Photoshop Elements: Crop to the Rule of Thirds

May 08, 2013

Photoshop Elements: Crop to the Rule of Thirds

We've talked about how composing your images with your main subject placed in the frame according to the rule of thirds can add depth and interest to photos.

But, let's face it, sometimes it just doesn't happen. For whatever reason, whether you're moving quickly or you just didn't think about it, you compose an image where your subject is in the center or wherever in the frame, but they're not placed according to the rule of thirds. And the result is an image that you're pretty sure would be stronger if you could just move you’re a subject a bit and place them in that sweet spot.

Well, you often can!

Depending on the composition of your photo, you may very well be able to crop it to move your subject into a better position and, by doing that, create a better image.

Doing this in Photoshop Elements is easy because there's an option you can choose when you are cropping an image. With this option selected, you can use the crop tool with a grid overlay that corresponds to the Rule of Thirds.

The image below could use a little compositional tweaking:

photoshop elements crop

In Photoshop Elements, choose the crop tool from the toolbox along the left-hand side of the interface:

photoshop elements crop

With this tool selected, make sure that the Overlay option, located in the top menu bar, is set to "Rule of Thirds and the Aspect ratio is set to "No Restrictions:

photoshop elements crop

Now, using the crop tool, select the entire image. When you do, you will see a grid showing the lines of the Rule of Thirds:

photoshop elements crop

Now, adjust the selection by dragging and moving the boxes on the corner of the selection outline until your subject is at the intersection of the grid lines:

photoshop elements crop

When you're happy with the selection, click on the green check mark below the crop selection:

photoshop elements crop

And that's it! Your photo is cropped and looking better:

photoshop elements crop



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