How To Correctly Crop an Image in Photoshop

So you have your latest version of Adobe Photoshop and have been busy cropping photos – getting rid of all the nonessential parts of the photo. What you don’t know is that cropping can also delete data from your photograph and can compromise the image quality.  Here are some steps that will help you crop your photographs in Adobe Photoshop without losing data and quality.

  1. Pay attention to the details when taking your photograph. By knocking out a lot of your background when taking the photograph, you will decrease your need to crop your photo in Photoshop. As a rule, the less you alter your photo, the better the quality of the image. With that said, let’s continue.

  2. Open the photo you want to crop in Photoshop.

  3. From the toolbar, go to image > image size.

  4. Take note of what your Pixel Dimensions number is and write it down (you will need it later). As you can see in the screenshot, the Pixel Dimensions of my photograph is 17.2 (this number will be different depending on the camera used to create the photo).

  5. Click the cancel button.

  6. From the tools palette, choose the crop tool. You can create a freeform crop if you like, but I like to set my dimensions to fit a standard size, such as 4x6, 5x7 or 8x10. You can do this by putting in your width and height in the crop settings found below the toolbar.

  7. Now drag your crop tool over the portion of the picture you want to crop. Once you are satisfied with your selection, either double click inside the crop box or click the checkmark below the toolbar. If you do not like your selection, click the icon to the left of the checkmark.

  8. With your image cropped, go to image > image size from the toolbar. You will notice that your pixel dimension number has changed. As you can see in the screenshot, my pixel dimensions are now 7.63. This drop in pixels is also a loss in data.

  9. But we can easily put the data back by increasing the resolution number. Increase the resolution number until your pixel dimensions equals the original number. I had to change my resolution to 500 for my pixel dimensions to equal its original 17.2.

  10. Once you have your resolution set to a number that equals your original pixel dimensions, click OK.

Now you have cropped your image with minimal data loss. Keep in mind, though that if you start out with a low resolution photo, you will still have a low resolution photo. Good luck and happy cropping.


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More of us should use graphics to demonstrate what we are saying, when applicable. Great article

By Alan Hammond