If you have a business, it’s especially important to maintain a professional appearance online. Not only do you have your own website, but you also use several social media accounts (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.) to stay in touch with your current and potential patrons. Images can also make or break your online profile appearance. As a designer, it’s sad to see a once nice-looking website feature pixelated or stretched images. An excuse I have heard before is that Photoshop is too expensive. No more excuses—I’m making you aware of the 3 options, readily available at your fingertips.
Start with High Quality
But first, here are a couple of guidelines for creating good-looking cropped images. Always check the original image size and appearance, making sure that cropping/sizing your image doesn’t create pixelation because it is already too low-quality. For instance, if you find an image that is 300x200px (pixels) and you wish to size it to be an 800x800px profile pic, it will not look good. If you are using purchased stock images, you should have no problem cropping and saving for web. If you are cropping anything else such as a personal photo, make sure you start with a high-quality image.
Crop for Aspect Ratio
If you need a square image that is 800x800px for your profile, cropping to 1015x1015px should work fine. Similarly, if you need a 400x300px image, cropping to 800x600px works, too. The website uploader should be able to use it and scale it appropriately. With these three free options I’m listing, you will find that aspect ratio may become more important than exact size.
Here are three readily available options for sizing images:
1. WordPress – for Mac or PC users with WordPress
You may already be with familiar with WordPress if you use it to update your business website, but perhaps you did not know that you can use it to crop your images upon upload. In WordPress, choose “Media” on the left-hand side and “Add New”. Drag and drop your file from your desktop into the browser menu. Select “Edit.” To crop, drag your cursor across the image to activate the crop tool. Change the selection to the appropriate pixel size or aspect ratio. Then save with a new file name, so as to preserve your original file. You will be able to see both files in your Media Library.
Example: dragging across image will activate the crop icon.
2. Google Photos – for Mac or PC users
If you use Google Mail (gmail) or if you have a Google Account, you can try Photos.Google.com right now. You can access Google Photos through photos.google.com or if you are logged in to your account, find the Google Photos icon in the menu options.
In Google Photos, drag/drop your photo into the library. Select your photo and click the pencil/edit button. Select the crop icon in the upper right-hand corner.
You can change your aspect ratio here. (Unfortunately this program does not allow you to be as specific with your pixel sizes as WordPress or Preview.) When you click “Done” to save your new photo, it will take the place of your original photo in your photo album. The good news is: If you edit the photo again, you will have the option to revert back to your original.
Example: Google Photos offers these sizing options.
3. Preview Application – for Mac users
I have found that in a pinch, Preview offers a great (and my favorite) non-Photoshop option for cropping and sizing photos. Open your photo with the Preview application. Click on the toolbox icon to reveal your toolbar.
Drag your cursor across your photo (use the shift key for a square image). Click the “Crop” button. Last, click the title “Untitled” to rename and save your new image.
Example: Preview shows pixel size as your crop.
Hopefully one of these three options will suit your image resizing and cropping needs. If you have any questions or need any more advice, you know where to turn! 😉
Social Media Guidelines:
As a side note, social media sites are often changing their requirements on image sizes. There are many articles out there listing appropriate sizes for social media sites, but here is a great website that our Developer Todd Dengler found.
Use this Social Media Cheat Sheet to keep your images sized appropriately and set up perfectly: