How to Set the Focal Point on WordPress Images

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When you upload an image into WordPress, it automatically creates a few other (smaller) sizes that you can use within your posts and pages. There is a size for featured images, for example, or for thumbnails.
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When you upload an image into WordPress, it automatically creates a few other (smaller) sizes that you can use within your posts and pages. There is a size for featured images, for example, or for thumbnails.

The problem with this process is that WordPress doesn’t know where the focal point of the images is, so it will always resize from the center. This creates issues, when for example you upload an image of yourself and the cropped image won’t have your face on it (probably the focal point) but your abs or legs maybe. We don’t want this right? Enter a few plugins that can save the day.

Thumbnail Crop Position

Select the crop position of your thumbnails. WordPress crops thumbnails of images through the center, which does not always give us the desired results. This plugin allows you to select the crop position of images from WordPress uploader.

Download Thumbnail Crop Position

Theia Smart Thumbnails


Theia Smart Thumbnails for WordPress lets you customize the thumbnails for each of your images. Gone are the days when you had to manually crop or upload separate versions of your thumbnails. Now you can simply choose a point of interest for your image – e.g. a person’s face, an object, etc. – and all the thumbnails will be automatically updated to include them. Your pages will be much more aesthetically pleasing and your visitors will thank you for it.


Download Theia Smart Thumbnails

Manual Image Crop

manual image crop

Plugin allows you to manually crop all the image sizes registered in your WordPress theme (in particular featured image). Simply click on the “Crop” link next to any image in your media library. The “lightbox” style interface will be brought up and you are ready to go. Whole cropping process is really intuitive and simple.

Apart from media library list, the plugin adds links in few more places: -below featured image box (“Crop featured image”) -In the media insert modal window (once you select an image)

Download Manual Image Crop

Image Override

image override

When you upload an image, WordPress will automatically scale/crop it to many different sizes. If you’re not happy with the auto-crops, use this plugin to upload an alternative image.

If you have images showing up in your theme already, there’s nothing you need to do after activating this plugin. All WordPress functions that provide the thumbnail should now automatically work with your override image.

This plugin will add a metabox to every post type and allow you to modify every image size (built-in and custom ones added using add_image_size). You can use two filters to change these (image_override_post_types and image_override_sizes). For examples, see the documentation.

Download Image Override

On a related vein, if you want to actually create the featured images automatically based on the images present in your posts, the Auto Post Thumbnail Pro plugin does a great job.

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Jean Galea

Jean Galea is an investor, entrepreneur, and blogger. He is the founder of WP Mayor, the plugins WP RSS Aggregator and Spotlight, as well as the podcast. His personal blog can be found at

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