It’s true. They’re not. And most people don’t realize that when they choose the image they want printed to go in the frame they had already purchased months ago. But the fact is, there are different ratios when it comes to printing your images. I know that may sound a little confusing, but it can drastically affect your image and sometimes crop out the whole reason you fell in love with the image to begin with.
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away it was decided that images would be in a square/rectangular format when shot through a lens and their prints would fit certain ratios. Here’s a little information on how they work. The most common print ratios are 2:3, 4:5 and 5:7. There are several others, but again, these are the most common. As the ratios change, so does the print area. Things get cropped off. It’s important to be aware of this before deciding on what size you want. I know it may be devastating to think that your favorite picture may not fit in frame that is already above the mantle, (trust me, I’ve gone through this same heartache myself countless times) but it truly is much better to print according to how the image will look, not by the size of the frame you want to use.
Of course there are custom size options (which normally result in having custom framing done) but this can save you from having precious information, such as your new baby’s toes or the gorgeous train on your $2,000 wedding gown, to be cut off.
I personally like ratio 2:3. But you could also get away with ratio 5:7. Everyone’s tastes are different. But you want to make sure that you are not going to crop out something that is visually important to the photograph.
In this example nothing drastic is being cut off. The subject is standing in front of a splashing fountain and the water is the only thing being cropped. Now, where I personally like the water in the background, others may not. This is a case where (under my recommendation, anyway) you could get away with any crop depending on your taste for size and background. But this isn’t the case for every image. Let’s look at another example.
In this shot, the bride and groom are standing in front of a tree with the sun peering in over them causing a beautiful glow. Even though none of these crops affect the subjects, the crops do affect a major portion of the image: that beautiful sun peaking in. When you crop the image, such as the last example, you can still see glow from the sun and a slight sun flare, but you don’t see the source. The two elements together are what make this image so visually appealing. You wouldn’t want to crop that out.
Most images can be cropped to fit your needs, but unfortunately there are times when a crop just may not work for that image. So before ordering a certain size pay attention to what will be altered (if anything) with that size. You may want to go to a different size or chose a different image if you absolutely have to have a certain size print. I’m always willing to help you select the size that would fit you best so please don’t ever hesitate to ask me.