Cropping Proportional Images In Photoshop

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If your website has images, and the chances are pretty good that it does, it is important to make sure the images are properly set up to fit into your design. If you are one of my clients, I will typically tell you the size that images need to be to best fit into things like image sliders, grid layouts and other places. And while many clients already have their own methods of editing photos, I wanted to share my favorite method.

NOTE: WordPress, by default, will automatically create different image sizes based on the instructions from your theme. However, these don’t always cover the exact dimensions you may need inside your content, or in some plugins that don’t define a size for WordPress to create. In addition, WordPress can only make guesses on how you want your image cropped. So doing it manually is ideal for the best results.

Cropping In Photoshop The Easy Way

This method works best when you have a specific final image size in mind. For our purposes, let’s say we want our final photo to be 500px wide by 200px high. The image below(credit to http://www.picjumbo.com) is 4000px wide by 2667px high. In addition to being way too large, it also doesn’t match the proportions needed by our final image size. Or if we want to only use part of this image and not the whole width, this method will automatically crop and resize the image in a single step.

Preparing an image to crop in Photoshop

With all this said, here are the very easy steps to crop this image into a perfectly sized 500px by 200px final size.

  1. Select the Crop tool in Photoshop by either hitting “C” on your keyboard, or by selecting the Crop Tool on the left side of the interface(your layout may be different). It looks like this:
    crop-tool
  2. With the Crop Tool selected, look on the interface for the Crop Tool settings. In particular, you’re looking for this:
    photoshop-crop-settings
  3. You will see in my image that I have already put the numbers “500 px” and “200 px” in the two boxes located to the right and left of the two arrows. This is where you would put your dimensions in, with the width coming first and the height coming second. You can also click the arrows to reverse the two if you get it backwards. Other options are present, but we won’t get into those here.
  4. Now that your dimensions are in place, you will notice that the crop tool has placed the cropping bounds on your image. Normally, Photoshop would start by putting this box around the entire image, but because you entered the dimensions in the previous steps, Photoshop has created a box with the exact proportions needed to achieve the final image size.photoshop-crop-box
  5. Now, if you just hit “Enter”, Photoshop will crop your image to the area you see inside the crop box, and then it will automatically resize the image to the dimensions you put in the Crop Tool settings.
  6. However, if you want only a part of the image, or you want to move the Crop box around to focus on a different part of the image, you can do so. If you drag the handles on the sides and corners of the Crop box, Photoshop will automatically retain the desired proportions. You don’t have to worry about dragging the width and height of the box to the exact pixels you need. Photoshop does it for you.

This method of cropping is one of the fastest ways I know to get an image cropped exactly how you need it. While there are other methods available, this is the one I use whenever a client needs photos resized for anything.

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