Join Jan Kabili for an in-depth discussion in this video Cropping photos, part of Photoshop Elements 10 Essential Training.
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Cropping an image trims away the edges of the image. Why would you want to do that? Well you may want to remove some distracting content near an edge, or you may want to change the proportions of a photo so that it fits in a particular frame or in a particular area on a web page, or maybe you just want a more balanced composition. Here in the full photo edit workspace, cropping is done with the Crop tool, which is located here in the toolbar. I'm going to start by making a simple crop in this image to remove some of the foliage peeking out of the edges of the photo. First, I'm going to go up to the Options Bar and I'm going to make sure that the options are set back to their defaults because some of the crop options are sticky.
So these are some numbers that I typed in the last time that I used the tool and they're still here the next time that I use the Crop tool. To set these back to their defaults, I'll click the arrow to the left of the tool Options Bar and I'll choose Reset tool. I'm also going to change the Overlay menu from its default to None. Now I'm ready to drag out a crop boundary. I'll move into the image and I'll click and drag. The area that's dark outside this boundary is going to be trimmed away from the image, and the area that's light inside the boundary will be kept in the image.
I can adjust the shape of this crop boundary by moving my mouse over any of its edges and dragging. If the horizon in this image were crooked, I could rotate the crop boundary to both straighten that out and crop at the same time by moving my cursor over one of the corners of the boundary and dragging, but there really isn't anything crooked here, so I'm not going to drag. And I can move the entire crop boundary by clicking inside of it and dragging, and then to commit the crop, I'll click the green check mark under the crop boundary.
If I don't like that result, I can still undo it by going up to the bar at the top of the editor and clicking Undo. Another reason to crop a photo is to make it into a more balanced composition. There are some new crop overlay guides that can help you to do that. Those are located here in the Options Bar for the Crop tool in the Overlay menu. From that menu, I'll start by choosing Rule of Thirds. To show you that, I'll drag out another crop boundary. Now the crop boundary contains this crop overlay guide that's divided by a couple of horizontal and vertical lines.
The idea is to place one of the horizontal lines in this guide on top of any horizon line in your image. So I'll click and drag down to do that, and then you can also try to put the intersecting points of these lines in the guide on top of important content in the image. So I'll make sure that one of those intersection points is on top of the horse, and I can adjust the crop boundary to try to get the other intersection points over the clouds and maybe the mountains here. So that's one of the crop overlay guides.
There's another one I want to show you and that is the Golden Ratio overlay. The idea with this overlay is to get this mathematically determined green circle right on top of the focal point of the image. In this case, the white horse is the focal point. I might just move this over a bit, and if I were to adjust the edges of the crop border, then I may have to change the position of that green circle again, dragging it on top of the horse. When I'm satisfied with my crop boundary, I'll click the green check mark.
There's one more reason that you might want to crop an image, and that is to change the proportions of the image. To show you that, I'm going to double- click this photo here in the Project Bin to open it in the Document window. In the last movie, I showed you how to change the size of this photo, but resizing does not change proportions. To do that, you need to use the Crop tool either after or instead of resizing. I'd like to crop this photo to a square proportion so that I can print it out and put the print in a small square frame that I have.
I know the exact size of the crop that I need. So I can enter those numbers up in the Options Bar for the Crop tool. First I want to remove the numbers that are there, so I'll go to the Reset tool option and I'll set the Overlay menu back to None. From the Aspect Ratio menu, I could choose one of the set sizes here, but I don't see one for a square. So instead of choosing numbers from that menu, I'm going to type the dimensions that I want into the width and height fields.
I'd like this to be a 2-inch by 2-inch square. So I'll type 2 in the width field and then press the Tab key to add the inches unit of measurement, and I'll do the same in the height field. It's important to add the resolution that I need for my particular output here in the resolution field. If I don't do that, when I create a crop like this with exact dimensions, the resolution can change. So I'm going to type 300 in the resolution field, because as I explained in the last movie, most desktop inkjet printers like mine produce the highest quality prints from a file that has about 300 pixels per inch.
Now I'll come into the image and I'll click and drag a crop bounding box. No matter how big I make that box, it's going to be square in shape because I typed in equal dimensions in the width and height fields. I want to be sure not to make this box too small because then Elements would have to take just a small bit of content and size it up to 2 by 2 inches. And that could make the resulting photo blurry. But this is a healthy amount of this image. So I'm going to accept this crop by clicking the green check mark. So that's how to use the Crop tool to trim away unwanted content, to improve the visual composition of a photo, and to change the proportions of a photo.
- Importing photos from a camera, computer, or iPhoto library
- Adding keyword tags and ratings to photos
- Automatically tagging people
- Organizing photos into albums
- Renaming and moving photos
- Correcting common photo problems automatically
- Retouching photos of friends and family
- Adjusting lighting and color
- Working with layers and layer masks
- Converting photos to black-and-white
- Cropping and straightening photos
- Adding text to photos
- Working with raw photos
- Making a slideshow
- Ordering prints