How to crop images in Adobe Photoshop.

Cropping images is an integral part of photo editing. Changing an image’s size is just the beginning.

Cropping an image of a person meditating in a birch tree forest

Cut what you don’t need from an image, and keep the rest.

There are all kinds of reasons to crop an image. You might need to straighten a photo, resize your canvas, or shift focus and composition. Sometimes you might want to crop out a distracting object in the background or give the image more vertical or horizontal emphasis. Fortunately, Photoshop offers many ways to adjust the canvas size of an image, change the aspect ratio, or make the subjects within the photo better conform to the rule of thirds.

Selecting the Crop tool in Photoshop to crop an image of a girl running in a field

Select the Crop tool.

Choose the Crop tool from the toolbar drop-down menu. Drag the corner handles around the part of the original image you want to keep. You’ll notice an overlay dividing the image into thirds. This overlay can be adjusted to show horizon lines, the golden ratio, a grid pattern, etc.

Deleting cropped pixels to focus on the person and their dog in the image

Delete or keep out-of-crop pixels.

When you crop, you can choose to either eliminate or preserve out-of-frame pixels by clicking Delete Cropped Pixels. If you delete them, they are gone. If you do not delete them, you can move and adjust your edges after cropping.

Specifying the dimensions of an image using the Photoshop aspect ratio and crop options

Optional: Specify aspect ratio and crop options.

If your image needs to be a specific dimension, you can specify an exact ratio or size for your crop box. You can pick either a preexisting aspect ratio or specify new width and height values.

Adjusting the alignment of an animal photograph using the Photoshop Straighten tool

Optional: Adjust alignment with the Straighten tool.

Crops are more than just adjusting image size. The Straighten tool can subtly adjust the cropped area to correct off-kilter angles.

Go beyond the conventional crop.

Cropping can be more than resizing a photo. It can also mean expanding the scope of the image or changing the angle or perspective in an image.

Changing the point of view of an image using the Perspective Crop tool

Change point of view with Perspective Crop.

The Perspective Crop tool allows you to change the angle of an image while you crop it. Turn a head-on image into an angled one, or get a new point of view on a photo.

Using the Content-Aware Fill tool to enlarge an image of a horse

Expand images with Content-Aware Fill.

The Content-Aware Fill tool can enlarge an image by filling in an area with similar pixels. Add more sky, more grass, more trees, and more of just about anything to a photo.

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