How to Extend the Canvas of a Photo

Sometimes I just can’t get the composition I want in camera. Then there are times I want a lot of negative space for words or photos for Pinterest pins. Or other times, there are distracting elements I need to cut, so I turn to Photoshop for a little work. Often when I get a composition that is too tight or my subject is centered and I’d rather them not be, I work at extending the canvas for a better composition.


You may find you need a better composition, need to get rid of a distracting element that spans part of your photo or maybe you need more negative space. I show you how to do all that below!

It’s not tremendously difficult, but it does take a little time depending on how busy your photo is. But it is always easier in camera. I’ve broken it down into steps for you to follow below or you can scroll to the bottom for the video. Here’s the before:


And the after:


  1. You can process your photo before or after how you like. Here I did it before. Only be careful not to use vignetting because sometimes it’s difficult to match up the gradiation. Once ready hit Ctrl E if you are in Lightroom to open the photo in Photoshop.


2. Do any clean up work you may need first for the cleanest extension.


3. If you need to get rid of one part of the frame you can use content-aware to do so, then extend. Or you can go ahead and extend the canvas to remove part of the frame.


4. If you are extending the canvas to remove an unwanted part, choose the crop tool (shortcut C) and crop to your liking – extending the crop beyond the frame.


5. Choose the Marquee Tool (M) or whatever your favorite tool is to select part of the image. Draw around the area you’d like to get rid of or create as a part of your frame. Here, I’m first extending the right side of the frame.


6. Right click and choose Fill. Then with the pop-up box Choose Content Aware, click OK and let Photoshop do its magic.



Afterwards you may need to do more clean up. Or content-aware. Good luck!

Below is the video!


Extend the canvas from Kathleen Scott on Vimeo.