How to Crop an Image in Affinity Photo

by Mar 16, 2020Photo Editing Tutorials

Robin Whalley Landscape Photographer

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How to Crop an Image in Affinity Photo

In this tutorial, we’re looking at how to crop an image in Affinity Photo. To do this we’ll use the Crop Tool in the Photo Persona. As well as explaining how you can apply a crop, we’ll cover some of the many other useful options to control cropping.

Affinity Photo Trial Software

If you don’t have the latest version of Affinity Photo you can download a trial from the Affinity Photo website.

Quick steps to crop an image in affinity photo

If you don’t want to read the entire tutorial or you don’t have time, here are the basic steps to crop an image:

  1. Open your image in Affinity Photo.
  2. In the Photo Persona select the crop tool from the Tools Palette or press C on your keyboard.
  3. Click and drag with your mouse to select the area of the crop.
  4. Alternatively, resize the crop by clicking and dragging the edges of the Crop Overlay.
  5. Click the apply button in the top left of the interface.

But do please read further as there’s a lot more to learn about using the Crop Tool.

The Photo Persona Crop Tool

When you first open an image in Affinity Photo you will find yourself in one of two personas:

  1. If the file is a RAW file it will open in the Develop Persona.
  2. If the file is a regular image file, like a TIFF or JPEG, it will open in the Photo Persona.

If you’re new and unsure about the Personas, my Personas tutorial will help.

In this tutorial we’re editing a regular image file in the photo persona. If your file is a RAW file and opens in the Develop Persona, don’t worry. The crop tool and controls in that Persona are like that in the Photo Persona.

To select the Crop Tool, click its icon in the Tools Palette, on the left of the interface. Alternatively, you can press C on your keyboard.

Selecting the crop tool in the Affinity Photo photo persona

In this screenshot of the Affinity Photo interface you can see the Tools Palette magnified on the left. When you click the Crop Tool icon (indicated by the red arrow) the Crop Tool overlay displays over the image. In this example it shows a “Thirds Grid”.

The “Thirds Grid” uses the rule of thirds often used by photographers as a compositional tool. Affinity Photo also has other grid overlays you can choose using the drop-down in the toolbar along the top.

Selecting the Crop Area

Immediately after opening the Crop Tool, you can click and drag with your mouse to draw out the crop area. This only works if you do it immediately after selecting the tool.

Another way to select the crop area is by clicking and dragging the crop handles. The crop handles appear in the corners and along the edges of the crop overlay. You can see these indicated in the screenshot below.

Crop handles on the crop overlay in affinity photo

When you click one of these handles and then drag with your mouse, it resizes resize the crop area. If you click and drag anywhere else along the edge or within the crop area you will reposition it.

When drawing or resizing the crop overlay, there are several options you can choose from the Mode drop-down in the Affinity Photo toolbar.

Contraining the crop in affinity photo

Here you can see the options:

  1. Unconstrained – where you can draw out any area of the image without constraining the height or width.
  2. Original Ratio – which keeps the ratio between the length and height of the crop the same as the original image
  3. Custom Ratio – allowing you to enter the pixel dimensions of the long and short edges of the crop. The crop area then maintains this ratio as you resize it.
  4. Resample – where Affinity Photo will resize the cropped image to be the same size as the original image.

Rotating and Straighten an Image

Affinity Photo also has controls to rotate and straighten an image as it’s cropped. When you position your mouse pointer outside the crop area, you will see the shape change to a curved arrow.

straightening a crop in Affinity Photo

You can then click and drag, rotating the image below the crop area. This allows you to straighten the horizon by eye.

Another way to straighten an image with more precision is by using the level. You’ll find this in the toolbar along the top of the interface when the crop tool is active.

If you look in the toolbar you find a button labelled straighten. Click this to open the level tool. You can then click and drag a line along anything you want to appear level in the image.

straighten an image by drawing a level

Here I’ve clicked on the railings at one side of the image and dragged out the level to the top of the railings on the other side. When I release the mouse button the image rotates so that the line is level.

Applying crop presets

The crop tool in Affinity Photo includes lots of presets you can use to make cropping easier. These set the controls of the Crop Tool based on commonly used ratios and settings. You can access the presets by clicking the cog icon in the toolbar, next to the cancel button.

Crop presets in Affinity Photo

When you click the icon, a drop-down list displays where you can select your preset. You will also see a small drop-down menu icon in the top right of the preset list. You can use this to open the Affinity Photo Preset Manager.

Preset Manager in Affinity Photo

Alternatively, if you’ve defined your own settings in the Toolbar you can save them as a new preset using this menu.

Applying a Crop

To apply your crop to the image, click the Apply button in the top left of the affinity interface.

Applying the crop to an image in Affinity Photo

You can see this labelled as (1) in the image. Clicking this button applies the crop and close the Crop Tool.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to apply the crop that you’ve made click the Cancel button. This is in the interface next to the Apply button. It will cancel the crop, closing the Crop Tool.

If you want to cancel your changes but keep the Crop Tool open, use the Reset button (2) in the screenshot. Clicking resets any adjustments you have applied as well as any settings you’ve changed in the toolbar. You can then start your cropping again.

Cropping in Affinity Photo is non-destructive. Once you’ve applied a crop and closed the Crop Tool, you can still make changes. To make a change to a crop, open the Crop Tool again using the icon in the Tools Palette of pressing C on your keyboard. You can then click the “Reveal” option in the Affinity Photo toolbar along the top of the interface to reveal the cropped part of the image. This allows you to resize the crop area.

If you want to cancel a crop that you’ve previously applied, use the “Unclip Canvas” option in Affinity Photo’s “Document” menu.

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Summary of How to Crop an Image in Affinity Photo

The easiest way to crop an image in Affinity Photo is in the Photo Persona. The Crop Tool is non-destructive, allowing you to continue to refine and change the crop as needed. The tool also includes useful tools which you can use to control the crop, resize the image and straighten it all at the same time.

Another question that often comes up is how do I create a circular image by cropping? If you want to learn how to do that, see my tutorial on how to crop to a selection in Affinity Photo. It’s extremely useful for website images.

More Affinity Photo Tutorials

You’ll find more high quality, free tutorials on my Affinity Photo Tutorials page.

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