project life :: cropping photos {with free printable}

Cropping photos for Project Life {}

A couple of weeks back, I wrote about picking photos for Project Life, and printing as 4×6″ vs 3×4″, and spoke a bit about options for the 3×4″ pockets:

“If you don’t have Photoshop to do the collage for the smaller photos, you could either focus on a few large photos and use the 3×4 cards as fillers, or, as you are looking at your photos, check out how much room there is in your image. Perhaps you have a landscape photo, but half of it isn’t anything important and you could crop it down to a 3×4 portrait oriented photo, or crop all four sides for a 3×4 landscape photo.”

I thought as a follow on from this, a bit of a visual guide explaining what I’m talking about might be useful. Flicking through my photo library, I found this image:


This is Miss Butterfly catching a ride on Daddy’s shoulders after the ANZAC Day parade last year. I love it just the way it is, and would be tempted to use it as a 4×6, but maybe there is something else that week I would rather feature, and for whatever reason, printing as a 3×4 isn’t an option. That’s where the cropping comes in. The below examples are based on cutting down a 4×6″ print to fit the 3×4″ pockets.

{OPTION ONE} – Retain landscape orientation.

As much as I love all the negative space, it’s secondary to the main subject of the photo – Butterfly. When I looked at how to cut it down, I decided to keep her still somewhat off centre to keep a bit of a feel of the original (plus it leaves space for them to “walk” into. I quite liked a crop like this –

original with crop lines:PL3x4horoutline

finished crop version:

{OPTION TWO} – convert to portrait orientation.

Because the existing image is already 4″ high (and 6″ wide), to swap this landscape image to a portrait orientation, we only need to make two cuts. In the case of this photo, the width of Miss Butterfly’s bent arm plus her flag meant I really only had one option –

original with crop lines:

finished image after cropping:

If you are not certain how you want to crop the image, start with little cuts – it’s easier to trim more, but you can’t add it back! I’ve also made up a little printable crop guide for you to help visualise the end result. Simply print as a 4×6, and then cut out the white box in the centre, leaving you with a 3×4″ interior frame opening to move around on your print until you are happy with the result. Then simply add a light mark to the inside corners of the frame, and trim using your preferred method. (To download – click on the image below, which will bring up the full sized image, then simply right-click, and choose the “save image as” option. Personal use only, not for resale or redistribution. Please do not repost elsewhere.)

photo cropping guide for Project Life 3x4" photos {}

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