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Steve Sims Photography | Family Lifestyle + Portraits + Landscapes | Christchurch, New Zealand


021 0842 9799



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Aspect of your image...

Something I wanted to touch on today was about Aspect Ratios and Print Sizes.

This is a big pain when it comes to printing and takes a little extra work in the photographing stage & the post processing. So what are you talking about you ask? Let me explain...

What is Aspect Ratio

It is the relationship between the height and width of an image - not specific measurements.

It is the size in-which your camera takes a photo. Common sizes for camera are 3:2 & 4:3. The height is the first digit and width the second. These are ones that the majority of photographers will use. There are others that cameras can do like 16:9 or 1:1 and some even do go to 5:4.

But what does it do?

So with an aspect ratio of 3:2, I can print images at a 4x6 print size without any issues but if I want to print at 8x10 like I do, then 3:2 doesn't work perfectly for this. The way you work it out is really simple. With the 4x6 as example using aspect ratio of 3:2 - it is 2x2=4 & 3x2=6. For an 8x10 using a 3:2 Aspect Ratio it would need to be 8x12 (2x4=8 & 3x4=12). To make an image 8x10, I have to crop it down which loses edges of my image. Not ideal at all. Lets see the example below. Here is the image at its original size. Got enough land and sky with fitting in the sides of crator so they lead your eye to the middle.

Below is the cropped version to 8x10.

As you can see, I keep my height but lose width on either side. I still have my leading lines but not to as full effect being cropped. Not the image I would like from being cropped.

How do you combat that?

To get around that, I have to take my photo wider and fit more even if I don't want it there so when it comes to cropping, I can fit exactly what I want. Difficult to remember especially when doing portraits in fast paced environment like children! Sometimes you do forget to make it wider when your concentrating on what is happening around you. This applies to images to be 5x7 as well. Pre-planning and post processing make getting an image printed of the size you want easier.

Aspect Ratio and Cropping does add another element to remember when taking images but it becomes second instinct once done many times.

Personally for me, as much as 4x6 is easy to handle with no cropping needed, I don't believe they do family portraits or landscapes justice. Landscapes need to be bigger. Least 8x10 for landscape. Portraits of one or two people need to be at least 5x7 especially if you have had a professional shoot done. Be proud of your photos. We don't print enough with having them stored on mobiles and computers!