Cropping Pictures in Mac Photos

Learn how to crop your pictures in the Mac Photos app. You can drag the edges to redefine the cropping area and then reposition the picture inside the new area. You can also rotate or auto-rotate the image and the crop will adjust automatically to not leave any blank space in the corners. Cropping is non-destructive, so you can always revert to the original photo or export it.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Cropping Pictures in Mac Photos.

Let's take a look at cropping a photo in Photos version 3.0. There are a lot of different options and some of them are kind of hidden so you may not know about them. I'm going to select a photo here and View it and then click the Edit button at the upper right hand corner going into editing mode.

Now to go to the cropping tools I look at the top here and I've got Adjust, Filters, and Crop. So I'm going to click on crop. Now notice what happened there. It automatically rotated the image to make the lines, the long horizontal lines, line up. I can press the Reset button at the bottom right and you can see it can go back to how the original photo was. If I press the Auto button it will recrop it again. So you can see it lines up for this long horizontal line here to make it so the picture is even.

Now I can continue to address the rotation by clicking on the tool here on the right, dragging up or down. You can see as I do it, it automatically will recrop the photo so that I don't have any blank spots in the corners. So you can see the more I rotate it the more it's going to enlarge it so that the corners aren't cut off. So if I stop right here you can see the bottom left hand corner is perfectly touching there. Whereas if I go closer to zero you can see there's less and less enlargement for it to fit into the frame.

So let's go back to Auto and leave it on auto rotation. Now let's look at how you crop. You've got, you can see these thicker borders at the corners, and you may think that the best way to do it is to actually drag the corners in, click and drag in to crop. But, in fact, you can drag at the top edge and left edge, right edge, and bottom edge as well. Now you may want to try and crop it perfectly right away but what you want to do, is you want to get it to the size you want. Say I want something about this size first. Then release and let it come in. Now you can click and drag on the photo itself, and reposition the photo, inside that frame. You can always redefine things. You can always grab a corner and drag in, drag out, and enlarge it.

So let's start over again here. I'll hit Reset and it goes back to zero rotation with no cropping. Hit Auto to rotate it in. I don't want to make any further adjustments there so I'll leave it like that. Now I'll crop the edges in. Bring it down just a little bit and then that gives me more room to work with to position the photo like I want. But let's say I don't want that because now I end up with a photo size that's not standard. If I want to print it, it's not going to fit on a standard print. It may not look good if I use it on the web because it's not standard size.

So on the right there's these Aspect tools here. I can reveal those and you can see I'm now set to freeform because I've adjusted it myself. I can go back to the original size and you can see it takes it back to the original ratio, width versus height, as the original. But I can also choose one of these other ones. Like square which is very useful and is used a lot on line. I can go 16 by 9 like video or I can go 4 by 3 like some photo prints are. So I can do that. I can also switch over to Vertical Aspect Ratio so I can do 4 by 3 vertically or 16 by 9 vertically like that. So I can go back and forth between those. I can go jump to the original. I can go back to freeform and just drag and create my own version.

The most tricky thing, I think, about making these adjustments, and we'll go to Reset again here, is the wait. The interface includes this builtin wait where I drag and change the size and I release, and I wait. I didn't do anything there. I just waited a few seconds and it now zoomed in on that area. Now I can go ahead and adjust and move things around.

Now the most important thing to remember is the changes are not permanent. So even though I crop here and I'll say Done, and now that's how the photo looks. But anytime I want I can go back into Edit and I have the Revert to Original here. That shows me that the original photo is all there. Even the areas that were cropped out I can go back to how it originally was. So you can crop in and maybe use it as a print, maybe use it online, and all that and know that later on you can go back and go to the original image maybe to adjust for a new crop or just to go back to how it originally looked when you took the photo.

Also notice here that when I have this cropped photo if I go to Export and I export the photo I can export it, I'll just send it to the desktop, and I also can go to Export and then export Unmodified Original, and I can send that to the desktop as well. Now when I look on the desktop here I'll have both photos and you can see this is cropped and this is the original. So even though I've cropped it I can still, if I want, export out the original version of the photo even if I don't want to Revert to the original in editing tools.

Comments: 3 Responses to “Cropping Pictures in Mac Photos”

    Steve Maynard
    1 year ago

    Obviously this is about Photos 3.0. That appears to be part of OS-High Sierra. I have an older Mac that cannot run OS-HS — only Sierra (10.12.6 currently). It has Photos 2.0 — which does not have the same editing features. Do you know if it’s possible to upgrade to 3.0 on OS-Sierra? (My current work-around is to use GIMP as my photo editor — which has its challenges). Thanks.

    1 year ago

    You need High Sierra to have Photos 3.0. But Photos 2.0 has similar editing tools, though they look different. I’m pretty sure the cropping features are comparable, even if some of the lighting adjustments are new to Photos 3.0.

    Donald Kryzak
    1 year ago

    I have been using most of the cropping tools but this video showed me other things that I will be using in the future. Thank you for a great.

Comments Closed.