Square Cropping Trick

Many people reading this probably have a digital camera other than their phone camera. While iPhones and other smartphones have great cameras, which do you think takes better photos? Your phone or camera? For me this is a simple answer, I’ve invested thousands of dollars in great camera equipment so I need to utilize it on every platform I post photos, this blog, Gal Meets Glam and Instagram. The issue with transerring photos from the camera to Instagram is that it takes the picture in a rectangle but we post square images on IG.

Have you ever taken a picture with your camera and then tried to crop it in into a square but it just doesn’t work how you wanted it to? Here’s an example where I was taking pictures in portrait. I would have loved to show our full faces and hats and the whole fire pit.

Failed Square Crop Example


This tends to happen a lot more when you are shooting at longer focal lengths than the iPhone focal length of 35mm.

I’ve got a simple fix for you. Next time you know you are taking an image specifically for Instagram and you know your desired crop (headshot or full body being two examples) all you have to do is shoot the image in Landscape. I’ve found that Height is the most common limiting factor that keeps you from getting your crop right. Below is an example where I knew I wanted to be the perfect distance away so I could show off how dusty Julia is and at the same time do the pretty landscape justice. Then all I have to do is edit the photo in Lightroom and square crop it.

Square Crop Example


Sometimes when you are taking a group shot it’s hard to get everyone in the picture at the desired crop. The trick here is to start in landscape make sure you have the proper crop, such as full body. Then, before taking the picture, turn the camera to portrait to make sure everyone fits in the frame. It’s always best to double check in these situations because the last thing you want to do is have to crop out Susan because she’s out of the frame.


  • Garrett says:

    I never liked Susan much, anyway…

  • Elaine says:

    Hi there! Thanks for this article. I have, what might be, a stupid question: do you utilize a wifi-memory card and then access your pics wirelessly from your phone to upload to instagram? Or do you always use a computer and then message it to your phone to upload? I’m wanting to use my camera (olympus pen) to take more pics but havent streamlined my posting process yet……

    • Thomas says:

      Since I’m shooting images in RAW file format I have to upload the images on a computer first. Once I edit and export I add to a Cloud Storage that can be accessed on any device. I’ve only seen wifi memory cards that can transfer jpg files. Though I’m not too familiar with them.

  • Such a great tip! I hate when photos don’t crop the way I want them to. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Tanya Foster says:

    Love this tip! So smart. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lindsay says:

    Love your posts! Can’t wait to read more!

  • Niki says:

    Good question Elaine, I was wondering the same thing. Right now I do the same as Thomas. I kept wondering if there was a shortcut to this.

  • Ann Krembs says:

    This one seems like such a no brainer! But I wasn’t clueing into this simple tip. Thank you for bringing making us all aware Thomas. No duh is being said in my head! ;P

    Ann from Kremb de la Kremb

    PS I’ve used a wifi SD card. It’s pretty nifty. Then I realized that these crisp awesome photos weren’t consistent with my other Instagram pics so I’ve stopped for a bit. It’s tempting to maybe just take all Instagram pics on a nice camera. Something to think about….

  • Cristiano says:

    Great tip Thomas. I found myself doing this subconsciously the other day. Like the final point around doing a final portrait check – will do that next time. By the way, what cameras do you use? I noticed you mention a Canon 5D III in another post, but I’ve also seen a picture of some nice looking Leica’s in one of your posts

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