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I want to fit a picture bigger than 1:1 into square format, but don't want to crop it. How can I do this on iOS?

  • @CrazyDino imagine a 16:9 picture, you want to make it fit into a square (1:1) without cropping – omtnt Feb 23 '18 at 17:03
  • @mattdm bigger than 1:1 aspect ratio – omtnt Feb 23 '18 at 17:14
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    Personally, I think the question is pretty clear. The OP wants to know how to enlarge the "canvas" of an image so that it is in 1:1 ratio, presumably filling the enlarged canvas with black or white. On iOS. Maybe not a great question for this site, but understandable - to me at least. – osullic Feb 23 '18 at 17:22
  • IMO the title of the question needs to be revised but a question of how to make 16:9 into 1:1 is photo relevant. Ios Apps are not really relevant on this SE though – PhotoScientist Feb 23 '18 at 17:29
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    @omtnt don't sweat it. Everybody has to have a first time. Whoever has to come through to clean these comments up will be reminded that I'm new here too :) – PhotoScientist Feb 23 '18 at 18:28
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Your options for resizing the 16:9 image mentioned to be 1:1 in size are

  • Crop it
  • Letterbox it
  • Stretch it

Let's pretend the image is 16x9 instead of 16:9 (units are irrelevant.)

Crop, taking the sides off so that the image becomes "9x9." This is the most obvious way but OP states it is undesirable

Letterbox, place blank space above and below so that it is "16x16." This means that about 46% of the image will be black or white pixels but all image data would be represented in the 1:1 space. In most cases, the end consumer would need to magnify the image to see detail since the 1:1 letterbox displayed on a 16:9 screen would have it's magnification reduced to 56%

Stretch Distort the image such that the pixels are made taller but not wider. your image would be 16x(9*1.77) This would entail making the "scale" of the image 1x1.77. An example of this is when you try to use a 4:3 background as your desktop on a 16:9 screen or vice versa. Good news is that your image will take up the entire 1:1 space. The bad news is that most subjects look very odd when stretched by even a very small amount.

Now that you know the photography terms for what you are trying to do, you can post an appropriate question on iOS SE. Recommending an app is outside the scope of this photo.SE.

  • Thank you for the detailed explanation, I guess what I'm looking for is to letterbox the picture, now that I know what I need, I'll look for app recommendations elsewhere – omtnt Feb 23 '18 at 17:41
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I just did a very quick google for "enlarge image canvas ios" and the first result was Photo Canvas Size Increaser.

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The 16:9 aspect ratio is almost twice as wide as the 1:1 aspect ratio.

Regular resizing, cropping, letterboxing or stretching is no good.

What you want is to remove the background of an object and shift it over, then crop, preserving the intent of the original image. That's a lot of work, there's got to be an easier way ...

Try Seam Carving using ImageMagik - Liquid Resize or the GIMP Plugin - Liquid Rescale.

There are also online applications that do the same: Rsizr, Photo-Kako, etc.

See this video from 2008 explaining that the technique also works for video: "Improved Seam Carving for Video Retargeting", this video: "Using the GIMP Plugin: Liquid-Resizer" shows how it works for photos.


Here's what it looks like:

  • 9:16 -> 1:1

Elephants - 9:16 Elephants - 1:1

  • 9:16 -> 16:9

Picton Castle - Skinny Picton Castle - Wide

  • 16:9 -> 1:1 -- Sometimes it doesn't work out perfectly ...

Cops on the beach - wide

Cops on the beach - squashed

The reason it didn't work is because there was no seam to carve. Cropping a bit off of the right side would have fixed everything. That's the advantage of using the GIMP Plugin, more control.

For iOS try one of the online applications.

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