Aspect Ratio

All print sizes are NOT equal

Aspect Ratio determines the dimensions of an image. When shooting, you’ll most likely need to crop the image to fit your final print project. It’s always best to know what final dimensions are needed before shooting.

The aspect ratio is expressed as two numbers separated by a colon (x:y). A common misunderstanding is that x and y represent actual length and height. This is false; they actually represent the relation between width and height.

Smartphones default to the 4:3 aspect ratio. You’ll notice slight cropping when printing 4×6 prints from your smartphone.

The aspect ratio of the 35mm frame is 3:2. Most dSLR cameras default to the 3:2 aspect ratio. A 3:2 image will print a full frame 4×6 print with little to no cropping, however, there is a big difference when printing an 8×10 (see below).

Photo Aspect Ratio for print
Photo Aspect Ratio for print

How to avoid unexpected cropping

Shoot wide

Adjust and crop your images in a photo editing program prior to printing

Shoot wide to give yourself more wiggle room for cropping

Don’t stretch or squish images to fill space for print.

Printing hundreds of images, but you don’t have the time or energy to crop each one? Certified lab techs look at every image before, during, and after printing. Lab techs will visually crop images using best judgment for the print size selected.

Leave a note in the special instructions at checkout with concerns or suggestions.

aspect ratio