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This chapter is from the book 2. Crop and Rotate

2. Crop and Rotate

The composition of a photo is often just as important as what appears within the frame. If you’re not happy with the image’s original framing, or you want to excise distracting elements like tree branches from the edges, recompose the shot using the Crop tool.

Another common correction is to adjust a photo’s rotation. Unless you set up the shot on a sturdy tripod, it’s not uncommon to get shots that are slightly tilted. Don’t worry, Elements offers easy fixes.

To crop a photo:

  1. With the image open in the Editor, choose the Crop tool A (or press the C key).
  2. Figure 1-6 A The Crop tool

  3. Click and drag across the image to define a selection representing the boundaries of the visible area B. Don’t worry about being precise at first.
  4. Figure 1-7 B Drag to define the image’s new dimensions after cropping.

  5. Instead of drawing a freeform rectangle, you can constrain the selection to match preset aspect ratios, such as common photo sizes or the photo’s original dimensions. Choose an option from the Aspect Ratio drop-down menu in the toolbar.
  6. Click the Commit button C or press Enter or Return to apply the crop.
  7. Figure 1-8 C The Commit button appears at the bottom of the crop area.

To rotate a photo:

Choose Image > Rotate and choose from the following options D.

  • Choose one of the first three items in the list to turn the entire image in 90-degree increments, such as when you shot a photo in portrait (tall) orientation but the image file was imported with a landscape (wide) orientation.
  • To rotate just the active layer, choose one of the layer options further down the menu.
  • Figure 1-9 D Elements’ rotation options

To straighten a photo:

There are a few ways to nudge the rotation and straighten an image, but the easiest is to use the Straighten tool:

  1. Click the Straighten tool in the Tools panel E.
  2. Figure 1-10 E The Straighten tool

  3. In the options bar, choose how the straightened image will appear from the Canvas Options drop-down menu. The default is Grow or Shrink Canvas to Fit, but I prefer to use Crop to Remove Background for a cleaner result.
  4. Drag a horizontal line that compensates for the amount the picture is rotated. This approach is easier if you have a well-defined horizon line, but in this example, I’m drawing the line perpendicular to the vertical wall corners in the background F. The image straightens.
  5. Figure 1-11 F Drag as if you’re defining a “horizon line.”

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