Photo Basics part 1. Cropping and resizing your images

By Brenda Essig aka Zanymuse (Zanymuse) on October 11, 2010

When working with image files it is often necessary to re-size an image. Most cameras can take pictures in very high resolutions that make it possible to get wonderful high quality prints. On the web, those huge files are simply not good. They take much too long to load and waste a lot of server space. Before you start resizing all your images or cropping them take a few minutes to consider what you want to use the image for.

...There are many ways to achieve a special look or feel to an image. The  simplest is croping the image to remove the unwanted or unsightly things in the edges. Cropping away the unwanted portion allows the eye to fucus on the important part of the image  without distraction.This leaves the file size smaller because you have removed some of the picture but the part remaining is still available in it's high resolution. The more you crop, the smaller the file size.

For example: I normally would NOT publish a picture of my unmade bed no matter how sweet I Think Pyxle looks.But when I was asked to contribute a  nosey dog picture to a forum, I was happy to add her charming nose.


2010-10-09/Zanymuse/e9eb79 The original picture file size was huge.It was over 32 MB's in size and to view it you had to scroll horizontally and vertically. To post it here I resized it to a reasonable size and reduced it to 72px resolution for use on the web. It still shows my messy bed and the clarity of the image suffered but it is still a nice image of the cute dog that owns me.
2010-10-09/Zanymuse/d297e5 The image of my nosey darling was first cropped from the  original full sized image.This gave me a nice sized image with plenty of detail. It is almost as if I had taken it as a macro shot to begin with. Even resized to 72 px it retains most of it's detail.

Using the same image and cropping it for the nose shot AFTER it was resized to 72 px resolution  the difference is blurringly obvious.

Crop first, then resize as needed to avoid this.

Always work with a copy of the original so that you can go back to the original  if you need to.

Besides cutting out messy and embarrassing beds there are other reasons to crop pictures. I often crop to reduce the file size while maintaining the details of my picture. This works especially well when I am creating banners and using pieces from several images to create a single image or when I want to use a slice of an image as a banner by itself.

By taking the slice first from the full sized image I can avoid excessive distortion and blurring on the image and retain as much detail as possible.


This image of the Biltmore Mansion  was contributed to the Playpen of Graphics Database by Weeds.

This is the image in the largest file size available to me.

2010-10-10/Zanymuse/c8e554 This is the image after I cropped it for use on a banner.

As you can see in the example below, cropping the height of the image and leaving the width alone gives me a better view of the mansion on my banner while maintaining the images proportions.

Biltmore mansion sample banner

The image had already been reduced to 72px resolution before it was added to the database. Since it was still a nice sharp image I was able to sucessfully crop it for use. If it had been available in it's original file size the details would have been even sharper, but for our purposes, it looks great.


Disclaimer: I make no pretense of being a professional and my skills are limited to what I have learned through trial and error. These articles are not intended to teach experts but rather to encourage beginners to dig in and have fun. I am an amateur image manipulator versus a digital artist who actually creates  images such as the amazing creations of Diana Smailus (Pastime).

In case you missed it Lynn Reno (azreno)  over at Desert Rubble gave us a fantastic article in her cubit about creating and using a lightbox for photographing jewelry or other small items.

There others here  that have shown their images on various cubits whos work I have admired and I am hoping they will step forward with their knowledge and share it with us through articles. Any image related subject would be welcome from how to select a camera, how to photograph your products for your store, how to ...Won't you share your knowledge with us?


Next: selective cuts, cloning and layering

Related articles:
cropping images, file sizes, image manipulation, resizing images

About Brenda Essig aka Zanymuse
Interests: Love, Life, Laughter These are the important things in the human experience.

I love learning and sharing. I enjoy life and laughter makes life enjoyable.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
More good info! Bubbles Oct 18, 2010 1:05 PM 20

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