There are a lot of reasons you might need to crop a photo on the web – you might want to optimize it for a social post, fit it in a specific space in a document, or cut out extra background from a profile picture. But most online editors don't allow you to fully customize your cropping and output dimensions, and the most robust editors often cost money, or require an app download.

In this article, I'll show you a better way to crop using a free online tool called Kapwing. Kapwing works well on computers, phones, and tablets, gives you free cloud storage for your content, and gives you the functionality of a high-powered editing software. To crop your photos, you’ll need to know just three steps:

  1. Upload Your Photo to Kapwing
  2. Crop or Resize
  3. Publish & Download

Step 1: Upload Your Photo to Kapwing

You can find your photos anywhere on the Internet (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google Images, Google Drive, etc.) since Kapwing lets you easily import pictures from almost any site. All you need to do is copy the link to the photo or its webpage. And if you’ve saved your pictures onto your device, just make sure you know where they’re located. If you're uploading photos from your desktop, it's a good idea to have your file browser open, so you can click & drag your content into the Kapwing Studio.

To upload your content, just go to Kapwing.com and click “Get Started.” Or, if you're already signed in, click "New Project," then "Start with Studio." This will take you to the Kapwing Studio, where you can use all of Kapwing’s editing tools in one place. Once you’re in the Studio, either select “Click to Upload” and search in your file browser, or paste the link to the picture you want to upload. If your picture is easily accessible, you can also drag & drop it into the Studio window, and it will upload automatically.

Step 2: Crop or Resize

Once your content is fully uploaded to the Studio, select your photo and choose "Crop" from the right-hand menu. If you're using a mobile device, select your photo, choose "Edit Layer," then choose "Crop." In the Crop window, you can click & drag the corner buttons of the picture to adjust its size and dimensions. Click & drag the cropped frame to choose the portion of your photo that you want to be visible.

You can also choose among various preset aspect ratios for your photo. Once you've selected a common preset aspect ratio, you can click & drag the photo's corners and move the cropped frame, while the photo's dimensions remain the same.

Kapwing also allows you to choose your photo's exact output dimensions, if you want the picture to fit in a particular space or have a specific file size. Just deselect your photo and choose "Custom Size" from the canvas size options in the right-hand menu (or choose "Edit Canvas," then "Custom Size" on mobile). Here, you can enter your exact desired output dimensions, or adjust the scale of your photo while locking its aspect ratio. Most sites make it easy to find out what aspect ratio you should use when posting visual content, but you can also look through an exhaustive list of social media sizing guidelines.

While you’re in the Kapwing Studio, you can make any other edits that your image needs:

Add & edit text
• Add other pictures, GIFs, videos, overlays, & audio
• Add shapes
• Add text animations
Crop & filter

Step 3: Publish & Download

Once you've cropped your photo and edited it to perfection, click "Publish" in the upper right-hand corner. Kapwing will automatically work its magic and your picture will be ready to download in no time!

When your picture is finished processing, click “Download” from the right side of the screen. If you’re using a mobile device, you’ll need to download the very small Kapwing mobile app from the App Store. The app doesn’t require any login – it’s only meant to help you download your content. To download your picture on your iPhone, just copy the URL of the download page and paste it into the URL field in the Kapwing app.

Remember to tag us @KapwingApp whenever you share your content on social media– we love to see what our creators are passionate about! And be sure to subscribe to the Kapwing Resources page – we’re constantly writing new tutorial and features to help you make the most out of Kapwing.


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