In the previous article, we discussed the second crop that occurs when you are cropping for die-cut wallets and how you can compensate for this using the Lightroom Loupe Overlay feature. You can read all about that here.
Extending the thought to other instances of cropping where additional care is required, it is time to consider frames and mattes (or mats – if you prefer). When you crop to and print an 8×10 inch picture, for example, you purchase an 8×10 matte or frame into which to place your image. The paper you receive is a true 8.0” x 10.0” in size. Frames and mattes require some additional tolerances to allow for the mounting of a picture and affixing it to the matte, or allowing for the structure of the frame. This means the ‘hole” is often smaller and needs to be considered. On an 8×10 for example the actual opening is more like 9.5” x 7.5”!
The silver rim on the pictured frame occupies physical space which, in an unmatted print, pilfers real estate from your image. In a matted print, the window on the matte is slightly smaller than advertised so that there is room to affix the print without any gaps and to provide good contact for the print to matte interface. Either way, (unless you use a frame designed to show the entire image) you will be sacrificing some real estate from your carefully cropped print.
I am pretty happy with the crop on this image. It was shot as a 2:3 Aspect ratio and then cropped to a 5×7 for printing. Without physically making a print and putting it into a frame I might not realize that I am really tight on the sword point in the upper left. To help me when cropping, I created a PNG file that shows the standard frame/matte window size for a 5×7 print. Applying this to a Loupe Overlay in Lightroom ( View>Loupe Overlay>Layout Image ) allows me to see a view like this.
The Loupe Overlay shows me those areas (in red) that might be at risk for loss due to the matte-window size or frame window size. As you can see, I lost the sword point! That is a pretty critical item in the composition of this photo. This overlay lets me know very quickly that I need to do some work to add back some space in the shot before cropping and printing so that I don’t cover up an important detail with the frame or matte.
I have highlighted the appropriate dialogs in the Lightroom Interface. Lightroom stores the most recently used 8 overlays so you can quickly recall those you use most often.
Imagine a group photo…, like a wedding party, posing in a line and when space is tight, sometimes those attendants get a little close to the edge. If someone orders the wrong size picture, a bridesmaid gets chopped in half when put into the frame and your a client isn’t happy with the lack of space when they get the shot back from the frame shop. Having a few overlay guides to work with will help you visualize and compose in the true space you need when all is completed and delivered.
The dramatization above illustrates what I you are up against. A few PNG files appropriately placed in your Lightroom interface can go a long way toward ensuring that you are cropping and finishing your images with compositions intact.
Above are 5×7, 8×10 and 11×14 Portrait and Landscape PNG files that match the standard frame and matte windows. You can save these by clicking on the image to show it at full size and then saving it to your computer. After that, using them in Lightroom is all up to you…
Rikk Flohr © 2015