Cropping a digital image

Cropped imageCropping is a way to improve the composition of a digital photo. By using the crop tool found in all image editing programs, unwanted or distracting portions of the edges of a photo are removed. Cropping also lets you visually focus in on the main subject.

Before printing or having a photo printed by a photo processor, crop it to fit the paper size you plan to use. This gives you, rather than the photo processor, total control over how an image is cropped.

When cropping, or doing any type of image editing for that matter, always work on a copy of the original, rather than the original itself. If you make a mistake, the original is still available to start again.

Basic steps for cropping a photo

  1. Open a photo in the editing program.
  2. Select the cropping tool.
  3. Select an aspect ratio a standard print if you intend to have the photo printed.
  4. Position the tool in a top area of your image where you want the crop to begin. Next drag the tool until the desired area is outlined.
  5. Next click OK or on the crop tool icon. Select undo if you are not satisfied with your selection.
  6. Save the image in the desired file format such as JPEG and give the file a new name. Renaming an edited file prevents overwriting the original.

For some ideas on how to crop a photo, refer to this article on why crop a photo!

Aspect ratios for popular print sizes

Standard size Aspect ratio
3.5 x 5″ or 4 x 6″ 2:3
5 x 7″ 5:7
8 x 10″ 5:4

* Some printer drivers have a tool to crop images just prior to printing.

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