How to Crop a Photo

By Marissa Willman

Cropping your photos can enhance their quality by removing empty background space and reestablishing the focal point. Simple image-editing software can adjust the focus and size of your digital photo by allowing you to crop the photo to a desirable size and center it on the subject of your choosing. Programs such as Microsoft Paint and Adobe Photoshop offer photo-cropping tools. Regular photographs can be cropped by using a pair of scissors to cut away unneeded sections.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Digital photo
  • Photo-editing software
  • Scissors

Cropping a Digital Photo

Step 1

Open the photo-editing software of your choice. A basic option for Windows operating systems is Microsoft Paint, which can be found in the "Accessories" folder in the "Start" menu. Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft PowerPoint are just two of many editing software options. Open the image you wish to crop in the program by selecting "File" and "Open" to locate your file.

Step 2

Select the "Crop" tool in your software. It can be found in most programs under the "Edit" menu. The program's toolbar may also contain a "Crop" icon or a "Select" tool that allows you to select a section of the image. Hover the cursor over the icon to see the name of each icon.

Step 3

Choose a spot to be your image's new upper-left corner. Left-click on the spot and hold your mouse button down. Drag your cursor down and to the right to create a box. Release your mouse button when you are satisfied with the size and content of the cropped image. Select "Undo" from the "Edit" menu or press "Ctrl" and "Z" to undo your selection and try again.

Step 4

Right-click within the cropped area and select "Copy" or "Cut." Open a new blank image and paste the cropped image by selecting "Paste" from the "File" menu. Some programs automatically cut away the area outside of the cropped selection.

Step 5

Save the image as a separate file once you are satisfied with the cropped image by selecting "Save As" from the "File" menu. Save the image as a separate file from the original in case you need the original at a later date.

Cropping a Regular Photo

Step 1

Select the photograph you would like to crop. Determine what part of the photo you want to become the new focal point. Decide the size and shape you want the cropped photo to be by focusing on removing empty or unnecessary space around the subject.

Step 2

Trace the desired shape and size for your cropped photo onto a blank piece of paper or card stock to create a template. Use a straightedge, such as a ruler, for rectangular or square cuts. Use a compass or a glass for circular cuts. Cut out your template.

Step 3

Place your template over the area you want to cut away from the photograph. Hold the photo and template tightly together and cut around your template.

Step 4

Examine the cropped photo for even cuts and a centered subject. Trim and soften the edges as needed. Additional space can be removed from the photo if necessary.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clicking "Save" after cropping a digital photo may replace your original image with the cropped image. Save your cropped image as a separate file to keep your original intact.Crop your picture to focus the image on the subject and minimize empty background space.