Content-Aware Crop… Like Magic?  Or just Photoshop?  The jury is still out.

If you have ever opened the crop tool, you may have noticed the Content-Aware checkbox in the menu bar.  It is a pretty incredible feature that automates a lot of stuff I used to do when I cropped my images.  For instance, have you ever straightened the horizon in your photo and noticed a lot of your image is being cut off on the sides, but if you expand out the crop you get negative space?

We used to do a lot to fix that negative space in the past.  It entailed making a selection with the Magic Wand, Expanding the selection by 3-5 pixels, feathering the selection by 2-3 pixels and then select Content-Aware Fill from the fill dialog.  More often than not, we’d have to spend another 3-5 minutes cleaning up the lines with the Clone Stamp Tool.  Well, all of those steps are a thing of the past with Content-Aware Crop.


Lightroom and ACR cannot use the Content Aware function and will cut out important information in your image to avoid negative space.

You may want to take a look at this tutorial and keep a note lying around because it can be beneficial.  Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom are not as smart as Photoshop when it comes to cropping and will, in turn, cut off that critical negative space that could be used to enhance the composition.

In today’s tutorial, I have the perfect candidate for this feature.  I have a horizon that is WAY off due to composing the scene in camera rather quickly while the waves were approaching me.  If I tried to fix the horizon in ACR, I lost a killer composition because it cut off the top of the trees and grounded the eye of the viewer.  However, when I brought it into Photoshop and checked the content aware crop button, it made a WORLD of difference.

If you like this tutorial, check out the entire 90-minute course on cropping!

The Cropping Course!

Blake Rudis
f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer, he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.

For Blake, it's all about the art and process synergy. He dives deep into complex topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside-the-box thinking so that you can use these tricks in your workflow today!
Blake Rudis on EmailBlake Rudis on FacebookBlake Rudis on InstagramBlake Rudis on PinterestBlake Rudis on TwitterBlake Rudis on Youtube