Cropping is an easy and amazing capability at your design fingertips, but sometimes you want to be able to have your photo take on a different shape and size without having to crop and remove any bits and pieces.
One popular need and use case comes with Instagram, where you want to be able to post, say, a physical photo in its entirety without having it cropped to fit the Instagram feed size.
So, we are going to go through how to make a rectangle photo into a square without cropping, and then as a bonus, I’ll show you an option for making the most out of the leftover white space.
My preferred tool is Canva, which is what I’ll use with the instructions below, but there are a number of different apps and options that might help you accomplish the same.
(If you’d rather watch a video, here you go!)
How to Make a Photo Square Without Cropping
To make a photo square without cropping, all you need to do is upload the photo to a square canvas. From there, you can choose whether or not to fill in the new white blank space and background with other design elements or not.
1. Create a new design
If you’re new to Canva, the first thing you’re going to do is create a design You can easily do so by clicking the “create a design” button at the top right of the screen, or, by searching for an already-built template to work from.
Since you are going to be uploading a photo as the primary element in the next step, I’d suggest starting blank, or finding a template with a background you’d like to utilize.
Your dimensions of the new design are going to be anything square shaped, or, you can simply type in “instagram” and then select the 1080x1080px “Instagram Post” option.
On the Canva app, you’ll see the “Instagram Post” option front and center, and when clicked, you’ll see the option to start with a “blank” design.”
Once you click, you’ll be taken to your new design canvas, where you see a blank white space to work from, along with a number of template options on the left (on Desktop).
2. Upload your picture
The next step is getting the photo you want to use into Canva. So, one spot down from “templates” you’ll see “uploads.” Once you click “uploads” you’ll see a button to “upload media.”
Once clicked, you’ll be able to upload the photo from your computer or just like you would with any other program.
If you’re using the app, you’ll see a plus sign in the bottom right hand corner—click it, and then click “images” to access your phone’s photos.
3. Place & resize the photo
Once you upload your photo, you’ll see it appear under “uploads” and then you can either click it to place it on the design, or, you can drag the photo on to the design.
Once the photo is on the design canvas, you can grab the corners and drag it as large as possible without cropping.
You will now see your horizontal or vertical photo on the square canvas. You’ll also see you have some blank white space either above and below the photo, or to the left or right.
You can now choose to download your photo in its new square shape, or you can take an additional easy step to make that white space a bit more appealing if you wish.
4. Add to the background
As mentioned, you have already taken your rectangle photo and have made it into a square shape without having to crop. But, you can take one small step to fill in the white background, like so:
This is my go-to method—simply adding a blurred version of the main photo to serve as your new background.
To do this, add your photo again to your design, and this time, instead of only resizing the photo to be large enough without cropping, go ahead and drag it large enough so that it covers all of the white space.
Then, go to “Position” and then select “backward.” You’ll now see your smaller photo placed on top of the larger photo.
Select the larger photo and then go to “adjust.” You’ll see the option for “blue” where you can toggle just how much blue you’d like to put in play.
Easy, right? Really, you have so many different options when it comes to this step. Here are a few other examples for inspiration!
Either way, hope this solves your issue of creating a square photo without cropping. If still stuck, please don’t hesitate to comment here or on the YouTube walkthrough, or contact me.
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