Photoshop guru Martin Evening sorts out your photo-editing and post-processing problems. Here he discusses the use of a narrow crop to improve a composition.
From this angle of view, it looks like Valery Egorov’s photograph was taken from the top of St Paul’s Cathedral, looking down on the Millennium Bridge linking Peter’s Hill to the Tate Modern. What stands out most is the aerial view of the people walking across the bridge. It reminds me of Vincent Laforet’s photograph ‘Me and my Human’, taken of ice skaters in New York’s Central Park.
However, the people and the bridge are rather lost in the original full-frame view, so I chose to zoom in more and crop to highlight what was happening on the bridge. I also straightened some lines to help create a symmetrical composition. This was about as close as I could go without losing sharpness, but it might have been interesting to shoot from this viewpoint using a longer lens to produce an even tighter composition.
1. Alignment adjustments
The first step was to get the bridge to appear vertically aligned. To do this, I went to the Lens Corrections panel in Camera Raw and explored Upright adjustment settings. Here, I selected the Auto setting combined with a few manual transform adjustments. I also set the Aspect slider to -98 to stretch the width.
2. Cropping out noise
I then selected the Crop tool and carefully cropped the image to remove the building in the bottom-left corner (which was quite distracting) and adjusted the crop handles so the bridge now appeared perfectly centred in the image (cropping the bottom section would also work as well).
3. Basic tone adjustments
Here you can see the cropped image with a tighter view of the people on the bridge. With the Basic panel selected, I made some tone adjustments to increase the contrast slightly. I also needed to go to the Detail panel to boost the sharpness and reduce some of the luminance noise.