Cropping and Orientation

Opening an image

To open an image, click on the File menu and select Open.

File open menu

But first, let's briefly explore the Browse option. By using Browse, Photoshop will automatically launch another program called Adobe Bridge. Bridge is a way to preview thumbnails from folders. This is a good solution if you have lots of images and are not sure which image name you're looking for.

Adobe Bridge

If you're wishing to follow along this tutorial exactly, download the following image, then open it in Photoshop:

Right-click (For Macs, control-click) and save this link

Rotating images

In some rare cases, images coming out of a camera may need to be rotated. Most modern cameras have sensors that detect the orientation of the camera when you took the photo, and will automatically straighten the photo for you! Every now and then, however, the sensor either fails, or more likely, you are getting an image from a scanner, in which case you will likely have to rotate your image.

Rotating images is a fairly simple process. Go to the image menu and select Image Rotation.

Most likely, you will have to select either 90 degrees Counter Clockwise (90 CCW), or 90 Clockwise (90 CW) depending on which way the photo is situated. Click 180 degrees if the photo is completely upside down.

Using the crop tool

Photo opened in Adobe Photoshop

Once you have the image open, click on the crop tool in your tool palette.

crop tool iconCrop tool.

Next, click and drag open a box on your image.

Crop box on image

You can click and drag on the small boxes -- called anchor points -- that surround the box to reshape your crop. Hover over the boxes to see your mouse cursor change into different arrows that indicate how that anchor point will shape the crop if you click on it.

Hover your mouse arrow just outside one of the corner boxes to change your cursor into a curve. This curve indicates that it will rotate your crop. Generally, you never want to tilt your crop, but occasionally if the photo was taken at a tilted angle, this is a great solution for straightening your crop.

Tilted crop in Photoshop

You can confirm or cancel your crop in a number of ways. You can use the cancel icon (looks like a no-smoking circle) or the OK icon (looks like a checkmark) that is located at the top right of the options bar.

Confirm or cancel crop

You can also use some very simple keyboard shortcuts. Press Return (Enter, on a PC) to confirm your crop, or press the Esc key to cancel the crop. You can also use the mouse by double-clicking within your image to confirm the crop, or clicking on another tool, which will bring up a warning dialogue box asking you to either confirm or cancel.

Resizing while cropping

You can actually resize the image as you are cropping. Essentially, you are telling Photoshop which dimensions the image should result in after your crop. This is sometimes at the center of some confusion because if you lock in dimensions, your crop box will be forced into a certain ratio.

Cropping with resize options in the options bar

Fill in the width and height fields in the option bar while the crop tool is selected. Don't worry about the resolution, that's for printing. If you are using the provided tutorial image, input the following dimensions:

width: 600 px  height: 400 px

Important! Notice the PX suffix. This is very important, because Photoshop may default to "in", which stands for "inches". Photoshop can be used for a number of purposes, including printing. Most monitors are just over 1000px wide. But if you convert 1000px into inches, it comes to only 13.9in. Therefore, if you accidently type 1000in you will end up with over 72,000 pixels wide!When you draw the box, you will notice that the box shape is locked to a certain ratio. You cannot make it longer or taller, you can only adjust the largeness of the box. For this reason, if you feel like the box is in the wrong spot, don't worry, you can move the box by clicking on the marquee after drawing it.You should also be careful about how small you crop. Depending on the number of pixels within your cropped area, you might actually be enlarging your photo - a big no-no in digital imaging. Computers do a pretty good job at shrinking images, but not so well at enlarging them. In order to make a small image larger, Photoshop has to use special algorithms to fill in the pixels. While it's not terrible if you are enlarging by small increments, it will drastically reduce the quality if you push it too far.