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#40 Cropping, Rotating, and Straightening

The advantage of cropping, rotating, and straightening in Camera Raw is simple: What would be destructive in Photoshop can be done nondestructively in Camera Raw. The ability to reconstruct the image to its precropped, rotated, or straightened state provides a creative “safety net” that is helpful for amateurs and pros alike.

Cropping and rotating

To crop an image in Camera Raw:

  1. Open an image in Camera Raw. Click and hold on the Crop tool to choose a preset aspect ratio for your crop area. You can also use this menu to clear a current crop.
  2. To define a crop area, drag out a rectangle around the area that you want to preserve. The part of the image that will be cropped is grayed out (Figure 40a).

    Figure 40a

    Figure 40a Drag a rectangle around the area you want to keep.

  3. To modify the size of the crop, drag any of the middle or corner anchor points.
  4. To reposition the crop area, click anywhere inside it and drag.
  5. When you are finished with your crop, press Enter (Windows) Return (Mac) to view the results.


An important element of a photograph is a level horizon line. The Straighten tool can help you level or straighten your image in no time at all. Choose the Straighten tool on the toolbar and drag along an object in the image that should be level. This will automatically rotate and crop the image so that the line that you created is straight (Figure 40b).

Figure 40b

Figure 40b Drag with the Straighten tool along a line that should be horizontal.

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