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What You'll Be Creating

Cropping in Photoshop is something that you will need to use often. From changing the sizes of images to stripping excess space in a photo, this is a fundamental skill you will use in just about any design project.

In this quick tip, we’ll be looking at the basics of how to crop in Photoshop. Then we’ll take a look at a quick, easy, and free way to crop images using Placeit.

Follow along with us over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

What You'll Need

The following assets are used in this tutorial:

We'll be using these images to demonstrate the various cropping tools in Photoshop. However, feel free to use any of your own images too!

1. How to Crop in Photoshop Using the Crop Tool

Step 1

The Crop Tool is both intuitive to use and versatile. This is a great tool if you need to learn how to crop an image in Photoshop. Open the image you want to crop in Photoshop.

Now, from the toolbar, select the Crop Tool.

Selecting the Crop ToolSelecting the Crop ToolSelecting the Crop Tool

Step 2

Now you will see markers appear along the edges of the document. We can use these to adjust the cropping of the image. The markers act a little differently depending on where they are.

To start, let’s use the bottom middle marker. Click the bottom marker and hold. Then drag this up to crop the image from the bottom.

Crop Tool MarkersCrop Tool MarkersCrop Tool Markers

Step 3

Once you release the marker, the area outside of the cropped area will turn dark. This is a handy way of previewing what your cropped image will look like! Keep adjusting this marker until it is cropped to an area to your liking.

Moving Crop MarkersMoving Crop MarkersMoving Crop Markers

Step 4

Once you are satisfied with your crop area, you can select the Checkmark to apply your crop. If you aren’t satisfied, you can click the Cancel button located right next to it.

Select the CheckmarkSelect the CheckmarkSelect the Checkmark

Step 5

Now that we have cropped the image, the excess parts of the image have been completely removed. Even if you attempt to move the image on the stage, the parts of the image which were outside the crop are not present.

In order to get the old version of the image back, you will need to undo the action. You can also uncheck the Delete Uncropped Pixels option before you finalize your crop if you wish to preserve them.

Unchecked Delete Cropped PixelsUnchecked Delete Cropped PixelsUnchecked Delete Cropped Pixels

Step 6

Let’s continue cropping this image to isolate a particular element. This time, we’ll use the corner markers to crop around this hot air balloon. By using all of the markers in conjunction, you can isolate the object you wish to crop. Then select the checkmark to accept the crop.

Cropped ObjectCropped ObjectCropped Object

Step 7

And there you have an individual element cropped from the original image. As you can see, the Crop Tool is a really practical tool that has a lot of uses.

Individual Element Crop CompleteIndividual Element Crop CompleteIndividual Element Crop Complete

2. What Else Can the Crop Tool Do?

Step 1

The Crop Tool also has some extra features we can take advantage of. Let’s take a look at the Content-Aware feature! Create a crop area, but this time extend the crop area outside the area of the photo. Notice that the background area will match your current Background Color. In this case, it’s white.

Cropping Outside CanvasCropping Outside CanvasCropping Outside Canvas

Step 2

Before clicking the Accept button to confirm the crop, check the Content Aware checkmark. Now you will see that the outside area of the image will fill in the space based on the image.

This can have some mixed results, but as you can see, this works well for adding some extra sky to our image.

Content-aware Fill AreaContent-aware Fill AreaContent-aware Fill Area

Step 3

We can also change the grid type of the Crop Tool. You may need a smaller grid rather than the default rule-of-thirds grid. If you are working on your compositions, there are even Golden Ratio and Golden Spiral grid types!

Different Grid TypesDifferent Grid TypesDifferent Grid Types

3. How to Crop a Picture in Photoshop Using the Selection Tools

Step 1

Another method we can use for cropping our images is to use the selection tools. Since much of the work you do every day in Photoshop involves selections, this can be a great time-saver and allows for precise cropping.

To start, open up the image you wish to crop and then select one of the Selection Tools. We’ll use the Rectangle Marquee Tool in particular.

Selecting the Marquee ToolSelecting the Marquee ToolSelecting the Marquee Tool

Step 2

To make our crop with the Selection Tool, we’ll make a selection of the area we want to crop. Drag and pull the rectangle over the area you want to crop.

Creating a SelectionCreating a SelectionCreating a Selection

Step 3

Now, with the selection made, go to Image > Crop.

Cropping the SelectionCropping the SelectionCropping the Selection

Step 4

Now you have cropped the image to the dimensions of your selection area.

Cropped ImageCropped ImageCropped Image

Step 5

As an added tip, if you need the features of the Crop Tool with your selection, simply select the Crop Tool after making a selection.

Something to note here is that you can also make crops on selections that aren’t shaped as rectangles; however, the crop itself will always default to the smallest rectangle possible for the selection. This is because documents have to be within a box.

Switching to Crop ToolSwitching to Crop ToolSwitching to Crop Tool

4. How to Crop Images Without Photoshop

Step 1

In a rush or don’t have access to your favorite image-editing software? Then you can also use Placeit's online tool for cropping images.

Go ahead and click Upload Your Image Here to choose your image from your desktop. You can also drag the image from your desktop into the area.

Free Image CropperFree Image CropperFree Image Cropper

Step 2

As you can see, your image is brought onto a stage. You can use the slider underneath to zoom in and out. You can also drag and drop the image to change its placement.

Cropping the ImageCropping the ImageCropping the Image

Step 3

Once you are satisfied with how your cropped area looks, go ahead and click Download to download your edited image to your desktop!

Cropped Image with Free Image CropperCropped Image with Free Image CropperCropped Image with Free Image Cropper


There are a lot of options when it comes to cropping your images. Whether it is simple or complex, Photoshop has the tools to make this happen. The Photoshop Crop Tool has even more functions that we didn’t use. You can rotate images, or even use the Straighten feature to decide on an angle. Try out all the features for yourself!

Found this Quick Tip useful? Check out these other Photoshop tutorials! 

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