Creating the Perfect Print: What You Need to Know About Image Cropping

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One of the biggest questions I get from clients is how to create a gallery wall from their session. While it often feels overwhelming at first, I’m happy to share some of my best tips!

When you go to print your digital image it will require you to crop part of the image most of the time. Annoying, right? Unfortunately, this cannot be avoided with certain sizes. Some prints cause more of a crop than others because of aspect ratio.

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Simply put, the aspect ratio is the measurement of a photo’s width to height. To get technical, the fancy cameras that I use during shoots are full-frame, and utilize a 3:2 aspect ratio. This matches the aspect ratio of a standard 4×6 inch print.

The problem arises with these print sizes: 5×7”, 8×10”, 11×14”.

When you preview your images shown in your gallery, ALL IMAGES are shown with the original, full-frame 3:2 aspect ratio.

This means:

  • Every 8×10” print that you order will get cropped.

  • When you order an 8×10” print, you lose a full 2” inches from the original image.

What to do if you absolutely adore every single megapixel from the image and you don’t want anything cropped? You’ll need to order either a 4×6” or 8×12” print to preserve the entire frame and reduce the risk of cropping.



If you really love the full image but want to keep your 8×10” frame, use a mat! By putting a mat in the frame, you can easily maintain your full image and an 8×10” frame. It’s a win-win!



What cropping should you choose?



The above example shows how different print sizes could crop out important parts of the same photo. You can see that printing an 8×10” of the photo (5:4 ratio) would cut off the most amount of space (DARK PINK), whereas a 5×7” print would cut off a lot less(PINK). You can also see that any print size that has the same aspect ratio as it was shot (3:2 ratio) will keep the photo entirely intact; nothing will be cut off due to cropping- in this case, a 4×6” (BLACK).

Lastly, You can see in the two examples above that they are the same photo, but different crops. The photo on the left includes the entire image with Dad and their newborn too. You get to see more of the space and almost have a bird’s eye view. The photo on the right zooms in on the two children and the dog and almost seems like a different photo. It brings the focus in and you can see the expressions easier. Both images are beautiful in their own way and it is something to think about when printing your images. Your print options are endless!


Jenny Grimm

is a Chicago-based maternity, newborn and family lifestyle photographer. Residing in the western suburbs of Elmhurst, she regularly photographs in the city and the other Chicagoland area suburbs (including Oakbrook, Hinsdale, Glencoe, Wheaton, Western Springs, Downers Grove, Naperville, Wilmette, Winnetka, Deerfield, Northbrook, and more).