Saturday, August 9, 2008

Q and A: Resizing, Printing and Aspect Ratio

QUESTION: Bill M on the Dgrin forum asks: "Just curious, on the disk that you give to clients, you mention 'sized to print 4x6'. Does that mean low-res copies or just uncropped copies? If low-res, what size have you changed them too? What prevents them from printing these images larger? The reason I ask, is I have yet to find a way to make this work. Even an image at 72 dpi with a 4x6 canvas size can still print a decent-looking 8x12 image."

ANSWER: The more I thought about it, the more Bill's question troubled me. I thought that by simply forcing the size of the image to a 4x6 format, it would prevent clients from printing larger images, but what if I was wrong?

I did some digging, and I discovered this video tutorial available on Nick Stubb's All Things Photography, a newsletter and website I subscribe too. Check it out and tell me what you think. I will try this technique to see if it works for our mutual needs of protecting our images.


QUESTION: THENIMIRRA (that's me!) asks: I've been having some difficulty dealing with aspect ratios since I bought my Canon 5D with it's full frame sensor. What does that mean and why do I end up having to crop everything to a 8x12?

ANSWER: Jeff Lawson from the Wolf Camera Store at 1802 S Havana St Aurora, CO 80012 Phone: (303) 696-9700 says:
Aspect ratio relates to the dimensions (height & width) of the film or image sensor on a digital camera and how that translates
to print sizes. For instance the dimension of the image sensor on a digital SLR is 2:3 or 2 pixels high by 3 pixels wide. When printing an image from a digital SLR that 2:3 dimension translates to a 4x6 inch print. The same aspect ration applies to 35mm film 2:3. So, with that in mind here are examples of print sizes that can be print "full
frame" with a digital SLR and a 35mm camera 4x6, 8x12, 16x24, 20x30
and 24x36.

Now, a point and shoot digital camera has a different aspect ratio, it is 3:4. It's a bit taller. This is why if you want a "full frame" print from a point & shoot you have to print a 4.5x6 inch print. I have customers come into my store constantly with point and shoot digital cameras wanting to know why the forehead of their kids are cut of on the 4x6 prints they made when they clearly see all of the forehead when they look at the image on their computer. When they printed the 4x6 the naturally lost 1/2 an inch from the image. Additional sizes for a P&S would be 6x8, 18x24 and 36x48.

Now here is where it gets interesting. I shoot with a digital SLR and my client wants an 8x10 print not a
full frame 8x12. 8x10 is a 4:5 aspect ration and my camera shoots at 2:3 aspect ratio. This means that when I shoot the image I have to leave myself some wiggle room in order to crop off the 2 inches I'm going to lose when I make my clients 8x10 print. the same principle applies when I'm printing an 11x14 or a 16x20.

The most common mistake people make when shooting images is framing the image to tight. They don't that little bit of "wiggle room" to allow for the natural crop that will occur when they enlarge the image to the more common sizes ie: 5x7, 8x10 and 16x20.


Reflections by the Hill said...

Sheba you bring up a good point. It can be very confusing for new photographers (me) and those moving from analog to digital. I am about to watch the video, but my understanding is that when I crop it at 4x6 what I doing is I am really saying that my picture is in a ratio of a 4x6. In other words, I crop but I can create any size print that is of a 4x6 ratio ie 8x12. Or if I crop it to 4x5 then I can print a 8x10. Now when you actually change the resolution size and the DPI then those images will be very hard to print at a large print. So, what I do is take my 2800 x 2100 image, for example, knock the resolution down to 800 x 600, crop it to 4x6, and then change DPI to 72. Remember that cropping and changing the resolution of the image are two different things. Someone else might be able to explain it better.

Sheba Wheeler said...

Hey there, good to hear from you again my friend! I have changed my workflow to include a similar process that you describe now. I have a CD that I sell of all my images from a shoot, but with the images sized to print only 4x6. I use the directions I got from the video above, then I change the resolution and the DPI as well. It's so simple I could kick myself for not having learned it before!

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