How to crop and straighten photos

Cropping is the process of removing portions of a photo to create focus or strengthen the composition. Use the Crop tool to crop and straighten photos in Photoshop. The Crop tool is non-destructive, and you can choose to retain the cropped pixels to optimize the crop boundaries later. The Crop tool also provides intuitive methods to straighten a photo while cropping.

For all operations, visual guides provide an interactive preview. When you crop or straighten photos, real-time feedback helps you visualize the final result.

Crop a photo

  1. From the toolbar, select the Crop Tool . Crop borders display on the edges of the photo.

  2. Draw a new cropping area or drag the corner and edge handles to specify the crop boundaries in your photo.

  3. (Optional) Specify the Crop options using the Control bar.

    Crop tool options in Photoshop
    Crop tool options in Photoshop

    A. Aspect Ratio menu B. Swap Width and Height values C. Overlay Options 

    Size and proportions

    Choose a ratio or size for the crop box. You can also choose a preset, enter your own, or even define your own preset values for later use.

    Overlay Options

    Choose a view to display overlay guides while cropping. Guides such as Rule of Thirds, Grid, and Golden Ratio are available. To cycle through all the options, press O.

    Crop Options

    Click the Settings (gear) menu to specify additional crop options.

    Use Classic mode

    Enable this option if you want to use the Crop tool like it was in previous versions of Photoshop (CS5 and earlier).

    Auto Center Preview

    Enable this option to place the preview in the center of the canvas.

    Show Cropped Area

    Enable this option to display the area that is cropped. If this option is disabled, only the final area is previewed.

    Enable Crop Shield

    Use the crop shield to overlay the cropped areas with a tint. You can specify a color and opacity. If you Enable Auto Adjust Opacity, the opacity is reduced when you edit the crop boundaries.

    Delete cropped pixels

    Disable this option to apply a non-destructive crop and retain pixels outside the crop boundaries. Non-destructive cropping does not remove any pixels. You can later click the image to see areas outside current crop borders.

    Enable this option to delete any pixels that are outside the crop area. These pixels are lost and are not available for future adjustments.


    Right-click the Crop box to access common crop options from the context menu.

  4. Press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS) to crop the photo.

Content-Aware Fill on Crop

Introduced in Photoshop CC 2015.5 release

Photoshop now uses content-aware technology to intelligently fill in the gaps when you use the Crop tool for straightening or rotating an image, or expanding your canvas beyond the image's original size.

Follow these steps:

  1. From the toolbar, select the Crop Tool (). Crop borders display on the edges of the photo.

  2. In the Options bar, select Content-Aware. The default Crop rectangle expands to include the whole image.

    Content-Aware crop

  3. Using the handles around the image, straighten or rotate it. Alternatively, expand the canvas beyond the original size of the image.

  4. When you are satisfied with the results, click  in the Options bar to commit the crop operation. Photoshop intelligently fills in the white/gap areas in the image.


Content-Aware Fill On Crop is not supported in the Classic mode of the Crop tool. To disable the Classic mode, do the following:

  1. With the Crop tool selected, click the Set Additional Crop Options icon in the toolbar. 
  2. In the settings menu that appears, deselect Use Classic Mode.
Disable the Classic mode
Crop tool | Disable the Classic mode

Straighten a photo while cropping


If you're using a recent release of Photoshop, you may prefer using Content-Aware Fill on Crop while straightening images.

You can straighten a photo while cropping. The photo is rotated and aligned to straighten it. The canvas is automatically resized to accommodate the rotated pixels.

Rotate the photo using the Crop tool to straighten it

  1. To straighten a photo, do one of the following:

    • Place the pointer a little outside the corner handles and drag to rotate the image. A grid displays inside the crop box and the image rotates behind it.
    • Click Straighten in the control bar and then using the Straighten tool, draw a reference line to straighten the photo. For example, draw a line along the horizon or an edge to straighten the image along it.

See Straightening a crooked image to watch a video explaining straightening an image using the Crop tool.

Transform perspective while cropping

The Perspective Crop tool lets you transform the perspective in an image while cropping. Use the Perspective Crop tool when working with images that contain keystone distortion. Keystone distortion occurs when an object is photographed from an angle rather than from a straight‑on view. For example, if you take a picture of a tall building from ground level, the edges of the building appear closer to each other at the top than they do at the bottom.

Photoshop Transform perspective
Steps to transform perspective

A. Original image B. Adjust cropping marquee to match the object’s edges C. Final image 

  1. To correct image perspective, hold down the Crop tool and select the Perspective Crop tool .

  2. Draw a marquee around the distorted object. Match the edges of the marquee to the rectangular edges of the object.

  3. Press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS) to complete the perspective crop.

See the video Adjust perspective in a photo for more information.

Resize the canvas using the Crop tool

You can use the Crop tool to resize the image canvas.

  1. From the toolbar, select the Crop Tool . Crop borders display on the edges of the image.

  2. Drag the crop handles outwards to enlarge the canvas. Use the Alt/Option modifier key to enlarge from all sides.

  3. Press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS) to confirm the action.

To resize the canvas, you can also choose Image > Canvas Size. See Change the Canvas size.

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