How to crop a picture – 2 simple ways

We use our photos for various purposes. We use different sizes for publication on social networks, on websites, or for print purposes. Each use often requires precise dimensions. In this post, I will teach you how to crop a picture using Photoshop and Lightroom. Here are the steps to crop a photo:

  1. Open a picture 
  2. Select Crop Tool
  3. Define dimensions to crop a picture
  4. Crop the image
  5. Save crop setting as a template


How to crop a picture in Photoshop

Open a picture in Photoshop

Let’s first look at how to crop an image in Photoshop. As a first step, please select the image you want to crop to the desired dimensions and open it in Photoshop.

Select Crop Tool 

Select the Crop tool by clicking on the Crop tool icon. Or press the C key as a shortcut for the Crop tool.

How to crop a picture - crop tool

Then we go to the upper settings bar. Here we choose the option W x H x Resolution. Let’s say we want to crop our image to a size of 800×600 pixels for use on a website. For web purposes, a resolution of 72 pixels per inch will suit us.

Define dimensions to crop a picture

So let’s fill in these values. Don’t forget to add “px” for both dimension values. This is because Photoshop can evaluate the numeric value itself as centimeters or inches without specifying the units.

How to crop a picture - dimensions

If you want to crop or adjust the dimensions for printing purposes, you must select a different resolution. Usually, we use a resolution of 300 pixels per inch when printing printable art. This means, for example, if we want to crop a picture for printing purposes on A2 format, our setting will be: 7016px x 4961px, and the resolution will be 300ppi.

Of course, we must not forget the overall dimensions of our source image. It must always be larger than the required target size of the cropped image. For example, if we had a picture with a size of 400×600 pixels and cropped to 800×600 pixels, it would increase, but it will be blurry or even pixelated, which of course we do not want.

Crop the image

So now, we have the exact dimensions and resolution set. Click on one of the bounding box corners and drag until we reach the image’s visually desired crop.

Then press Enter and the image will be cropped. We can check the new dimensions in the bottom bar.

Save crop setting as a template

These dimensions of cropping the image can be useful to us in the future, and therefore we will save them as a template. In the upper bar, where we set the dimensions, press the small down arrow and select New Crop Preset.

How to crop a picture - Template 1

Then a dialog box will appear, where we will fill in the name for the new preset. Now we have the preset saved, and if needed in the future, we activate it by simply clicking on its name.

How to crop a picture - save preset

How to crop a picture in Lightroom

We will proceed similarly when cropping the image in Lightroom.

Let’s say we want to crop an image for printing in 8 x 12 inches. The whole process in Lightroom is divided into two parts: cropping and export.

Select and open the image

First, select the image in Library mode. Let’s open it and go to the Develop tab.

Select the Crop tool and define the aspect ratio

Select the Crop tool icon or press the R key.

The Crop and Straighten dialog box opens. Now click on Original, and the drop-down menu will open. We choose option 2: 3 because we know that we need this aspect ratio to reach the target size of 8×12 inches.

How to crop a picture - Aspect ratio in Lightroom

By clicking on the corners of the bounding box, we adjust the visual crop. Press enter or double-click on the image to confirm the changes.

Define size and crop the picture

Now we go to export.

We need to define the exact dimensions of the output file, which we will use to print to the home printer or send it to the print service company.

Right-click on the image and select Export. Please enter the destination directory where the exported file is to be saved and choose its name.

Now go to File Settings and select Image format JPEG, set Quality to 100%, and we can choose Color Space Adobe RGB.

How to crop a picture - Export1

Export the final file

Then go to the Image sizing menu and select the option to enter Long Edge of the target image. Now fill in 12, and the size unit will be inches. We can leave the resolution at 300 pixels per inch.

How to crop a picture - Export2

Press Export, and the final file will be saved to the location we defined. This file can be used for printing.

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