How to Square-up Photos of Paintings in Photoshop

If you’re as unfortunate as I and own neither a scanner nor a tripod, you probably find yourself wrangling with ever-so-slightly un-square photos of your paintings. In this easy, step-by-step Photoshop tutorial, we will learn how to square-up said wonky photo. This is a pretty simple tutorial making use of basic Photoshop techniques.Original Art Work in Progress

Because I don’t have any new art to show you, I’m using a slightly wonky work-in-progress shot that you haven’t seen yet. You might recall I posted a sneak peak of this little guy in the very early stages way back in November! That’s right, he’s still unfinished.

  1. Launch Photoshop and drag your photo in.
  2. Turn on Rulers, if they’re not displayed already, by selecting View > Rulers. How to Square-up Paintings in Photoshop-1

  3. Create Smart Guides around the edge of the painting, where the straight edges should be, by dragging them out from the rulers at the top and left of the document. How to Square-up Paintings in Photoshop-2

  4. Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to draw a rectangular selection as shown on the image below. Make sure you encompass the whole area of the painting, without cutting anything off. It’s okay to go outside the margins. How to Square-up Paintings in Photoshop-3

  5. Activate the Free Transform tool (Cmd + T)

  6. Hold Cmd and drag the corners around until the painting’s square — use the guides to line up the edges. How to Square-up Paintings in Photoshop-4 Note: Hold down the Ctrl key when dragging to stop the control points snapping to the guides.

  7. Hit Enter once you’re happy with the shape

  8. If you like, you can now crop the image to finalise. Use the Crop Tool, or use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to draw a rectangle around the painting, excluding the bits you don’t want to keep. Crop the image by hitting Image > Crop.

How to Square-up Paintings in Photoshop-5

Yes! We now have a lovely square photo of our painting. Hope this helped.

2 Comments How to Square-up Photos of Paintings in Photoshop

    1. Katherine

      Thanks Ashley, that’s a pain that the keyboard shortcut didn’t work for you but I’m glad you figured it out.


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