How to Crop a Video on TikTok (Step-by-Step Guide)

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Want to take your TikTok videos to the next level with professional editing? Cropping your footage can make a huge difference in the quality and engagement of your content.

By removing distractions, zooming in on key moments, and optimizing the framing, cropping gives you tighter control over what your audience sees. This draws their focus to you and your message.

But TikTok doesn‘t actually have a built-in cropping tool. So how do you crop videos before uploading them? Don‘t worry, I‘ve got you covered.

In this ultimate guide, I‘ll walk you through several easy methods for cropping TikTok videos on both desktop and mobile. I‘ll also share pro tips, recommended apps, and best practices for taking advantage of video cropping.

Let‘s dive in!

Why You Should Crop Your Videos for TikTok

Here are some of the top reasons cropping can benefit your TikTok content:

  • Removes distractions: Crop out unwanted people, objects, or backgrounds that take attention away from you. Declutter your frame.

  • Highlights key moments: Zoom in on important details, reactions, text, etc. Draw viewers‘ eyes where you want them.

  • Improves framing: Fix any issues with the original composition by reframing shots.

  • Fits formats: Meet TikTok‘s recommended 9:16 vertical size and dimensions.

  • Enables effects: Open up creative options like transitions between scenes.

According to a 2021 study by SocialInsider, properly framed videos boost viewers‘ understanding by up to 43%. And 72% of viewers say quality editing increases their enjoyment.

By cropping for a more intentional, composed frame, you give your TikToks a major boost in clarity and impact.

How Much Time Do Top Creators Spend Editing?

To create high-quality content, you often need to invest significant time editing behind the scenes.

According to a survey by Influencer Marketing Hub, here‘s how long popular social media influencers spend editing their videos:

  • 15% spend 0-30 minutes
  • 18% spend 30-60 minutes
  • 49% spend 1-2 hours
  • 18% spend over 2 hours

As you can see, most creators devote 1-2 hours to editing each video!

So don‘t feel like you need to crop videos in just a few minutes. Take the time to try different options and refine your edits. The effort pays off in better engagement.

Step-by-Step: How to Crop a Video for TikTok

Now let‘s get into the step-by-step process for cropping videos to prepare them for TikTok.

We‘ll start with the quick and easy tools you can use right from your smartphone. Then we‘ll get into more advanced software options.

Use Your Smartphone‘s Built-In Editor

Many newer iPhones and Android devices include basic editing capabilities for trimming and cropping videos:


  1. Open the Photos app and select the video you want to crop.
  2. Tap "Edit" in the upper right corner.
  3. Tap the crop icon (overlapping squares) at the bottom left.
  4. Adjust the crop area by dragging the corners and sides.
  5. Tap "Done" to apply the crop.


  1. Open the Google Photos app and select your video.
  2. Tap "Edit" and choose the crop icon (overlapping squares).
  3. Adjust the highlighted crop area as needed.
  4. Tap "Save" or "Done" to apply the crop.

The cropped video will save as a copy, leaving your original intact. I recommend testing different crop sizes and proportions to find the optimal look.

Use Desktop Editing Software

For more robust editing, desktop programs like Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, and DaVinci Resolve give you precise tools to crop and resize footage.

Here are the basic steps for cropping in most editing software:

  1. Import your video file to a video track.
  2. Select the Crop effect from the Tools panel.
  3. Click and drag the crop area to remove edges of the frame.
  4. Adjust the scale as needed to include the desired area.
  5. Export the cropped video as a new file.

This takes just a few clicks but allows frame-by-frame control over your crop. I‘d recommend YouTube tutorials on your specific program for full details.

Crop Videos Online

If you don‘t have desktop editing programs, free online tools like Kapwing, Clipchamp, or WeVideo make it simple to crop videos right in your browser.

Most online editors provide click-and-drag frames similar to desktop software. Here are some options to check out:

  • Kapwing – Flexible cropping plus trimming, subtitles, filters, special effects, and more.

  • Clipchamp – Streamlined utility for basic cropping and resizing.

  • WeVideo – Intuitive editor with templates and easy drag-to-crop.

  • Lightworks – Free version has cropping tools and supports various formats.

  • VSDC – Full featured online suite with masks, shapes, and auto-cropping guides.

When exporting from a free online editor, your video will likely have a watermark unless you create an account. But they‘re great for quick, hassle-free cropping.

Use Mobile Apps for Cropping

In addition to your smartphone‘s built-in editor, specialized video cropping apps allow for more options. Some top choices include:

  • InShot – Robust editing with cropping, effects, animations, and more.

  • VivaVideo – Multi-track editing with a range of crop sizes and tools.

  • Adobe Premiere Rush – Streamlined cropping optimized for mobile from industry leader.

  • Splice – Excellent for quick edits like trimming and straight cuts.

  • Video Crop – As the name suggests, tailor-made just for cropping videos.

  • FilmoraGo – Fun templates and effects with precise crop adjustment.

Test a few apps to see which interface and features fit your needs. Many offer one-tap cropping for convenience.

I‘d recommend InShot or VivaVideo as full-featured mobile editors with lots of helpful cropping guides.

Pro Tips for Cropping TikTok Videos

Cropping videos is part art, part science. Follow these tips as you‘re adjusting your crops for the best results:

  • Crop incrementally, testing each export to ensure you don‘t overdo it.

  • Mind TikTok‘s vertical 9:16 size. Make sure your crop fits the format.

  • Move and scale gradually to maintain quality instead of aggressive zooming.

  • For zooming in, crop first, then scale up for better resolution.

  • Try interesting crops like circles, widescreen, or creative framing.

  • Review your video‘s key moments and use cropping to spotlight them.

  • Add borders in your editor if needed to fill blank space after cropping.

  • Balance cropping with other edits like music, text, effects to enhance your video holistically.

  • Ask a friend for a second set of eyes and feedback about your cropped video.

Stay patient and keep adjusting until you have the perfect crop for each clip. This attention to detail will pay off with more polished, engaging TikTok videos.

Cropping TikTok Videos Based on Specific Goals

The way you crop your videos can vary greatly depending on what you‘re trying to accomplish with each one.

Here are some examples of tailored cropping for different video goals:

Remove a distraction

If there‘s something unwanted in the original frame like a messy background or photobomber, crop it out. Zoom in on just you.

Highlight important text

For text images, screenshots, signs, etc, crop around the key words or messages you want emphasized.

Feature a product

Zoom in on a product demo, unboxing, or review to showcase all the details.

Create split screen

Crop two shots to highlight reactions, comparisons, or transitions between different scenes.

Show concise steps

Crop tutorials down to key steps only, removing unnecessary moments in between. Quick and clear.

Crop for comedic effect

Strategic cropping can set up or deliver punchlines. Quick jump cuts between crops can build comic timing.

Think about what you want viewers to see, and let that guide your specific approach to cropping each TikTok video.

How to Upload Your Cropped TikTok Videos

Once you‘ve cropped and exported your videos, uploading them to TikTok is a breeze:

  1. Open the TikTok app and tap the + icon to create a new post.
  2. Select "Upload" instead of "Record" and choose your cropped video file.
  3. Edit further if desired by adding effects, sounds, text, etc.
  4. Post the video and watch your improved cropping help it get more views!

Cropping before uploading removes distractions for a more professional, engaging video to share on TikTok.

Common Cropping Mistake to Avoid

It‘s easy to go overboard when you first start cropping videos. How do you know if your crop is too aggressive? Watch out for:

  • Losing stability – Cropping too tightly can make handheld videos very shaky. Leave a buffer.

  • Chopping limbs – Accidentally removing hands, feet, arms from the frame looks awkward.

  • Cutting off heads – It‘s jarring when heads are partially or fully cropped out.

  • Overly zoomed – Excessive zooming degrades quality and goes blurry.

  • Distorted proportions – Odd stretched shapes if you disregard the original ratio.

Take it slow and view your cropped video from every angle. Trim back as needed before uploading to avoid choppy, sloppy cropping mistakes.

Alternative Ways to Edit TikTok Videos

While cropping is extremely useful, it‘s not the only editing trick for amazing TikTok videos:

  • Trimming – Cut clips shorter by removing unneeded sections. Condense content.

  • Transitions – Add motion between scenes like slide, zoom, spin.

  • Text/graphics – Overlay eye-catching titles, captions, logos.

  • Animation – Make images move for more dynamic videos.

  • Filters – Change the look and tone with premade effects.

  • Trend templates – Use popular formatted videos as a foundation.

  • Sounds and music – Enhance the mood and energy with the right audio.

Try combining cropping with other edits for next-level videos. The more you practice editing, the better your skills will become.

Do Landscape Videos Perform Better Than Portrait?

TikTok‘s vertical 9:16 format is portrait style, which has led some creators to wonder if landscape video performs better.

According to research by Mediakix, portrait orientation (9:16) has 6x higher user retention on mobile than landscape video formats.

Portrait is optimized for compact smartphone screens when people scroll vertically through feeds. Landscape requires more head turning that feels unnatural on mobile.

In most cases, sticking to TikTok‘s native portrait format will be your best bet. But you can try creative landscape cropping as well. Just add borders or incorporate both orientations.

Cropping Tools to Try for TikTok

Here are some of my favorite mobile apps and desktop programs for unlocking the full creative potential of video cropping for TikTok:

  • Mobile Apps: InShot, VivaVideo, CapCut, Adobe Premiere Rush

  • Online Editors: Kapwing, Clipchamp

  • Desktop Software: Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, DaVinci Resolve

And that covers the A-Z guide on how to crop videos for TikTok step-by-step!

I hope these tips help you take your TikTok editing skills to the next level. Cropping is one of the most valuable tools for creating professional, compelling content that captivates viewers and takes your channel up a notch.

Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to help walk through any video editing techniques in more detail. Feel free to reach out.


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.