So you’ve taken beautiful photos, you open them up on your computer, and you realize that the crop is all wrong! The subject is way off-center (and not in a good way) and there’s no way that you can post this as-is.

You need to do some extra work to get your photos ready to be seen by the world. Luckily, cropping photos is easier than ever. 

We’re here with a few tips for how to crop a picture the right way. Read on to learn more.

What Dimensions Do You Need? 

Whenever you’re cropping a photo, this is the most important thing that you need to consider. What are your goals and what dimensions do you need in order to meet them? 

If you’re posting an Instagram story, for example, you’ll need your photo to be 16×9. If you’re opting for an Instagram post, you’ll want your photo to look great in a square (even if the post is a rectangle, the square will be what people see on your grid). 

Don’t make the mistake of cropping a photo “perfectly” just to realize that it will look awkward when you actually go to post it. 

Once you know the dimensions that you need, make sure that you won’t be cropping so close that you’ll ruin your image quality. This is one of the reasons that it’s best to do most of your cropping in the camera instead of waiting until you’re editing photos. Even the best editing software can’t fix that.

You might discover that you want a super close crop, but the photo ends up grainy. 

The Rule of Thirds

The most popular way to crop (most) photos is to use the rule of thirds. 

The rule of thirds places the subject on one side of the photo instead of in the center. This might seem unusual, but it’s a good way to create lines and draw the eye of the viewer. 

This doesn’t mean that your subject should be all the way to one side. Instead, it’s slightly offset to add visual interest. Here’s a quick guide on how to use the rule of thirds on your own.

When To Make the Subject Central 

Sometimes you’ll want your subject to be in the center of the frame.

This is common for some portraits (usually professional headshots) and product photos. It provides the clearest view of the subject but lacks any artistic flair (most of the time. You can still have an artistic photo with a central subject). 

When you put your subject in the center, you’re putting it on full display.

We recommend using a tool in your photo editing program that will create a line down the center of your canvas. Then you can shift the subject over that line and crop the unnecessary space around it.

Alternatively, if you’re cropping a product photo, you could also just remove the background without worrying about cropping it. See more here.

Cropping Photos Is a Breeze

Cropping photos is one of the easiest parts of the editing process. The actual mechanisms will vary depending on what app or program you’re using, but overall, you’ll either be using the rule of thirds or the center point to crop. 

One final word of wisdom: keep your un-cropped photo just in case you make a mistake!

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By Manali