Cropping Photos in the Photos App

The Photos app makes it easy to crop your pictures. Cropping is non-destructive, so you can always revert to the original. You can create a custom crop or select from specific ratios. You can then export the photo at a specific pixel size if needed.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Cropping Photos in the Photos App.

Hi, this is Gary with On today's episode let's look at cropping photos in the Photos app.

So, let's start with the photo I've got here. It's got a little hummingbird in a field but I wasn't close enough to really create a good picture. But I can zoom in on this guy by cropping.

I've got the photo selected in Photos. I'm using the latest version of Photos in El Capital. I'm going to hit Edit and then I'm going to hit the Crop button. This allows me to then crop the photo.

Now I can do lots of different things from here. I can grab any corner and drag to reframe what I've got. Now don't worry about what I'm actually capturing. Just get the size right. So if you want something about this size leave it at that size. Then you can click in the middle and drag. You are actually not dragging the frame you are dragging the photo behind it. Now I can drag and move what I want into the center there.

Now I can Undo to get back to where I was just to demonstrate and show you some other things you can do. You can grab the sides as well as the top and bottom. So you don't just have to grab the corners there.

You can also go ahead and set a specific Aspect ratio. So say I want to create something that is perfectly square. You can see it makes it square. But not only does it make it square but now if I grab a corner it will stick with it being square no matter how I drag the cursor it is going to keep it square. I get the same results here but now it sticks with something that is square because I've selected that. If I wanted to change that I can change the Aspect here but selecting something else or going back to Custom where I can just drag any corner.

So when I've got it the way I want I hit Done and now I can see that the photo looks like this in my Library. I can go back to the Library here and you can see its cropped.

You may think well I just permanently changed this. But, in fact, I didn't at all. If I go back into Edit I still have the Revert to Original button here which will take it back to how I had it before.

So this is useful because if you just wanted this for a one time thing, like you wanted to post this to social media, you don't want to save this cropping in your Library. You can do the crop like I did and then you can go to Export, Export to Photos, and then use that to upload it somewhere and then go back in to the Photos, Edit, and Revert to Original and you get the original back.

Another thing that you could have done is you could have duplicated this photo. So I'm going to select Image and then duplicate it right there. I've got these two here. I can take either one and Revert it to Original and you can see now I've got in my Library the original, right there, and the cropped version. So it is actually two of the very same thing but this one is remembering the crop whereas this one is not having any crop or effect or anything applied to it. It is the original photo.

It is really, kind of, a waste of space because they both have the same original photo in them. But sometimes it might be nice to have it that way as you are browsing through your photos or looking at slide shows to have them in two different ways.

Now let's say you want total control. If you go into Edit and Crop you can certainly set something square but can't actually do anything except effect the ratio size. Say you have to submit a photo and it has to be something specific. Like it has to be exactly 250 pixels by 250 pixels. So you cropped it square. Now you know you can at least have equal width and height.

But how do you export it at that size? Well, you can go to Export and use this reveal button here to reveal the details. Then you can set a Custom size and set a maximum width or height. In this case it doesn't matter because the width and the height are the same. I can set it to 250 pixels and when I export I can now get something that is going to be 250 by 250 exactly.

Of course I can also use that without actually doing the cropping here. So if I were to go to say the original photo like this. I can go Export, export 1 photo, and then set a maximum width or height there. It would automatically calculate the other dimension to fit whatever I have set as the maximum there. So I can get some sort of resizing done here. I can combine that with cropping to get an exact photo size if I want.

Comments: 11 Responses to “Cropping Photos in the Photos App”

    3 years ago

    Gary, the options are classic ratios. What if I want the standard 4″x6″ print size? That used to be one of the options in iPhoto.

    Chris Hubbard
    3 years ago

    Hi Gary
    I’ve done a lot of cropping but hadn’t noticed the aspect button – so that was very useful, thanks.
    Could you do a brief video on ‘Comparing’ – used to be easy on i-photo but can’t seem to make it work on Photos? Thanks.

      3 years ago

      Not sure how useful that video would be. iPhoto is old and unsupported. I believe in using the latest supported tools. Is there something specific you are trying to do?

        Chris Hubbard
        3 years ago

        Hi Gary
        Thanks very much for your reply.
        Yes – I want to be able to compare photos from same or different dates on Photos. (I don’t use i-photo any more). Can’t get one – or more – photos on edit screen at one time. Can you help with this?

          3 years ago

          Editing is for single photos. But you can certainly view multiple photos in the Photos view, or in an Album. When to dig down to a single photo, you can flip between them with the arrow keys.

    3 years ago

    When working from a hard-copy photo, I scan it using and then crop it and resolve it using IMAGE CAPTURE.

    I also modify digital photos using PREVIEW.

    PHOTO seems more powerful than PREVIEW.

    John Bedrossian
    3 years ago

    how can I move all photos from photo stream to a separate file on my mac to archive them and start a new photo stream album for the new year? Or how can I rename the photo stream album and archive it and create a new photo stream album? what I would like to do is get all the photo stream photos off my mac and iPad and archive them on an external drive., John B

      3 years ago

      So are you only using Photo Stream, and not using Photos to store your picture library? All of your Photo Stream pictures should be in your library as well. Check. But if you really don’t want to use a library at all, and just Photo Stream, then I would just drag and drop them into a folder in the Finder. Then delete them from your Photo Stream. I’m not really using Photo Stream these days as it seems redundant when you use iCloud Photo Library.

    John Bedrossian
    3 years ago

    OK but I have several hundred photos so i was looking for a more efficient way to do it; i guess that’s the only way. Thank you

      3 years ago

      Several hundred is not many. Select all, drag, done. But I would also investigate better ways to use Photos. Just using Photo Stream and then taking the photos out of it as files means you are missing out on using the app as it should.

Comments Closed.