Complete Crop: 4 Tips For Cropping In Photoshop

    Jennifer Farley

    If you’re involved with editing images you will undoubtedly need to crop some of them at one point or another. The Crop tool and the Marquee tools are the weapons of choice for these procedures. I’ve written in the past about keeping your crops , the massive time saver Crop and Straighten command, and also the Trim command, which also allows you to crop very tightly based on pixel color.

    Here’s four more tips to help you speed up or refine your crops as you go.

    1. Straighten Images With The Crop Tool

    There are lots of ways to straighten images crooked images in Photoshop, including this method using the Crop Tool. Here’s how. In the toolbox, select the Crop tool (clip_image002[1]). Now on your crooked image, start in the top right corner and draw a marquee around the image using the crop tool. It doesn’t matter if you cut off some of the edges as you’ll adjust the marquee to fit next. When you let go of the mouse button, you’ll see the cropping shield and it allows you to see which parts of the image will be deleted when you apply the crop.


    On the tool options bar, make sure that the Perspective check box is not selected. In the image window, move the pointer outside the crop marquee so that it appears as a curved double arrow (clip_image006). Drag clockwise to rotate the marquee until it matches the angle of the picture.

    Place the pointer inside the crop marquee, and drag the marquee until it contains all the parts of the picture you want shown. Use the and corner handles to adjust the size of the marquee.


    Press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS). Voila! The image is now cropped, and the cropped image now fills the image window, straightened, sized, and cropped according to your specifications.

    2. Stop The Crop From Snapping To The Edge Of Your Document

    Sometimes when you’re using the Crop tool it can be really useful to have the cropping border snap on to the edges of your image. This happens with the Marquee selections too. There are of course, other times when it’s a pain to have the crop sticking like glue to the edges. If you don’t want any snapping to happen, press Shirt + Ctrl+; (win) or Shift+Cmd+; (mac). This turns off all snapping such as snap to the document boundary, snap to rulers and snap to guides. If you only want to turn off Crop or Marquee snapping to the edges of your document, choose View > Snap To and choose Document Bounds.


    3. Swap Crop Dimensions

    When you choose the Crop tool, the tool Options bar displays a number of options, the first two being the width and height of the crop. In between those fields is a tiny little button that you’d hardly notice and it’s a bit time saver. Below you can see I set up a crop of exactly 6cm x 10cm. If I hit that little button, I will now get a crop of 10cm x 6cm. Saves on all that inconvenient typing.


    4. Non-square cropping

    You don’t have to draw out a square to crop an image. You can make a selection around an object or in an image using any of the selection tools. Here I’ve drawn really loosely around the buildings with the lasso.


    Choose Image > Crop and Photoshop will crop the image as tightly as it can.


    Do you have any other speedy Crop tips you’d like to share?