PhotoLab 4 - how to change the CROP setting for an entire session in PhotoLab 4

This morning I took about 100 photos with my Leica M10, and used PhotoMechanic to cut that number in half. I then copied all those photos into a folder within my PhotoLab filing system.

I opened PhotoLab, and one by one it seemed to be making the changes specified in the “STANDARD” preset. A few minutes later, everything is done, and I went to open the first image to review/edit in the CUSTOMIZE mode.

Here is my question. For every photograph I want to crop, I need to change the setting from “Original” to Unconstrained. This feels like a waste of time to me, especially so because I sometimes forget to do it. So, my questions:

1 - Is there any way to change the default setting for Crop to “unconstrained”?

2 - If not, is there any way to change it for this entire folder, during this editing session?

3 - I think someone once told me that if I hover my mouse over something (I don’t remember what) the crop setting for that image will change to unconstrained. If so, can someone please remind me of what to do?

Right now, it’s Mac, but if you have a good answer for Windows, please post that as well. I doubt that I’m the only person trying to figure this out. Thanks!!

Hi Mike,
Just press ‘shift’ on your Mac to switch to unconstrained :wink:


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Yes, when I get to making my own Preset, I will do that.

In the meantime, pressing SHIFT doesn’t do anything.


select all images in the filmstrip and go to unconstrained


You need to click on a corner of the crop rectangle and hold shift while resizing.

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Brilliant!!! If that works, I’m all set. Thank you!

Thanks - I’ll keep that in mind, but if Sigi’s idea works, this is no longer an issue for me.

MIke - this does not just work for cropping. If you want to have a certain effect on a bunch of files, just select them und click on a slider etc…
If you learn that you do a certain change regularly then of course it pays off to do a PARTIAL preset.

Sigi, once I’m comfortable using PhotoLab, I will consider what you suggest. For now, I just want to learn it, and get used to it, so doing things over and over is good for me. I don’t mind at all.

It’s different with the “crop” tool. Most of the time I crop based on the image I’m working on, and most of the time my crop is “unconstrained”. To me, this is just an annoyance, as I’m thinking about the image, not the tools, and when I start to crop everything adjusts at once. Nothing wrong with that, if I want it that way, but for my purposes each photo gets its own “crop”.

You write if I want to have a certain effect on a bunch of files - I didn’t realize that until now. So if my exposure was two stops underexposed for a string of shots, I can highlight them all, then adjust a slider, and all the selected images will be adjusted simultaneously. Wow. That is a VERY helpful concept. Thank you!

On Windows, it’s the Ctrl-key, Mike. Hold down Ctrl at the same time as you grasp (with your mouse) one of the crop handles - and PL will switch to Unconstrained.

John M

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I’ve got lots of ways to deal with this now, but I’d rather not have to “do” anything. Is there some system setting, that I have access to, that will change the crop setting every time I click on a not-yet-processed image to unconstrained ?

It’s annoying, as I usually forget, and get a bad crop. Then I correct the crop, and the image is set to unconstrained, but I’d rather have that set as the “default” setting for me.

It’s not a biggie, and not something I urgently need, it’s just an annoyance, reminding me that I’m not thinking clearly. My brain is involved in how I want to edit the image.

I guess the best solution I can think of is to make it part of a preset that I will use from then on.

Well, here’s a version of my Optical Corrections only preset, which sets the cropping mode to unconstrained but doesn’t apply any crop. If you are sure you want cropping to be unconstrained for all new images, make this the default.

Optical Corrections only (unconstrained crop).preset (1,1 Ko)

That is great news - thank. you very much!

In all the time I’ve used PL3 and PL4, I can’t think of even one time when I needed to crop to a particular shape. Instead, I’m usually capturing images within the original image size, leaving a buffer for cropping if needed to straighten the image, especially for my Leica cameras where the “edge” of the image is usually a rough guess.

If my goal was printing, and I wanted to fill a 16" x 20" paper size and frame size with my image, things might be different, but I’m just creating images to be viewed on someone’s computer screen. I suspect if I were selling images, again, there would be some incentive to use a “standard” size.

I don’t have an editing “plan” where I do things in a particular order. I start with whatever needs the most attention, and do those things, gradually working to the smaller adjustments. Cropping is usually one of the first things, before I do anything else, so I click on the CROP tool, but I hardly ever remember to click on the “constraint” adjustment. With your new preset, I can work the way I do “naturally”.

I suppose if I was setting up my camera on a tripod, I would be composing very carefully, and maybe then I would try to fill the screen with my image - would get me the best quality. I’m sure that you (and Ansel) did that, as you carefully configured your camera to capture an image. With my Leica, I’m usually (but not always) trying to capture a moment, and all my concentration is on that, not framing. Especially for action photos, my attention is mostly on “the moment”, and hopefully all my other settings have been adjusted ahead of time so they would work well enough. Zone focusing is one of them, but I’ve never really gotten very good at it. Exposure is another, but auto-exposure isn’t always an option, and you and others here have taught me to avoid it.

…have added your preset. Will start using it as my “default” as of today. Again, thank you!