Daily tip: How to crop a photo in iOS 5
Wondering how to use iOS 5's new built-in editing ability to crop your images right in the Photos app? It's easy to do, and includes handy features like aspect ration constraints and even a grid to help you with the "rule of thirds." Here's how.
- Open Photos app
- Tap on the photo you wish to crop.
- Tap Edit in the top right corner (if the header has disappeared, tap the photo once to bring it back)
- Tap the crop symbol in the bottom right corner
- To choose a specific aspect ratio, tap Constrain and select from the list of nine options
- Now move, scale, and rotate the photo to how you wish the final crop to look. Some may find this counterintuitive as they want to manipulate the box in order to adjust the crop, but this is not how it works. You must manipulate the photo to fit in the box. To do so, use the standard pitch to zoom gestures as well as rotating.
- If you don't care about aspect ratio, then you can skip step 6 and stretch the corners of the box to select your crop.
- When you are done, tap Crop.
- This brings you back to your editing screen. Once you're done with all other edits, tap Save.
Notice that in this example, I chose to place the sun at the intersection of two grid lines, utilizing the rule of thirds in both directions. I also chose to crop to the left because cropping to the right would have centered the tree; since it's also a strong element of the photo, I did not want it centered. Had I been a smarter photographer, I would've composed the photo better from the beginning, because this tight crop has significantly lowered the quality of the photo.
One thing to keep in mind when cropping a photo is the "rule of thirds". The crop screen will show a grid with two vertical lines and two horizontal lines. Each lines is exactly one or two thirds down or across the photos. It is argued that in most cases, a photograph is more aesthetically pleasing when important compositional elements (like the subject itself, or horizons) fall on one of these lines. This is the so-called "rule of thirds".
The other thing to keep in mind is that the tighter you make your crop, the more damage you are doing to the quality of the photo. This is where the iPhone 4S has a greater advantage to previous iPhone models because it is equipped with an 8MP camera.
Bonus tip: If after saving your crop, you realize it was a bad decision, you can re-enter the crop menu and redo or clear your crop. This could be great for, say, profile pictures: crop a group photo to just include just you, upload it to Facebook or Twitter, then go back and clear the crop without any permanent destruction done to the photo.
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