Any photographer or content creator worth their salt knows the difference that cropping an image can make. It’s a useful tool that can be used to enhance a picture by:
- Improving the overall composition
- Removing unwanted elements
- Placing emphasis on the main subject
- Altering the orientation or aspect ratio
- Reframing certain subjects
Most photo editing programs have a built-in crop feature that enables you to remove certain areas of a picture. But this is often a manual process that requires you to crop the images one by one. This, as you may already know from experience, can become rather time-consuming and bothersome. Especially if you have hundreds of photographs that need to be cropped in the same way.
In a case like this, we recommend using a photo editor with auto crop capabilities, as this will allow you to crop multiple images at the same time.
What is auto crop?
Auto crop, or smart crop, is a cropping tool that allows you to trim pictures down to the size of their contents. In addition, it allows you to apply the same aspect ratio to multiple pictures at once. This means that all of the pictures will be cropped to the same size at the same time.
Why use auto crop?
Auto crop is great for the simple reason that it can help you to save time.
Say, for instance, you have a batch of 50 old photographs that you want to digitize. You could scan them all one by one into your computer, but this would take you a few hours at best.
Instead, you could scan, say, five at a time as a single scanned image, and then use the auto crop tool to separate them all into individual files again.
How do I automatically crop multiple images?
There is a wide range of photo editing software programs that will allow you to crop a large number of photos in one go. You will need to perform a different set of steps with each one in order to process the changes, but they all do more or less the same thing.
We will look at five of these programs in more detail below.
1. Adobe Photoshop
Photoshop comes with a smart crop tool that can automatically crop and straighten your pictures. This is particularly useful for separating multiple photos that form part of a single digitally scanned image, since you won’t have to spend hours cropping each one individually.
How it works:
- Import the file you want to work with into Photoshop.
- Click on File in the top lefthand corner of the screen.
- In the drop-down menu, select Automate > Crop and Straighten Photos.
- The program will automatically crop all of the images for you, which you can then continue to edit or save as is.
- 2. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic
Lightroom Classic is a desktop photo editor recommended for professional photographers. There is also a more user-friendly version simply known as Lightroom.
How it works:
- Press “G” to enter the grid view in the Library module of Lightroom Classic.
- Select all of the photos you want to crop. To do this, click on the first image in the batch. Then, hold down the shift key and click on the last image. You can also click on Edit in the top lefthand corner of the screen and choose Select All from the drop-down menu.
- Open the Quick Develop panel on the righthand side of the screen.
- Open the first tab.
- Click on Crop Ratio to apply the same aspect ratio to all the photos that are currently selected.
- After setting your preferred aspect ratio, all the images will be cropped to that size.
Watermarkly has a free online crop tool with batch processing abilities that’s easy to use and effective.
How it works:
- Drag your photos into the app or upload them by clicking on Select Images.
- At the top of the screen, click on Select crop size.
- From the drop-down menu, you can choose between Freeform and Fixed aspect ratios. You also have the option to crop your photos according to the most popular dimensions used on social media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
- To crop multiple photos at once, you need to select a fixed aspect ratio. You can opt to apply one ratio to the entire batch, or you can select different ones for each image.
- Once you are satisfied with your selection, click on Crop Images on the righthand side of the screen.
BatchPhoto is another photo editor with batch processing abilities. It is available for both Windows and Mac.
Step 1: Add photos
In the program, click on the Add Photos button. Alternatively, you can use the drag & drop interface. You can also add a folder or a folder with subfolders.
Step 2: Edit photos
To start the editing process, click on Add Filter > Transform.
Choose between Auto Crop and Crop:
- Auto Crop allows you to crop images automatically according to the aspect ratio that you choose. It will also allow you to select the crop region (i.e., center, left/top, or right/bottom).
- Crop gives you the option to choose the cropping region manually. This is done by entering the new image coordinates in either pixels or a percentage. You can also freely select the area you want to crop by using the drag & drop interface.
Step 3: Setup and configuration
Select a destination for the new cropped images to be saved to, such as a local folder on your PC or Mac.
Choose whether you want to keep the original image format or convert it to a different one.
Click on the Process button. Your images will be cropped according to what you selected in the previous steps.
GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. Unfortunately, this program does not come with a built-in feature for batch processing images, but you can install a free plugin that will add the ability to do this. The plugin is available for both Windows, Linux, and Mac users.
How it works:
Once the plugin has been installed, open GIMP and click on File > Batch Image Manipulation in the top lefthand corner of the screen.
A dialog window will appear where there will be an option to Add Images > Add folders.
Select the images you want to upload and then click Add.
The images will appear in the dialog window under Input files and options. To the right of this is an option called Output folder. This is where the new images will be saved once you are done editing them. It is recommended to create a new folder to separate them from the original images.
Under Manipulation set in the dialog window, click on the Add button.
From the drop-down menu, select Crop.
A pop-up will appear where you will see two options: Crop to a standard aspect ratio and Manual crop. You can select either one of these to apply to all of your images. You can also select the crop region (e.g., center, top-left/right, bottom-left/right).
When you are done, click OK > Apply. The changes will be processed and applied to all of the images that you uploaded to the program.
Cropping multiple images at a time has never been easier thanks to photo editing programs like Photoshop, Lightroom, Watermarkly, BatchPhoto, and GIMP.