Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Cropping and straightening photos

From: Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training

Video: Cropping and straightening photos

The Crop tool and the Straighten tool, both change the composition of a photo. As I will show you in a minute these tools are sometimes used together, but first, let's see how each tool works on its own. The Crop tool cuts away one or more edges of an image. You might use it to remove unwanted objects at the edge of a photo, or to make a composition look more balanced, or to cut away some width and/or some height so that a photo fits a particular physical frame. Keep in mind that cropping an image is different than resizing an image using the Image Size command as I showed you in the last movie.

Cropping and straightening photos

The Crop tool and the Straighten tool, both change the composition of a photo. As I will show you in a minute these tools are sometimes used together, but first, let's see how each tool works on its own. The Crop tool cuts away one or more edges of an image. You might use it to remove unwanted objects at the edge of a photo, or to make a composition look more balanced, or to cut away some width and/or some height so that a photo fits a particular physical frame. Keep in mind that cropping an image is different than resizing an image using the Image Size command as I showed you in the last movie.

The Image Size command would make the whole photo smaller. But it would keep the Width and Height in the same proportion as the original. With the Crop tool I can change the Width and Height so that they're not in the same proportion as the original. I am going to select the Crop tool, here in the toolbox and then I will move into the image. And I will click and drag out of bounding box. I can fine-tune the bounding box by moving my mouse over any of the edges or the corners and dragging like this and like this.

When I'm happy with the result I will click the green check box. And that's cropped away all of the image outside of that bounding box. So that's how to use the Crop tool when you really don't care about the size of the resulting image. But let's say that you do. Let's say that I am resizing this image because I need to put it in a particular project at 2.5 inches wide by 2 inches tall. To show you how to use the Crop tool in that case, I'm going to click the Undo button to go back to the original. And I'm going to go down to the document information field at the bottom of the document window and click there to see that the current Width and Height are 3 inches wide by 2 inches tall, and that the Resolution is 300 pixels in every inch which is the resolution that I want for a photo that I'm preparing for print.

So I am going to make the photo not 3 inches wide but rather 2.5 inches wide. And I will leave it at 2 inches tall. But I do want it to be 300 pixels per inch because I want to take the image to print. I will go up to the Options Bar for the Crop tool and I'll check the Aspect Ratio menu. In this case I do have an option here of 2.5 inches by 2. But if I needed a size that wasn't in this menu I could just type that size into the Width and Height fields in the Options Bar.

So I'll select that and that automatically fills in the Width and Height fields. I also want to specify the Resolution because I know that I'm taking this image to print. And so I wanted to keep 300 pixels in every image. If I didn't type resolution in that box, Elements would automatically change the resolution of the resulting image. And depending how wide I drag out my bounding box and I might end up with an image that doesn't have enough resolution to make a good print. So now I am going to drag out a bounding box.

I am in a start in the top left corner and I am going to drag as far as I can go to show you that when I reach 2.5 x 2 inches, I can't go any further because Elements is retaining the aspect ratio that I specified. Now when I click the green check mark Elements will just cut off this half inch on the right. And the image looks fine and if I look at the Document Information field, I now I have a 2.5 x 2 inch image at 300 pixels per inch which is what I want for print. There is one thing to be careful of; if you do specify the width, height and the resolution, you don't want to crop just a small area of the photo because then Elements will enlarge that area to fit those dimensions and that resolution.

So if I just were to draw a bounding box around the tugboat in this image and then click the check mark, the resulting tugboat image is going to be really blurry because it's been enlarged to meet my request to make it 2.5?2 inches with 300 pixels in every inch, and there's just wasn't that much information in that small area in the original image. So that's the Crop tool. Now let's take a look at the Straighten tool. For that I am going to switch to another image that I have opened, which is this vertical photo that I took on an angle.

Let's say that I don't want that horizon to be at such an angle. I'd rather have it be straight across the photo. I will get the Straighten tool in the toolbar, and I'm going to start by going to the Options Bar and clicking the Canvas Option menu and changing it from its default to the second option, Crop to Remove Background. If I do that the Straighten tool will not only straighten the image but it will also crop away the white areas that result around the edges of the image. To use the Straighten tool I will come into the image and I'm going to click on the horizon and I'm going to drag, and then I will release my mouse.

Doesn't matter how far I drag, I'm just trying to show Elements which part of the photo I think should be straight. And when I release my mouse, Elements automatically rotates the image so that the horizon line is now straight and at the same time it cropped away the white edges that resulted. But I don't like the proportions that it gave me. I think that the resulting image is too tall and thin. So I am going to try to do the cropping part myself; I will Undo. And this time before I use the Straighten tool I will go up to the Canvas Options menu and I'm going to put it back to its default Grow or Shrink Canvas to Fit.

As before I will move into the image. I will click on the horizon. I'll drag a short line and I'll release my mouse. So now you can see that when Elements rotates the image so that the horizon line is straight, it necessarily has to create this white area outside. In the last example, it automatically cropped away that white area but I didn't like the proportions of the image that it gave me. So here's where I'm going to use the Crop tool in conjunction with the Straighten tool. I will go over to the toolbar and I will select the Crop tool, and importantly I am going to come up to the Options Bar and clear away all the settings that I added for the last example.

Unfortunately, the Crop tool settings are sticky. So you have to remove them either one at a time or by going to the arrow on the left side of the Options Bar and choosing Reset tool. Now with the Crop tool I am going to come into the image and draw out an initial bounding box, and then I'm going to fine-tune this bounding box. I will start by moving it into place at the top-left corner. I am going to put that corner just about there. And then I'll move to the bottom-right corner and I will click and drag up, and I will position the other boundaries here.

What I'm trying to do is get as much of the images as I can without including any of the white area on the sides. And to make the proportions of the resulting image more pleasing, I have had to cut off a lot of the sky. When I'm done I will click the check mark, and there is my resulting image straightened and cropped. By the way, you can use the Straighten tool not only to straighten a horizontal line, like this horizon, but also to straighten verticals like the vertical edge of a tall building for example. So those are a couple of ways to change the composition of a photo using the Crop and the Straighten tools separately and together.

Give them a try on your own images.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training
Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training

120 video lessons · 15429 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 11m 0s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. What is Photoshop Elements?
      3m 47s
    3. Touring the workspaces
      5m 55s
  2. 54m 16s
    1. Working with catalogs
      5m 22s
    2. Importing and using the exercise files
      5m 13s
    3. Importing files from your computer
      7m 31s
    4. Importing photos from your camera
      8m 57s
    5. Importing photos from iPhoto (Mac only)
      4m 44s
    6. Importing files from external drives/CDs/DVDs
      4m 44s
    7. Scanning photos
      6m 50s
    8. Dividing scanned photos
      5m 51s
    9. Importing from watch folders (Windows only)
      5m 4s
  3. 39m 10s
    1. Touring the Organizer
      6m 41s
    2. Viewing thumbnails
      6m 15s
    3. Rotating photos
      52s
    4. Renaming photos
      2m 55s
    5. Fixing photo dates
      2m 28s
    6. Hiding and deleting photos
      4m 6s
    7. Stacking photos
      4m 22s
    8. Moving files
      2m 43s
    9. Reconnecting missing files
      4m 53s
    10. Using Help
      3m 55s
  4. 54m 22s
    1. Rating photos
      3m 58s
    2. Applying and organizing keyword tags
      7m 4s
    3. Searching by keyword tags
      3m 35s
    4. Tagging with People Recognition
      11m 3s
    5. Using Smart Tags
      5m 57s
    6. Creating albums
      4m 41s
    7. Creating Smart Albums
      6m 28s
    8. Searching by text
      5m 28s
    9. Using the Find menu
      4m 19s
    10. Using the Timeline
      1m 49s
  5. 30m 14s
    1. Viewing slideshows in Full Screen view
      4m 21s
    2. Working with photos in Full Screen view
      9m 20s
    3. Comparing photos
      5m 56s
    4. Viewing by date
      3m 18s
    5. Mapping photos (Windows only)
      7m 19s
  6. 38m 36s
    1. Applying Photo Fix
      9m 0s
    2. The Quick Fix interface
      7m 9s
    3. The Quick Fix controls
      5m 22s
    4. Adjusting lighting in Quick Fix
      3m 46s
    5. Adjusting color in Quick Fix
      5m 39s
    6. Using the Touch Up tools in Quick Fix
      7m 40s
  7. 43m 43s
    1. Guided Edit basics
      8m 13s
    2. Making an Out of Bounds image
      10m 17s
    3. Perfecting a portrait
      7m 43s
    4. Adding realistic reflections
      5m 26s
    5. Applying a LOMO camera effect
      2m 0s
    6. Making pop art
      1m 31s
    7. Using Style Match
      8m 33s
  8. 1h 20m
    1. Full Edit workspace overview
      6m 51s
    2. Working with tabbed documents
      4m 51s
    3. Using tools
      7m 40s
    4. Arranging panels
      5m 18s
    5. Setting preferences
      3m 41s
    6. Using Undo History
      6m 39s
    7. Zooming and navigating
      7m 4s
    8. Creating a blank file
      5m 19s
    9. Photo resizing and resolution
      8m 9s
    10. Cropping and straightening photos
      7m 15s
    11. Recomposing photos
      8m 15s
    12. Enlarging the canvas
      3m 27s
    13. Saving and formats
      5m 46s
  9. 35m 4s
    1. Understanding layers
      7m 17s
    2. Working in the Layers panel
      5m 21s
    3. Using layer masks
      7m 43s
    4. Using layer masks to combine images
      6m 27s
    5. Building composites
      8m 16s
  10. 20m 58s
    1. Selection basics
      3m 22s
    2. Manual selection tools
      3m 19s
    3. Automatic selection tools
      7m 24s
    4. Refining selection edges
      3m 30s
    5. Saving selections
      3m 23s
  11. 1h 21m
    1. Color managing
      7m 14s
    2. Applying Shadow/Highlight adjustments
      2m 42s
    3. Using adjustment layers
      8m 24s
    4. Masking adjustment layers
      7m 38s
    5. Adding a Levels adjustment layer
      6m 8s
    6. Adding a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      5m 56s
    7. Adjusting with Color Curves
      4m 14s
    8. Removing a color cast
      3m 37s
    9. Reducing digital noise
      4m 7s
    10. Sharpening photos
      7m 32s
    11. Processing multiple files
      7m 59s
    12. Working with raw photos
      15m 57s
  12. 18m 34s
    1. Using the Smart Brush tools
      6m 16s
    2. Dodging and burning
      2m 29s
    3. Retouching blemishes
      4m 29s
    4. Content-aware healing
      2m 31s
    5. Removing content with the Clone Stamp tool
      2m 49s
  13. 25m 53s
    1. Applying filters
      5m 36s
    2. Adding effects
      2m 34s
    3. Using layer styles
      7m 23s
    4. Using shapes
      4m 46s
    5. Using the Cookie Cutter tool
      2m 19s
    6. Converting color to black and white
      3m 15s
  14. 11m 25s
    1. Creating text
      7m 1s
    2. Editing text
      4m 24s
  15. 1h 25m
    1. Creating a photo collage
      8m 38s
    2. Fine-tuning a photo collage
      8m 3s
    3. Creating greeting cards
      8m 34s
    4. Creating photo calendars
      9m 28s
    5. Creating CD/DVD jackets and labels
      7m 43s
    6. Creating a photo book
      7m 44s
    7. Fine-tuning a photo book
      7m 11s
    8. Creating a slideshow (Windows only)
      8m 0s
    9. Fine-tuning a slideshow (Windows only)
      3m 23s
    10. Creating a flip book (Windows only)
      2m 47s
    11. End to end: Making a scrapbook page
      8m 15s
    12. End to end: Completing a scrapbook page
      5m 24s
  16. 49m 27s
    1. Printing photos
      8m 38s
    2. Contact sheets and picture packages (Windows only)
      6m 40s
    3. Sharing photos by email
      6m 38s
    4. Sharing photos by Photo Mail (Windows only)
      5m 8s
    5. Sharing to Flickr and Facebook
      4m 43s
    6. Saving images for the web
      6m 48s
    7. Signing up for Photoshop.com
      2m 55s
    8. Sharing online albums at Photoshop.com
      5m 4s
    9. Backing up
      2m 53s
  17. 38s
    1. Goodbye
      38s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.