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When you're editing a photo, you may want to crop it either to improve its composition, or to set it to a particular width to height ratio to fit into a frame when you print it. I'll use the Crop tool, which is located here in the toolbar. If you don't see the Crop tool there, click and hold on that tool slot, and select the Crop tool from the flyout menu. Up in the options bar for the Crop tool, I am going to go over to the Overlay menu, and I'm going to set it to None for now. I'll explain the overlays in just a moment, but first let's say that I want to print this photo at 8 by 10 inches, so that it fits into a particular frame that I have.
Down here at the bottom, if I click and hold, I can see that that the photo is now about 8 inches tall by 12 inches wide. So I have to try to fit this 8 by 12 into an 8 by 10 frame. That means I am going to have to crop away some of the photo. I'll go up to the Aspect Ratio menu, and I can change it from No Restriction to one of the sizes listed here. If I don't see the size that I need in this list, I can type a size into the Width and Height fields over here, but I do see 8 by 10 inches here, so I'll select that.
Then I'll come into the image, and I'm going to start at the bottom right because I know that I want this portion in my photo, and I'll click and drag up. And after just a moment, I can't go any further. I've now drawn an 8 by 10 ratio boundary. If I click inside that boundary and drag, I can move it to different areas of the photograph. I can click on any of its anchor points and drag, and I'll get a smaller bounding box, but it will always remain in an 8 by 10 ratio. If I like this result, I would click the green check mark to confirm it. I am actually going to cancel it by clicking the red symbol down here.
Now let's say that I'm starting again, and I have another reason to crop, and that is just to improve the composition. I think there's just a bit too much here, and there's no real focal point the way I framed the photo when I shot it. So I am going to go up to the Aspect Ratio menu. I am going to change that to No Restriction, because I don't really care about the exact aspect ratio of the cropped photo, and that removes the width and height from these fields. Then I'm going to come over to the Overlay menu, and I'm going to select one of these overlays to help me get the best composition. The Rule of Thirds and the Grid have been in Elements for awhile.
In Photoshop Elements 10 there's a new overlay, and that's the Golden Ratio overlay. Let's look at that one. I'll select Golden Ratio, and then I'll come into the image and I'll click and drag a bounding box. Notice this white, black, and green point here. The idea of the Golden Ratio is to put that point on top of the part of the image that I want to emphasize. To do that, I can click inside the bounding box, and I can move the bounding box around, so I might put it right there. And then I can make the bounding box bigger or smaller, the same way I showed you before, by moving over any of the anchor points and dragging.
What if I wanted the focal point to be over on the left instead of the right? Then I would come over to this icon in the options bar and flip the Overlay horizontally by clicking there, and then I could put the anchor point exactly where I wanted over here on the left. What if I want the focal point up at the top of the image? Well, there is no vertical flip button, so what I have to do is move my mouse over any of the corner anchor points, and the cursor will change to a curved double pointed arrow, like this. And then I'll click and drag, and I'll rotate this bounding box.
I could rotate it vertically like that, or I can keep going and get it all the way around, like this. And now to get the focal point over here on the left, I'm going to click the Flip Overlay button. Then I'll click and drag that focal point where I want it; maybe on top of this shiny plum. I'll adjust the bounding box a bit to crop away these unwanted elements out here, and when I'm satisfied with the result, I'll click the green check mark. And there's my cropped image, and I do think the composition is improved from the original photo.
So that's how to use the Crop tool to improve composition or to crop a photo so it's exactly the right ratio to fit in your frame.
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