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Photo cropping basics

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Before you grab your camera to create that hot project or Web page, consider the end result. Remember, you can use scissors to cut out parts of a picture you don’t want, but you’ll end up with a smaller picture. There are better ways to create a new frame from within the context of the original shot.

Here are some techniques to help you improve your photo results and add dramatic impact to your projects:

Crop inside your camera first

Using a digital camera allows you to crop before you click the shutter, and then try again if you need to reshoot. Focus on what you want to include in your picture. When taking pictures of buildings, you may want to include a certain tree but not the telephone pole next to it. Don’t be afraid to move and view the building from an angle that excludes the telephone pole. Now take the shot and you’ll end up with your full image size “framed” the way you like it.

Crop doesn’t always mean chop

Pick a shape, such as a star or circle, using your scanner software. This tool works like a cookie cutter. Your picture will now be that shape. Some applications, such as HP’s Digital Imaging software and Microsoft Picture It, also offer colorful photo frame designs for those picture-perfect shots.
sizing it up

What if you need to crop a photo you’ve inherited that may be too large or requires zooming in on a face or object? Here’s where your scanner really comes in handy. Most HP ScanJet software will allow you to quickly resize and retouch photos instead of using an expensive photo lab. Try different sizes and cropping effects, store each version in your PC, then choose the one that fits your project layout.

Using software to crop

You can use almost any image-editing software to crop and resize your photos. When you crop, you cut out the parts at the edge of the photo that you don’t want to use. And when you resize, you change the dimensions of the picture.

You may already have an image-editing program on your computer. Take a look in your software and accessories folders to see. Most PCs come with Microsoft Paint, which you can use to edit photos, and newer Macs come with iPhoto, a photo viewing and editing tool.

Many HP products include easy-to-use HP photo imaging software and other programs, such as Arcsoft PhotoImpression, for editing your images. You can also buy software such as Adobe Photoshop Elements to edit your pictures and add special effects.

Here’s a basic overview of the steps to cropping. Your steps may be different, depending on which software you use. So read your user manual for details.

Open a digital image on your computer

Start your image-editing software, click on the File menu, and select Open. Browse through the folders until you find your image. You may need to change the selections so that they show all types of images and file formats. (Note: You may find it helpful to create a folder on your computer called “Quilt Project Pictures,” so you know where your photos are.)

Crop the picture so that it contains the part that you want to focus on

Usually there is a cropping tool, shaped like a square, in the tool palette, that you can use to crop your picture. You can also crop your picture by changing the size of the canvas to the dimensions you want. (To do this in Adobe Photoshop Elements, choose Image>Resize>Canvas Size.)

Make sure your picture is a high-resolution file (at least 150 dpi)

If your picture isn’t 150 dpi, but the dimensions of the image are large (20 inches wide and 18 inches high, at 72 dpi, for example), you can decrease the image size to increase the resolution. If your picture is at least 150 dpi, it will look fine when you print on fabric. In general, the higher the resolution, the better the image.

Save the image at the size you will be using it

Change the size of the picture so that it’s the size you’ll be using it. For example, if you are placing your picture in a 3 x 5-inch space, save it as a 3 x 5-inch photo. Save the image as a JPEG, with a new file name, in your My Project Pictures folder.

Visit the HP Digital Photography Centre