talked about his here: http://lightroomkillertips.com/2007/lightroom-qa-3/.

    Pretty much, if you are in crop mode (R is the shortcut key), grab one of the corners and drag it straight across, left or right (for landscape images), or up or down (for portrait images). Once you’ve gone to about the half-way point of the image, the orientation of the crop will switch.


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  14. I must be in the minority… I find switching the orientation of the crop a natural thing to do with the mouse. However, if someone had asked me to explain how it is done, I would probably just say, “ummm… just kind of do it.” I never realized this was an issue or that I was doing some complicated mouse manipulation.

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  15. Matt, If you can change the crop orientation in LR2, can you show us? I’ve never been able to figure it out. I’m glad it’s in LR3, but until I upgrade to the final release, is there a way to do it in LR2?

    Thanks & have a great weekend.

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  16. A great tip! This is one of those small, subtle changes that I think will really speed up the workflow process over time. My only complaint… I forget when I’m back in Lightroom 2 that it won’t work.

    I echo Ben and Glyn who commented above… hope you have a great Easter!

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  17. Thanks for the tip Matt; certainly a pretty easy one to remember that one :)

    The difference from LR3 to the LR3.2 Beta is quite something so it’s going to be very interesting to see what little surprises Adobe put into the final release.

    Have a great Easter Weekend,
    All the best to you,

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  18. Thanks Matt, in a way, I’ll think i’ll miss that frustrating mouse flick you currently have to do that was learnt more by luck than anything :)

    Looking desperately forward to the full release of LR3 now.

    Happy Easter!

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