Open a photo. When opened in Photoshop, it will appear as a layer named Background. The first thing to do before applying any finishing touches is to crop the photo, and remove anything that intrudes on the image. For this tutorial, we’ll begin with this image:
Select the Crop tool (C). Much of the time, our snapshots are taken without a lot of thought to composition. Either we’re just capturing a moment, or are taking a lot of shots in hopes of finding “the one.” Cropping can help you focus a picture on the subject and add a lot of strength to the image.
This image is being cropped using the rule of thirds. The general idea is that a picture is divided into thirds, horizontally and vertically. Important elements of the image should be on or near the lines.
You can see the peaks of the mountains are roughly aligned to the vertical lines, while the sky and trees are defined by the horizontal lines. It is felt that this makes a more interesting image than having everything centered.
Press Enter to crop the image.
Select the Spot Healing Brush tool (J). Use this to clean up bits of the image that weren’t cropped out, but are distracting. For our test image, we’ll be trimming the trees at bottom left, bottom right, and upper right.
Your image is now prepared for the next step: making it outstanding!