Guide to Cropping a Photo
Photo editing doesn’t always involve adjusting the colors of a photo. It can also involve changing the content of the photo itself, for example, removing an unwanted object from the background of the photo. If the unwanted object or person isn’t directly behind the subject of the photo, cropping is the best way to fix it. If the unwanted object is too close or is touching the subject directly, you may want to look into Photoshop or some other detailed editing software. However, this guide is just going to focus on cropping, which you can do with just about any photo editing website or app. I will again be using befunky.com, a free use website that I do a lot of photo editing with. BeFunky is a really good website to use for editing, and I also featured it in my guide to editing an overexposed photo and my guide to brightening orange colors in a photo. In this guide, I will show some photos of mine before and after they were cropped, and give some tips on how to nicely crop a photo.
Crop out unnecessary details
Even the tiniest of extra details in a photo can distract viewers from the main subject. Check all the top, bottom, and side edges of your photo for any unnecessary details and crop them out if you see any. In the example photo below, I cropped out the sidewalk next to the tulips and the extra white space above the sign. Now that the landscape at the bottom of the photo is just mulch and no cement, the tulips stay the main focus of the photo.
Leave extra space between the subject and the edge of the photo if you can
This tip is also one that also applies when you are taking a photo, and is known as the “Rule of Thirds.” Although it is tempting to place the subject dead center, there is a nice balance created when extra space is left in. Crop out what is unnecessary, but don’t crop the photo to only feature the subject. In the example photo below, I cropped out my brother’s foot that was unintentionally in the shot, along with the mulch in the background. However, I left in the extra space to the right of the dog so the landscape behind him is visible.
Keep the dimensions of the photo reasonable
It’s very easy to get caught up in cropping a photo only to look at the final product and realize the photo is too tall and skinny, too long and wide, etc. Photos that are too narrow, wide, or tall often can’t be uploaded to social media (or the Internet in general) properly, and will not look good in a post. When cropping, keep an eye on the new dimensions that your photo will have, and make sure it looks decent. Although it is hard to tell in the example photo below, the newly cropped image is actually really wide, making it difficult to upload to social media in a way that will not appear distorted. This photo is also a good example of cropping out unnecessary details and only focusing on the main story of the photo.