How to Crop & Straighten Photos for a Perfect Finishing Touch (VIDEO)

Have you ever wondered why your images don't quite compare to those shot by photographers who make their living behind the camera? Sure, high-end gear and years of experience are important, but today's video from the Adorama TV YouTube channel lets you in on a secret you can start using today and it won't cost you a dime.

Instructor David Bergman is an accomplished NY pro specializing in celebrity portraits and sport photography. He also has an informative website where he answers common photography questions and you can even submit queries of your own.  

Bergman kicks off today's episode with this: "There are a couple things that pro photographers do to make our images feel more polished. What he's referring to here is carefully straightening and cropping photos to add an impactful finishing touch. At first these simple steps may seem inconsequential—until you hear what Bergman has to say and watch how he gets the job done.

Straightening is first on Bergman's list and he introduces the topic with a problem you may have noticed in your landscape photos, in which the horizon line isn't perfectly parallel to the top and bottom of the frame. Resolving this is super simple and you'll be surprised by how much this quick fix improves the appearance of an image.

Just take a look at the dramatic photo Bergman captured in the Norway's Lofoton Islands. It looks pretty great until you examine it closely and realize that the horizon is slightly skewed, i.e. leaning to the left. Many of us might be satisfied with the original photo—until you see how Bergman straightens it out and compare the final shot to the one he made in the camera.

Bergman uses Capture One for all his post processing, but you can use his straightening method in Lightroom, Photoshop, and just about any other image editor you may own. Bergman reveals that, "I do this with almost every image I shoot" including the outdoor sports portrait he uses as another example.

The second task that's just as important as straightening is cropping. Bergman admits that "there are some purists out there who want to shoot there images just right and not do any cropping in post, but I'm not one of those people."

That because cropping will often significantly improve a photo—especially when photographing sports and other events with fast action, and you don't have time for perfect composition while capturing the decisive moment. Here again, Bergman has some simple tips that he illustrates with eye-catching examples.

You can find more valuable videos by paying a quick visit to the Adorama TV YouTube channel, so be sure to do that. And don't forget to check out Bergman's popular website.