Extend The Canvas To Create A Better Composition

Here's a tip for improving your shot when the composition of your photo isn't quite right
Click Images To Enlarge This Article Features Photo Zoom

If I wind up with a crop that’s too tight or if I need to provide a bit of ‘breathing room’ for a subject, I sometimes extend the canvas so the composition feels better. In the image that illustrates this Tip, the lens I used was too long and when the duckling stretched, the end result left a tight crop on the right hand side. To create a more comfortable feel, I added pixels to the right side.

Step 1: Open the original in Photoshop and crop the image. Note that on the right side, I ‘pulled’ the crop handle farther than the image area  to add a blank portion to the canvas.

Step 2: Use the Rectangular Marquee tool with the feather amount set to Zero to select a portion of the right side of the image.

Step 3: With the selection active, go to Edit>Copy and then Edit>Paste. A new layer will appear in the layers palette and the marquee lines will disappear from the image.

Step 4: Be sure the new layer is highlighted and go to Edit>Transform>Flip Horizontal. The marquee selection will now be reversed. Click on the Move tool and drag the selection to the right and line up the pixels accordingly. Use the clone stamp tool to break up any obvious patterns that show the pixels were copied

Step 5: Make a final crop to eliminate the extra portion of the canvas that consists of blank pixels.

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    If a person is fortunate to have Adobe Photoshop of at least version CS5 then the content aware tool can work wonders giving you more picture than you started with. Enlarge your canvas to desired size and use the content aware tool to fill in… Check out tv.adobe.com for info about the content aware tool.

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