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Cropping Pictures For Online Viewing & Printing

Cropping pictures can be done for different reasons. It is fairly easy to do and you can see the results right away.

I like to make a copy, or a duplicate of the picture before I begin. Even though many programs allow you to Undo multiple times, this way I don't have to worry about it.

I also like to have both the original image and the copy on the screen at the same time. If this isn't possible in your program, at least have the original handy so that you can check the differences when cropping pictures.

Typically the photo editing software program will have a square bounding box that you can place in your image.

You drag one corner diagonally to select the area that you want to remain in the photo. By doing so, you can see what your image will look like with a photo crop.

Cropping Pictures For Online Viewing
If you want to share or store your image and are not concerned about Let's crop this image for a waterfall close-up.printing it out, cropping photos is quite easy. The only thing you have to worry about is how the photo looks afterwards. You can remove areas that you don't like and also make the image nicer by centering a focal point or otherwise composing it.

An additional advantage to cropping digital photos is that both the image size and especially the file size are reduced. (See bottom picture below.) This makes for sending by email faster and takes up less storage space on your computer or on any photo sharing sites.

Here is a picture I wanted to crop so I would have a close-up of the waterfall. It is 300 pixels by 225 pixels.

Cropped image for waterfall only.

So I cropped the image. I left the file size similar to the original size.(It's a little longer.)

This created a close-up of the waterfall. You can see the waterfall is larger than in the original photo. I could have left it smaller for a smaller file size, but I really wanted a larger image. Here, it is 300 pixels (you can see the photo width is the same) by 303 pixels.

By making the dimensions similar to the original, everything got larger. Imagine spreading less information out to fill the same space. Since there are less pixels filling the same area, the clarity of the picture may be reduced.

Here is a small cropped photo.
Here, the image is cropped, but I left it at its cropped size. This was done by not changing the pixel sizes. For example, the original picture was 300 pixels by 200 pixels. This cropped picture is now smaller and is 180 pixels by 136 pixels.

The size of the waterfall is the same as in the original picture. Even though it is smaller, the detail and clarity remains the same.

Cropping Pictures For Printing
The concept is similar as for online viewing in that you most likely want to improve the looks of your photo. However, there are some things to keep in mind when cropping photos for printing.

Megapixels and Photo Size
With the large amount of pixels in digital cameras today, it is usually not a problem to print a nice looking 8 x 10 photo.

There are enough pixels and information so that the image will have good detail. Read about what are megapixels?

However, if you crop an image considerably and still plan on printing it at a somewhat large size, the remaining pixels are fewer for the image size. Clarity will not be the same. This will depend on how much you are cropping and the amount of pixels you started with.

The other issue is getting the photo size to fit exactly on the paper size. Many image ratios do not match paper sizes, so things are always a little off.

You have a few options.

  • Get out the scissor and trim the paper. This of course, is the easiest…if you can cut straight!

  • Another option is to stretch the image so that it will fit. This is not the professional route, but it may or may not be noticeable.

  • The third way is to crop the photo to the exact size of the paper. Your photo editing program must offer this option, and many of the free ones do not. Photoshop software (review) and Qimage (review) both do. Picasa (review) and Adobe Photoshop Elements 7.0 (review) do also, in a very simple way. I would highly recommend these last two for cropping pictures. Picasa is free while Photoshop Elements is around $99.

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    Photos at dusk are enchanting.

    You can edit with picasa 3.

    If you are looking for some recommended photo editing programs that also offer the crop photos tool, visit Photo Editing Programs for links to my software reviews.

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