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Photoshop Elements – Cropping, Resizing, Aspect Ratio and Resolution

by Erin Peloquin on January 20, 2011 · 14 comments

Cropping, Resizing, Aspect Ratio and Resolution in Photoshop Elements.  We’ve been talking about them a lot lately.  Some (like me) might even say we’ve talked about them ad nauseam.  But this is the last post, I promise.

If you want to read the detail and understand why you should do what you need to do, read these articles:

If you want a short and sweet summary, I put it all together for you here:

  • Cropping is for changing the composition or aspect ratio of an image.
  • Resizing is for changing the resolution of an image or making it “weigh less.”
  • First off, keep in mind before you zoom in too close on your camera that you might need to crop your image in order to get the print size you want.
  • You probably start with 4 x 6 images in your camera.  You can print those as 2x3s, 4x6x, 8x12s, or 16x24s with no cropping necessary.
  • Do you want a 5×5, 5×7 or 8×10?  You will have to do some cropping.  Use the crop tool to set the aspect ratio.
  • Want to enlarge your image for print?  Get the aspect ratio right first with the crop tool, then decide how much you can enlarge based on your pixels and resolution.
  • Want to post the image on the internet?  The aspect ratio doesn’t need to change, but the “weight” does.  You will need to resize to a resolution of 72 ppi, and a width of maybe 1000 pixels wide, depending on how you will use it. Make sure Resample is on in the Image Size dialog box.
  • To change only the resolution of your image, use the Image Size dialog box (Image menu/Image Size/Resize) and turn off the Resample box.
  • In the Image Size box, always keep Constrain Proportions on.
  • Confused by all the Resample options?  Just go with the ones Adobe recommends as “best for.”

Ok, so do you understand all that now?  Congratulations!

Now, what do you give your clients when you give them digital files?  Do you send the same image in multiple aspect ratios?  Do you send all images uncropped with an explanation?  Or do you take requests from the client?

Unless there is a strong artistic reason to do otherwise, I send all images in their original aspect ratio to clients.  And with the digital package, I send a quick explanation that some cropping may be required when they print certain sizes.  And I always try to leave a little cropping room when I snap the picture.

What do you do when sending clients digital files?  Something tells me there are better ideas out there.  Post them on my Facebook page if you’d like to share.

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