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I need to find a way to automate cropping a square image to a portrait image. For example, my images are centered in 1000W x 1000H and I need to crop them to 750W x 1000H. Some subjects are tall/slim (runs North-South) and some are wide (runs East-West). For subjects that don't extend beyond 750w, everything crops fine. However, for subjects that extend beyond 750W, the left/right is cropped off. Is there a quick way to crop from the center out? Thanks.

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To be honest with you, Photoshop has no real way of knowing what a subject is, although the most recent version of Photoshop CC 2018 has an automated Select > Subject function, but it's brand new, and doesn't work on everything. Also the function is missing in older versions of Photoshop.

I have no idea if it will work on your images, but I suppose you could try it. I've checked it is possible in CC 2018 to record Select > Subject in an Action, perhaps then you could Expand the selection by a set number of pixels, then apply a Crop action.

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The problem is that it's quite difficult for software to be programmed to know which part of a photograph is the subject, and which isn't. I think the above method would probably struggle if the background was complex/detailed and sharply in focus, or if there were multiple subjects. A computer is no substitute for the ability of the human brain to choose a crop for an image, taking composition into account (at least, for the moment).

When I need to make multiple crops of many images (sometimes several hundred), of different subjects in different orientations, I don't use Photoshop. I do it manually in Adobe Lightroom. Although manual, it's quick and efficient. There's no "saving" or "opening" required. Cropping is non-destructive. When the crops are done, you can export everything in one operation.

  • Hi Billy, thanks for the quick response to my inquiry. I haven't heard of Adobe Lightroom, but will definitely check it out. – Phi Mar 21 '18 at 16:37
  • Hi Billy, thanks for the quick response to my inquiry. I haven't heard of Adobe Lightroom, but will definitely check it out. Regarding my current cropping issue, all my images have white background. What I did with all the square images was set the IMAGE WIDTH to 750... so now all images are 750x750 and ALL subject matters are at MOST 750H.. but subject WIDTH could be from 1-750. Then I set crop to 750x1000 and drag to crop from center of image out...the crop tool stops at 750... how can I automate for crop to go beyond 750? – Phi Mar 21 '18 at 16:47
  • What I'm saying is you can't really automate it. Photoshop doesn't really know anything about subjects - it can't see anything, or make decisions based on what an image looks like. Even the newest version with the select subject function fails sometimes. – Billy Kerr Mar 21 '18 at 21:46
  • If you have a subscription for Photoshop CC 2018, Lightroom is also included in the price. – Billy Kerr Mar 21 '18 at 21:48
  • I think (though I’m not sure) you may be talking past each other here. Billy is talking about human subjects in a picture, while I get the feeling that Phi is using the term ‘subject’ to refer to the totality of the subject matter in the image, i.e., anything that’s not just plain white/transparent background. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Mar 21 '18 at 23:58

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