Cropping a picture does three things to improve the digital image:
  1. COMPOSES - It cuts away distracting or unnecessary elements in the image to help you "tell the story" as clearly as possible
  2. SHAPES - It lets you choose a specific shape or "ASPECT RATIO" - ie
    • Square: 300x300 etc.
    • Standard Def: 320x240, 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768
    • Widescreen: 1280×720, 1600×900, 1920×1080
  3. RESIZES - It typically reduces the digital file size, making the project more efficient

Here's an example of a yearbook photo
1. The original photo had good content, but included a large amount of "noisy" and unnecessary background.
2. A crop was chosen that matched the square 10 x 10 frame in the layout. This also allows us to "remove" the ugly powerlines in the background.
3. The cropped photo is better composed, and "tightens in" on the subject. The subject's object of focus also becomes more obvious!
Cropping should always REDUCE the size of an image - if it enlarges it, the image is being "blown up" and quality suffers.

Portfolio Exercise


You need to take a photo (selfie or one taken by another student) about 2MP in size
1. Load your image into Photoshop and choose the CROPPING TOOL on the left

2. Set the DIMENSIONS:
Look for the TOOL OPTIONS at the top of the screen.
  • Type 800PX for the width
  • Type 600PX for the height

You must specify that you want to measure in PIXELS by typing the (px) after the number
NOTE: the "px" is CRUCIAL - if you leave it out,
the size will default to "inches" and practically freeze up your computer
3. DEFINE your crop

  • Drag the mouse to compose the area you actually want to keep.
  • Note you CANNOT change the shape of the "Aspect Ratio", but you CAN control the starting points and ending points. You have to "find" the best area that fits your crop
  • Click the checkmark to proceed

- The size of the image on the screen should appear to shrink - that's GOOD!

- Double click the HAND tool in the toolbar to expand the image on the screen to view it better
4. SAVE your new image

  • Be sure to choose JPG for photos
  • Choose a quality between 60-80 and note the filesize at the bottom of the image
  • Click OKAY
  • Choose a location on your "My Documents" folder, and use an appropriate name for the new file

5. UPLOAD the IMAGE to your portfolio Splashpage - it should fit the page perfectly!

Here are the notes for inserting an image

Aspect Ratio

Which of these pictures looks "right"?
300 pixel x 250 pixel image

The flaw is subtle to some, but the "Aspect Ratio" (height vs width) of the image on the left has been distorted, resulting in a "Squashed" image
The Golden Rule:
Do NOT distort your image by messing up the original ASPECT RATIO!