CoffeeShop 101: Stretching Your Images!

There are times you want to force your images to fit certain spaces that aren't your standard 4x6 ratio. For example, I wanted to use the image above in a header, but if I tried to fit it in a long rectangle, once I cropped it down to taste I would have an excess of white space.  Luckily with the magic of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, there is a very simple fix.  :-)

If your image has extra space on the side, especially space that is "out of focus", you can stretch it!

For this tutorial I wanted to make a 800px by 300px header. I dragged and dropped my image on that header, clicked Ctrl-T and free transformed the image to taste (see below).

As you can tell I have a lot of space that is not being used. Luckily I took this image with one of my favorite lenses, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II and I have a great bokeh "out of focus" background. I could easily stretch this!

Simply select the area (I used the rectangular marquee tool, M) you wish to stretch on the image layer, and Ctrl-T (free transform) the selected area and stretch it out. You can do this on any side of the image, as long as you have a simple background.  Make sure you don't include body parts in your selection or you might get a pretty interesting mutated effect!

As you can see in the image below, my photo fits the space and I don't have any more "white" space. Pretty neat trick, right?

Hope this tutorial helps you stretch your images! 


CraftCrave March 31, 2010 at 9:45 AM  

Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [31 Mar 02:00pm GMT]. Thanks, Maria

Anonymous March 31, 2010 at 11:53 AM  

thanks so much for explaining this! i can't wait to try it out.


Kim L March 31, 2010 at 12:52 PM  

Rita- thank you for explaining this! Have heard the term thrown around - never really understood how to achieve this!

cynthia gayle March 31, 2010 at 12:55 PM  

Thanks so much for all your help on this site!! I have had cups and cups and cups of coffee with you!!

Anonymous March 31, 2010 at 1:34 PM  

I have failed to mention what I often think: Those boys are soooooo cute!

Will this work if you don't have a frame? (I tried to stretch and image via canvas, with no success. It was a photo of a woman and I needed more above her head. Tried to clone but that didn't work either.) Hootnonny

Corri Anne March 31, 2010 at 1:42 PM  

Perfect Timing! I've been wanting to print some gallery wraps but could not for the life of me figure out how to stretch the image without messing up the faces...thanks!!

Heather March 31, 2010 at 2:19 PM  

This is awesome! Thanks so much for all the info & tips!

Lori March 31, 2010 at 3:13 PM  

Your so great!

Anonymous April 1, 2010 at 8:24 AM  

Thank you so much for all your help!


Staci Brock April 2, 2010 at 4:52 PM  

Thank you!!!!

Rita Wong April 3, 2010 at 1:19 PM  

Thanks so much! I can't wait to try it out :)

Dariela April 6, 2010 at 3:12 PM  

Thanks for all your tutorials. I did know how to do this stuff but some of the things you post about I don't know and I always find great tips. Hopefully you'll also help make images around us prettier! Thank you thank you!

Sara May 18, 2010 at 5:23 PM  

I can't get this to work! I just end up with a blank white space. What am I doing wrong?