For such a simple tool – little more than a digital set of shears – it’s surprising how completely cropping can change a photo: it can dramatically shift the focal point and eliminate extraneous details. Even a subtle crop can be a vast improvement, creating a more interesting, dynamic composition.
iPhoto’s Cropping menu makes adjusting the framing of photos easy, with a selection of tools for rotating and trimming images, and an intuitive pinch-and-swipe gesture for resizing, rotating and positioning your image within the frame. Meanwhile, a library of standard image proportions enables speedy cropping.
Perhaps the neatest trick of all is the ability to rotate an image by simply tilting the iPad – although it’s hard to imagine doing this on an everyday basis, it’s still a quirky, fun way of carrying out an image edit.
More iPhoto tutorials
As recently featured in iPad & iPhone User, we have a series of seven tutorials covering different aspects of iPhoto for the iPhone and iPad. This superb app will make editing your photos a dream.
Time required: 5 mins
What you need:
iOS 5.1 or later
Step 1: Spinning around
iPhoto will import data about the image’s orientation along with the image, but it isn’t infallible. You can rotate an image through 90 degrees from the main editing interface. Tap the cog icon in the corner and pick Select Multiple, choose your images, then tap the arrow-and-square icon.
Step 2: Make the cut
To crop your image, tap the photo and then pull the corner handles to alter the image’s frame. While cropping is sometimes essential for removing unwanted elements from photos, it’s also worth treating with care: cropping them too closely can affect their sharpness.
Step 3: A sense of proportion
The arrow-and-square icon in the bottom right is the aspect ratio lock: when this is illuminated, your image will retain the same height-to-width ratio when you drag the cropping handles. To use the cropping handles freehand, simply tap the icon to unlock the aspect ratio.
Step 4: Fixed formats
Tap the cog icon beside the aspect ratio lock to crop your image to a selection of standard aspect ratios such as square and widescreen. This is also where the all-important ‘undo everything’ button lives, enabling you to abandon your cropping and rotating work and start again.
Step 5: In the frame
Drag the image to reposition it within its crop. A grid will appear, dividing the frame into horizontal and vertical thirds – the rule of thirds suggests locating the focal point of your image a third of the way up or across the frame. The cropped-out sections of the photo will show up in dark grey.
Step 6: Pick out detail
Pinch in or out with two fingers to zoom in or out of a specific area of the photo. As you can see with this example, unless you are using very high-resolution photography, images will quickly become blurry if you zoom in too closely and so again zooming is best used sparingly.