Cropping can be one of the most overlooked parts of a photographer's post production. While getting it right in camera is the goal, sometimes a crop after the fact really can bring out the best of your image.
In this tutorial we're going to use Acorn, an image editing program for macOS, to do our cropping and resizing. With the one-time purchase price of $39.99, Acorn is a very attractive option for your go-to photo editing suite. It has a 14 day free trial.
1. Consider Your Photo
Have you ever wondered why someone people's photos appear sharper or higher quality on social media? Social media platforms compress your photos when you upload them, so learning how to resize your photos is a way to make sure they look their best online.
What makes a composition effective? What is the right crop for a photo? For me, it means the message of the photograph is communicated or understood with ease. Often times, that means bringing the viewers eye directly to your subject. Ask yourself this question: Does my eye go to the subject first? If no, what crop could help to make that happen?
Here is a photo I made while driving through rural Macedonia. I was in the passenger seat of the van, and we were driving at highway speeds, which means the landscape changes quickly. For me, the subject of this photo is the house on the hill on the left side, so let's see if we can improve this composition with a crop.
2. Play With Different Crops
It's important to play here. What is the right crop? Does this crop highlight my subject? Let your eyes be your guide.
3. Commit To Your Crop
Ultimately, this photo is about the house. I wanted to feel the isolation of the house, lost amongst the mountains, and the right side of the image was pulling my eye away from that. I'm also considering posting this photo to Instagram, so a square crop lends itself nicely with that platform.
Remember, there's no right and wrong answer here. Just what's right for you, and what you want out of your photograph.
4. Resize for Social Media
Resizing our cropped photo is imperative to be sure it will look it's best online. The good news, is that Acorn makes resizing very simple. Simply clickImage > Resize Image.
Each social media platform has a different suggested size of image to upload for optimal quality. Be sure to look up the maximum image size for the social media platform you're looking to uploading to. Instagram states the maximum image size is 1080 pixels wide — so we'll resize our image to those specs. Because this photo is being used for web, we can reduce the resolution to 72 pixels per inch (standard screen resolution). Leave the Scaling as is.
5. Save Your Photo, and Share!
You now have a cropped, resized photo, ready to go for social media. Be sure to do a Save As so you save your resized photo as a copy, not to overwrite your original. And you're off to the races!
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