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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.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

ingrid January 20, 2011 at 9:45 am

Got it! Thanks!
~ingrid

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Kara @ Just1Step June 27, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Hey there!
Ok I am in a predicament. I upload all my photos to Picasa web albums to serve multiple purposes.

1) To use the photos for my blog (which would suggest a resolution of 72 ppi, max width of 800 pixels)

2) For my family to see pictures (which would again suggest a resolution of 72 ppi, max width of 800 pixels)

3) So my family can download and print photos as they wish (which would suggest a resolution of at least 240 ppi, min width of 1440 to print out a 4×6).

So now I’m not sure what to do. I don’t want to upload two of each picture. I also don’t want to bog down my blog. Any suggestions?

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Erin June 27, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I would just email family members the pix that they request specifically in print size – they’re probably not going to print them all. That way, you only need the 72 ppi versions.

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Kara @ Just1Step June 27, 2011 at 12:29 pm

PS I loved your blog posts on the topic, thanks so much for providing them. :)

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Erin June 27, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Thanks Kara!

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Amy January 21, 2012 at 9:28 am

I just now found you…and am so grateful I did. I learned picnik is closing, a free photo editing website I have used to resize all my photos. Thank you so much for detailing how to do this is Photoshop Elements. It’s just as easy BUT without someone {like you} explaining it, it can seem so foreign. So, THANK YOU for helping it make sense to me!

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Erin January 24, 2012 at 9:31 pm

You are welcome! And thank you for your kind comment!

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Melissa Harris June 14, 2012 at 3:17 pm

In the post, you mentioned that you give clients the original aspect ratio with a quick explanation that they may need to crop to print. Would you share that quick explanation with us??

I understand it now (thanks to You) but not sure I could relay it to others.

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Gowri January 26, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Hi,

So I want to change the aspect ratio of my photo WITHOUT CROPPING it. How do I do that?

Thanks!

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Erin January 27, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Hi Gowri, changing aspect ratio without cropping isn’t good for photography. It will distort your image. See this article.

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Gowri January 27, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Thank you. :)

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Jo August 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm

I have taken classes and read books on this very topic but never quite “got it”. I understood it but didn’t fully understand all of the elements of ratio, cropping and resizing.After reading your posts and tutorials, I finally “got it”. Thank you for helping me.

Reply

Erin Peloquin August 16, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Oooh, I love messages like this! Thanks Jo!

Reply

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