2 to 3 aspect ratio

Tips for Printing Your Digital Downloads!

In my FAQs pages I include a link to an article that explains how the aspect ratio of the print size you choose can change the “shape” of your photograph. I want to elaborate here with an example photo, just so there are no surprises when you order your prints!

The images that come out of my camera have an aspect ratio of 3:2, meaning the height to width ratio (or width to height ratio, depending on how the photo is oriented) is 3 to 2. I try to minimize cropping in post-processing, since cropping eliminates pixels from the photograph. Fortunately, if I need to crop out an unexpected/unwanted element from the picture I have a TON of pixels to work with since I shoot in RAW and I have a 36.3 megapixel camera, but that is another post altogether 😉  If I do crop a photo, I maintain the 3:2 aspect ratio. So what does this mean for you?

If you are ordering a 4″ x 6″ print, it means nothing. What you see is what you get. Take this photo of Gabby for instance. A 4″ x 6″ print would look something like this:2 to 3 aspect ratioIf you are ordering a 5″ x 7″ print of Gabby, however, the change in aspect ratio would result in the sides being slightly cropped off. This is pictured below with the cropped areas in gray.

5 by 7 aspect ratioThis result is even more exaggerated if you order an 8″ x 10″ print, which happens to be the largest size allowed by my print release.8 by 10 aspect ratioI have also learned that it is important to “give the subject some air” when I compose a photograph in the viewfinder (meaning that I avoid zooming in very tightly around a subject). In other words, I am thinking about how to maximize my clients’ options before I even press the shutter release!

I hope this post is informative and makes the print-ordering process a little less intimidating. If not, I encourage any client that is struggling to email or call with any questions;  I want you to get the most out of your images and to be able to cherish them for years to come!

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