There are many things that make a great photograph but one of the most important elements of a good photo is composition. Composition has to do with the placement of the subject and objects in a photograph and how these various elements interact together.
Good composition is really what sets apart really good photographers from mediocre ones. Now while there are many aspects of good composition, framing or cropping of an image is an important part.
Photoshop makes it easy to improve the composition of a photograph if you become familiar with the cropping tool. You can quickly and easily cut out parts of the photo that you don't want or that distract from the main subject. Photoshop makes cropping as precise as you need it to be by allowing you to measure areas to be cut.
The best part about cropping using Photoshop's cropping tool is that if you don't like how your photo looks after it has been cropped you can simply go back to where you started and try again. You can essentially experiment with an unlimited number of possibilities.
The following are some tips for better cropping.
Consider the Rule of Thirds
If you spend much time looking at the work of professional photographers you will notice that they rarely center the subject in the picture yet amateurs almost always center their subject. By moving your subject off center you can create a much more profession and eye pleasing image. Imagine lines across your image breaking it up it thirds and then consider cropping your picture so that the subject is in one of the outer thirds. Don't be afraid to experiment but before you do make sure you make a copy of the original image and save it in a separate folder.
Crop to Traditional Print Sizes
When cropping your pictures check the sizing to make sure they will print in a standard size such as 4x6. If they do not correspond to these sizes try cutting a little more off. Otherwise when you take them into print at the local lab the photo lab may have to crop them even more to make them print the right size.
Photoshop makes it so easy to crop your photos that you really won't have to worry about the framing when you take the picture on your camera because you can just fix it later on your computer. Regardless of whether you use Photoshop Elements or the more advanced version, Photoshop CS, the technical aspects of using the cropping tool are essentially the same.