4 Simple & Useful Ways with the Crop Tool in Photoshop

There’s more to the Crop Tool in Photoshop than chopping off the sides of your photo! 

You can straighten images, not just manually but using a nifty little straighten tool. Size to specific dimensions, or create your own presets you can save and use over and over again. Improve the layout of photos with useful grid overlays. Find out how to crop without losing any pixels, so you can re-crop or change your mind as many times as you need to. 

There’s more to the Crop Tool in Photoshop than chopping off the sides of your photo!  You can straighten images, not just manually but using a nifty little straighten tool. Size to specific dimensions or create your own presets you can save and use over and over again. Improve the layout of photos with useful grid overlays. Find out how to crop without losing any pixels, so you can re-crop or change your mind as many times as you need to.    itsorganised.com Photoshop Tutorial
 

WHAT CAN THE PHOTOSHOP CROP TOOL DO?

This simple tool is really useful for quick straightening and resizing of your photos. It also has a non-destructive function. This means, no photo cropping need ever been final again. 

Straightening Images

Straightening images can be achieved manually, simply by rotating your photo until you have the look you want.

If your photo has distinctive lines in it, for example the horizon, signs or buildings, manually rotating might not give you the accurate finish you’re looking for. This is where the clever little straighten option comes in. Select the spirit-level icon, and simply drag along the straight edge, horizontal or vertical, you want to use as a reference. Photoshop will do the rest. 

Bear in mind. rotating an image will crop at each corner. So, make sure you don’t have any important details too close the edges.

 

Cropping to Specific Sizes & Saving Presets

For most small businesses, a lot of photo editing is now carried out with blogging and social media in mind. This is where the cropping tool can really save you time.

You can crop and then re-crop the same photo with the help of non-destructive cropping. This produces the same photo sized to suit a range of blog and social media needs in minutes. All the while, leaving your original photo unharmed.

If you have specific sizes for some of your images, you can also input and save these as presets. Next time you go into Photoshop, these presets will be waiting for you and can be applied in seconds.

 

Using Overlay Guides

When the Crop Tool is activated, the guide overlays also come into play.

These overlays are a great way to teach yourself how to get the best layout from each shot. If this concept is something new to you, the Rule of Thirds option (the default) is a great place to start.

Line up the important parts of your photo, for example your product, along any of the crossing lines and you’ve immediately improved the overall layout of your photo. 

 

Non-destructive Cropping

The most important feature to remember is Delete Cropped Pixels. The function that allows for non-desctuctive cropping (it leaves your original photo intact and doesn’t permanently delete anything). 

No longer will you lose bits of your image as you resize. If you remember to uncheck this option, your cropped sections will be hidden and kept. Any changes or re-crops you need to make later will be easy. Your photo has basically remained intact, you are just viewing your latest crop.

 

VIDEO TUTORIAL

This video will show you how to:

  • Straighten images quickly using horizontal or vertical straight edges.
  • Crop images to specific sizes for social media.
  • Set your own sizes and save as presets for future use.
  • Use overlay guides to improve the balance of your photo.
  • Crop without permanently removing any pixels in your photo.
 
 

THE STEP BY STEP

STRAIGHTENING IMAGES

  1. Select the Crop Tool (shortcut C).
  2. Select the Spirit Level icon to the left of the word Straighten.
  3. Choose a horizontal or vertical straight-line reference in your image - for example, the horizon, the edge of a sign, a door frame, or the side of a building.
  4. Click on one point on this line and then drag your mouse to another point along this line.
  5. Release the mouse and Photoshop will rotate your image using this line as it reference.
  6. Click the Checkmark on the Options Bar to confirm your changes.

CROPPING TO SPECIFIC SIZES

  1. Select the Crop Tool (shortcut C).
  2. Choose a size from the Ratio drop-down menu on the left of the Options Bar at the top of the screen.
  3. Move your image inside the crop area.
  4. Resize the crop selection by dragging in/out on any of the handle bars on the sides and corners of the crop area.
  5. Because you are using a specific ratio, the aspect ratio will be maintained as you drag the crop area. 
  6. Click the Checkmark on the Options Bar to confirm your changes.

SETTING UP AND SAVING YOUR OWN PRESETS

  1. Select the Crop Tool (shortcut C).
  2. To the right of the Ratio drop-down menu on the Options Bar, type in your dimensions - the first box is width, the second is height.
  3. Choose New Crop Preset from the Ratio drop-down menu.
  4. Give your new preset a name, e.g. Twitter 2:1
  5. Click Okay.
  6. Your new Preset will now appear in the Ratio drop-down menu as an option (near the bottom of the list).

USING OVERLAY GUIDES

  1. Select the Crop Tool (shortcut C).
  2. Click on the Grid icon on the Options Bar at the top (after the Straighten icon).
  3. Select the grid style you want and use these guidelines to help improve the aesthetic of your photo. 
  4. Click the Checkmark on the Options Bar to confirm your changes.

NON-DESTRUCTIVE CROPPING

  1. Select the Crop Tool (shortcut C).
  2. Use any of the methods mentioned above to resize your photo.
  3. Make sure the Delete Cropped Pixels box is unchecked.
  4. Click the Checkmark on the Options Bar to confirm your changes.

 

BEFORE & AFTER

It just takes a few minutes to straight wonky photos or resize to a range of social media sizes.

There’s more to the Crop Tool in Photoshop than chopping off the sides of your photo!  You can straighten images, not just manually but using a nifty little straighten tool. Size to specific dimensions or create your own presets you can save and use over and over again. Improve the layout of photos with useful grid overlays. Find out how to crop without losing any pixels, so you can re-crop or change your mind as many times as you need to.  itsorganised.com  Photoshop Video Tutorial

 

HAVE  A GO

The Crop Tool can be a real timesaver and speed up your photo-editing workflow.

Why not set up and save your own presets? Having a range of sizes available will save you so much time when preparing blog and social media images.