Graphics For Bloggers [#5] - Snapshot and Crop

Education & Training with Tech Training for You!

I'm in the midst of writing my Video Series, but I'm jumping back to my Graphics for Bloggers Series for a day to help you with a graphics skill that we will need on the next video lesson. I am going to demonstrate how to do screen captures AND get them cropped to the right aspect ratio so that it will be all ready to insert as new clips into your video timeline.

So let's take the case of a home tour video. You have gone out and recorded clips of you touring the house. As a lead-in to help give a more comprehensive overview of the house, let's add a map view and a satellite view. This adds valuable content as people aren't just buying a house, they are buying into a neighborhood too. We'll go out to google maps and do two screen captures that we will then insert as clips to our video.


Now to the "how-to." Go to Google Maps in Satellite View and zoom in to the area that you want to capture. In Windows computers, you press Alt+PrntScrn to capture your current window to a clipboard image. (See my Graphics For Bloggers - Screen Captures article for more information, including discussion of screen captures on Mac in the comments section). Since I'm still using windows, I'll be using Irfanview (free app) for my graphics prep work (article Graphics For Bloggers #1 for more info). First of all, open Irfanview and paste the graphic from the clipboard (Ctrl+V, Paste shortcut works well). Next we need to set up a crop window that is the same proportion as our video frame which is 16:9 (16 by 9 ratio). The way I do it is this: I drag the mouse to draw a rectangle that defines the width of what I want to crop to. When it comes to the height of the box, I'll drag upward just a short distance. At the top of the screen the coordinates of my rectangle are shown, I make a note of the width. Next I do a "custom crop selection" by pressing Shift+C and in the dialog I specify that I want a 16:9 crop and then enter the width that I want to use, the height is automatically calculated. Press "Save and apply". You will see the drawn selection rectangle grow to the proper height. Next, I can slide the box around by clicking inside the box with my RIGHT mouse button and dragging the box around to more precisely place it. Once ready to crop, Ctrl+Y will do the actual crop. Finally, you will want to save the file. I put it into a folder that I will remember and save it as a JPG file type.


Next switch to regular map view in google maps, zoom in to the right factor that looks best and repeat the steps above - copy to clipboard, paste to Irfanview, create proper ratio crop box, crop, and save. The map view image should be saved in the GIF format. (I'll explain JPG, GIF, PNG, TIF and other graphic file types in another post, for now just take my word for it...)


Sure, Picasa can do the similar crop also. If you have Picasa open when you do screen captures, the screen capture images go into a special folder with "screen captures" name (tip: take advantage of the search box at the top of picasa to quickly find target folders). Once you find your image, click on the crop tool. You will see a list of available predefined shapes. Remember Picasa is non-destructive, so you will have to export the image to use it with your edits. So, answer is, "yes it will work just fine in Picasa!"

I just showed you the way I do it in Irfanview, because I feel it is just slightly faster and that's why I choose that method. But there are multiple options and means for you to do the same thing, the concepts are all the same!


Well I'm saving it for the next article where I'll show you how to use the two images that you have cropped and prepped to drop into your video timeline. Do you want to see a preview of what you'll be doing with them? Check out the very short video below.

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Karen L. Pietsch
Cary Property Pros - 4 Sale Realty, Inc. - Crystal Lake, IL
Cary Property Pros. Cary Property Pros Premier Real Estate

Craig, DONE!!!!!  Pretty easy once I figured out the quirks due to my Toshiba's keyboard.  I sent you an email on that.  Hope you got it.  After I figured out that I had to use the "FN" button on my keyboard to do the "screen capture" process, everything else was pretty self-explanatory.  Thanks again for a wonderful lesson.  Looking forward to the next class and putting this all together.  ;)

Feb 13, 2011 01:08 PM #51
John Lavin
Re/Max Ultimate Realty Inc. Brokerage - Toronto, ON
Realtor - Mississauga - Toronto Real Estate

terrific information....thank you

Feb 13, 2011 01:43 PM #52
Tanya Nouwens
RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager

Bookmarked!  Great information, Craig.  Thanks for putting it together for us. 

Feb 14, 2011 12:42 AM #53
Sylvie Stuart
Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765 - Flagstaff, AZ
Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta

Great information! I didn't know how to do this!

Feb 14, 2011 01:57 AM #54
Betsy Shellman, Coeur d'Alene Home Staging Services
Great post! I have also used for screen captures. It's really quick and easy. Might be even easier than what you have described above. Try it and see what think. I learned about it at a meeting.
Feb 14, 2011 03:07 AM #55
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

hello everybody - I read all your comments and appreciate you coming by!

Betsy - I have used and like it especially for recording to video screen capture. Still shots can also be captured and annotated with drawing tools. For me personally, irfanview is a long standing favorite app - ultra lightweight and FAST for screen captures (stills). It also does the aspect ratio cropping very nicely (mentioned above). I have it assigned to a hotkey and I can capture/crop/save in about as much time as it takes jing just to start up...

Thanks for sharing the site though. Others may want to investigate. :)

Feb 14, 2011 05:22 AM #56
Samantha Smith
214.422.0729 - Rowlett, TX
Sam I Am Houses, Simply Texas Real Estate

All I have to say is AWESOME! and of course ... THANK YOU! I have bookmarked your post so I can take the time to get it done right.

Feb 14, 2011 07:47 AM #57
Dennis & Terri Neal
RE/MAX, Big Bear - Big Bear Lake, CA
Your Home Sold in 45 Days or We Se

Thanks for the great tips. I'll be sure to check out more of your posts from now on.

Feb 14, 2011 09:15 AM #58
Jay O'Brien
RE/MAX Revolution - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City : Social Media Guy

Nice job! It only takes a little bit to make our videos/pictures/graphics better than the next guy. Great tips, Craig!

Feb 14, 2011 11:54 AM #59
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

Craig, as usual, this is a great tutorial, but must admit, I'm somewhat behind on implementing all this great stuff.  Have bookmarked for later and I'm sure I'll have lots of questions.  Keep them coming!

Feb 14, 2011 01:39 PM #60
Shar Sitter
Rooms With Style - Minneapolis, MN
Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M

OH thank you! Bookmarking as usual for when I need it! And I will definitely need it.

Feb 15, 2011 10:24 AM #61
Melanie Hedrick
Elite Texas Properties, the best homes from McKinney to Dallas! - McKinney, TX

I'm so glad you posted on this topic.  I have been wanting to learn how to do this -- thanks so much!

Feb 17, 2011 05:09 PM #62
Barbara Heil-Sonneck
Design2Sell - Atlanta, GA
Home Staging Atlanta

Hi Craig, great education and so easy to follow! Love it! Thank you!

Feb 17, 2011 05:21 PM #63
Patty Mortara REALTOR CRS | Hunterdon County (NJ)
Hunterdon County Homes - Flemington, NJ

Craig, you spell things out in such a simle format - that in itself is an art :-) Thanks for the post / tip I'm looking forward to giving it a try.

Feb 17, 2011 10:41 PM #64
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

Hey Craig, I have a question. I tried the Irfanview and love the ease of use. When I used the program to edit for a blog post, the posted pictures are in the original size (higher resolution). It saved in the edited size, and was uploaded from that file, but seems to have reverted back to the larger file when posted. Have you experienced this before?

Any help is much appreciated.

Feb 20, 2011 02:53 AM #65
Tim Peterson
Wisconsin Realtor Safety and Concealed Carry Classes - Madison, WI
Realtor Safety Training Classes

Thanks Craig fantastic information and easy to understand the way you explain it anyone can do it

Feb 20, 2011 05:52 PM #66
Vickie Nagy
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate - Palm Springs, CA
Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen

Nice! Never heard of Irfanview but I'll be joining soon. Video is next on my 'to do' list

Feb 21, 2011 12:46 PM #67
Christina ONeal
At Home Real Estate Group - Ripon, CA
Realtor - Ripon California

Craig... You are amazing :)  I love using Irfanview (free is fun).  Thank you.  I have never dabbled in the custom cropping field.  love it


Feb 22, 2011 01:44 AM #68
Debbie Walsh
Shahar Management - Middletown, NY
Hudson Valley NY Real Estate 845.283-3036

I love this and can't wait to sit down and try to make one!  Will definitely keep the copyright in mind when doing these type of things.  Thanks Craig!

Feb 25, 2011 06:45 AM #69
Jeremy Joslin
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - South Windsor, CT
Professional Real Estate Marketing and Sales

This is great stuff!  I really appreciate all of your blogs.  You are an excellent teacher.  Thanks

Sep 06, 2011 10:00 AM #70
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