Cropping is a very important part of image development and while Lightroom (both the 1.4.1 and beta 2.0 versions) allows for many variations in cropping, only five items can be saved as custom cropping sizes. For many photographers, this is not enough. Think of the simple home photographer that wants to print only 4×6, 5×7 and 8×10 prints. They would need six presets: 4×6, 6×4, 5×7, 7×5, 8×10, 10×8 in order to efficiently manage crops.
I have an idea that would make it easy to store as many cropping requirements as you would need. Let’s use the custom preset creation.
Currently, Lightroom allows for a wide variety of develop module settings to be stored in a custom preset. Simply check the box and that setting is saved. Interestingly enough, cropping is not a choice.
Some schools would say that including cropping would defeat the universality of a development preset. That is true. However, there is no current way to store more than five preset cropping levels and, quite frankly, using a menu to store more than that would not be efficient.
The preset items, however, can be sorted and stored within folders making organization extremely easy. Consider the following workflow:
a) import an image.
b) apply a development preset to adjust contrast, colors, etc.
c) apply a cropping preset for say, 11×15
d) print the image to frame and hang
e) apply a cropping preset for say, 800×600
f) export the image as a 800x600px jpeg for the web
g) come back and apply a cropping preset for say, 8×10
h) print another copy of the image for a portfolio book to save.
All easy to do with a preset that only checks and saves the cropping. The other presets could be saved with everything but the cropping.
There may be another way to store infinite crop settings, but this was the one I could come up with. I hope we can add this functionality to Lightroom 2.0.