What Size Should You Print Your Photo?

December 22, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

I am constantly asking myself why photo frame manufacturers insist that an 8 x 10 be the standard size frame they sell.  If that's the size you usually purchase you are probably asking yourself why in the world I care.  The problem is all about ratios! Let me explain.

When I take a photo of you with my wonderful Canon 60D (or any DSLR for that matter) the picture is taken at a 2:3 ratio.  WTH? You ask.  For the sake of argument, let's imagine those ratios as actual inches.  So I take your photo and it's taken as a 2 x 3. (or 3 x 2 depending on the way the camera is turned)  If I print it out on a piece of paper that is 2-inches by 3-inches, it will print perfectly!  But now you want it larger.  Well, to keep it in proportion you are going to double both numbers and print it as a 4 x 6, the standard print size.  Now here comes the problem.  You still want it larger.  So we double it again.  If we maintain the ratio it will have to become an 8 x 12.  But wait!  My frame is 8 x 10! So what happens to your photo?  Yep! 2-inches is cut off it!  Here's an example of three common sizes and how the photo will have to be cropped to fit each size:

 

Crop ratios

 

So, what to do about the fact that 2-inches of your photo is going to be chopped off if you order an 8 x 10.  Well, there are a few solutions.  1. Take that into consideration when choosing your favorite photos and just be ok with the 2-inches you have to crop.  2. Purchase 8 x 12 frames.  I've seen them on occasion at department stores, but they are readily available on Amazon.com.  

Occasionally I can enlarge the canvas of your photo.  It really depends on the background.  Studio shots are fairly easy to enlarge.  I just have to basically copy the background into the space that I add.  However, something outside, like the photo above, would be complex due to the surroundings in the photo.  

I try to leave enough space around the subjects when I take photos so this is not a huge issue, and I'm definitely not telling you not to order an 8 x 10.  I just want you to be aware that 'not all sizes are created equal!'

 

 

 


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