Beginner Cat Photo Skills

How to Crop Your Cat Photos for a Professional Look

How many photographs have you taken and been disappointed with the results? Your cat is too far away, or their tail tip isn’t in the photo, or you cut off an ear? How on earth can you rescue that photo?

I wanted to focus on something quick and easy that every cat lover can enjoy doing today to rescue and transform a photo. So, before you move the photo to the rubbish bin (trash) I am going to ask you to hold off deleting it for just a little while longer.

There is one great way to rescue photos so you can include the image in a blog post, help a rescue, or share on social media with friends and family. I add some extra tips at the bottom of the post too.

The Magic of Cropping

Wait. What?

That’s cheating, isn’t it? It’s not the photo you took? Yes, it is your photo, and cropping is one of the most popular post-production skills used by photographers of all levels. Adjusting photographs in an editor like Affinity, GIMP, or Corel Paint Shop Pro can help transform a good photo into a much better one. Cropping is something everyone can try.

Transform Your Pet Photos. Using good equipment allows you to take the best pictures of a tabby cat
Cropped photo of Tiger Lily at Neko Ngeru Cat Adoption Cafe © Dash Kitten

Why crop a photograph anyway?

  • You can remove a lot of distracting detail around your pet.
  • It will help focus on a pet and product more closely for a sponsored blog post.
  • A close crop can add a real sense of drama to your photograph
  • You can tell your story better. Cropping down to a pet and the toy they love best says a lot more than a distant cat or dog, in a living room, with a toy thrown off to one side!

How do I crop a Photo?

Every photo editor has this basic photo editing tool of two intersecting corners with a diagonal line through them. These corners appear on an image when you activate the tool and you can adjust the corners to see how they behave.

You need to look at an image you are not satisfied with and ask yourself if cropping would improve it. If you are not sure, make a duplicate of your photo and play with it.

Transform Your Pet Photos. Connor Square Closup Photograph cropped of a handsome tabby
Wide shot of Connor the Tabby Cat from Neko Ngeru
  • I go into detail about cat closeups here too.

Ask yourself how much of your photo you want to remove and experiment with different adjustments. Depending on your software you may also be able to crop to different shapes. Think beyond the rectangle, try a circular crop or a neat square like this one. Use one of the online editors like Tuxpi to create something more unusual (see the bottom of this post).

Connor Square Closup Photograph cropped of a handsome tabby
  • WordPress bloggers using Gutenberg have the option to display images with rounded corners. Use the Block Styles option.

Unless you aim for a dramatic close shot that fills the frame of your picture, give your subject room to ‘breathe’. The photo of Connor above, has light space around his head. the focus is on his cute face and bright eyes, so there is no cramped squashed feeling.

Try not to cut off a paw or tail tip when you crop. Ouch.`

Bonus Tip: Straightening

Have you ever taken a picture like this? You are trying to capture a passing moment and because you are rushed, with no time to look properly through your viewfinder, it comes out crooked? Maybe there is a lot of space around your subject, or perhaps you are lucky, like I was in this picture, to capture the whole pet at all. It’s just not straight, is it?

Black Cat photo slanting sideway

Your photo application should be able to help. Check the menus or handbook for a straightening option.

You will find a grid or measure that allows you to align or level your photo, usually with a slider of some kind. Like this photograph here, you may just need to make a small adjustment, and it will make a big difference to how people enjoy your photo.

Action photograph of a Cat climbing vertical pole

The Two Best Cropping Tricks

You don’t want to spend half your life cropping in a photo editor. So, let me pass on two of my favourite tips to help you get it right when you are taking your pet pictures.

Transform Your Pet Photos – Cultivate Composition Skills

Practising your composition skills is something you can work on every time you take a photo. Every picture is practice, and every shot a chance to improve and learn from your mistakes.

  • If we were all perfect photographers I believe the world would be a seriously boring place!

Don’t point and hope, try to frame your pet in a more interesting way. Did you know people like seeing pets slightly off centre in a photo. For some reason, our minds find the results more pleasing so try it with your own pictures.

The rule of thirds demonstrated by a cat photograph.
Salem and the ‘Rule of Thirds’ Grid

The Rule of Thirds is a basic composition technique that is intended to divide the frame into three equal horizontally and vertically segments using two pairs of equidistant straight lines.


One of the best aids for taking pictures is the grid option. This grid overlays your viewer and divides it into smaller rectangles. It’s a great guide to boost your composition confidence.

The grid uses the ‘rule of thirds’ and you can use these guides to help position your pet when composing a photo. A pet eye or body placed along one of the lines or at an intersection of two lines will make a difference. Try using the grid and see what happens.

Shoot at a High Resolution

If you take photographs using a smartphone or a compact, check your resolution settings. Let me explain why this can matter.

If you shoot at a higher resolution then crop you will still get very good image quality. This will be good enough to make a canvas print or printable item from Red Bubble or Zazzle as well as sharing on social media.

TIP: Higher resolution pictures the up more room in your camera storage e.g. RAW images are very large. Check how much capacity your camera has.

What I Learned from Cropping

The lesson from all this? Don’t give up on your photos. Post-production can help you rescue a picture or make it look so much better!

Have you ever surprised yourself cropping a picture? Did you transform your pet photos?

Cog photograph using online image editor
Tigger using

Sources for Free Online Photo Editing

  • The Internet’s original picture resizing tool.
  • Lunapic free online editor
  • has cute and unusual shapes for your photos

22 thoughts on “How to Crop Your Cat Photos for a Professional Look”

  1. I’ve done both cropping and straightening of my photos. I learned from another cat blogger that you don’t need the complete face or body of your cat in photos either. It’s amazing how different the photos can look.

  2. Cropping is a lifesaver for us! The boys rarely pose for a photo so Skipper has to do his magic on the computer.

  3. Great suggestions – thanks. Also, thanks for the resources.
    I have a folder full of images I plan to go back through and see if I can salvage!

  4. Mom takes the WORST photos.
    For someone with art training, she has a terrible time with photos…then in the 80’s, along came computer photo editing and the ability to crop and adjust the colour and contrast and Mom’s photos could be salvaged. She got her first digital camera in 1990 and it was a life changer,
    Luckily Alex seems to have the ability to compose a photo without having to put it into Photoshop
    Great post!

  5. I figured out cropping very quickly LOL when I realized what a lousy photographer I am and it has helped a lot, thanks for the blog hop and great post as always

  6. These are very helpful – I think I’ll have to give straightening a try, as I feel that a lot of my photos are crooked (but I still love them so I’d love to fix them). Thanks for the step by step on how to do it. Cheers to having more “post” able pup pics.

  7. Cropping can be a photographer’s best friend, yes…..sometimes we want to get everything in when we should zoom in on one part that really tells the story best! Shooting at a higher resolution can give you a crisper picture and tell a clearer story for your audience! As far as the rule of thirds, know when to use it and when to break the rules- for rules are meant to be broken sometimes!

    • Rules are definitely for breaking as I tell my learners. Arnold Schoenberg (I think) said “you need to know the rules to break them” which is a great thing to remember.

  8. Cropping is such an important step. I don’t believe I’ve ever posted a photo that I didn’t crop first. Even if I don’t do anything else to my dog photos, I always crop every single one of them.

  9. Our mom does a lot of cropping. That’s because there’s often junk in the background! MOL

  10. I think I use cropping more than any other feature…you could see how I cropped many of my images in the last post I made:)

    Straightening is useful too…though sometimes you end up cropping things in order to get the angle straight, in which case I try to balance the two for the best effect.

    Loved seeing the scratch post climber, MOL!

  11. Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips. We have used some of your tips in the past for our social media posts. We hope you are having a great week so far and you are staying safe during this time.

  12. Great post production photo tips, Marjorie. Cropping really can save some photos!

    Hope you are healthy and safe, my friend.

  13. I’ve tried so many times to tackle composition and I just don’t get it. I completely lack an eye for that. To be honest, I think that’s why I lack the motivation to even try to improve my photography. If I can’t grasp something so simple … and I have played around quite a bit with it too – so it’s not a lack of trying.


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