Aspect Ratio and Printing

About Aspect Ratio My primary camera is a 3:2 aspect ratio, the same as a 35mm film camera (24x36mm).
I usually compose my images using the full frame so cropping will cut out some subject matter. This format yields full frame prints that are 4x6, 8x12, 24x36, etc., without cropping the original image. An image that is printed to 8x10 will loose about 17% of the image on the long side. An 8x12 can be reduced to 10 inches on the long side, but in order to keep the same aspect ratio, the short side will be reduced to just over 6.5 inches instead of 8 inches. A 5x7 with a 3:2 aspect ratio, un-cropped, will be about 4.6 inches on the short side to use the full frame at 7 inches on the long side.

Other Considerations Sometimes a landscape shot may be compressed or stretched to accommodate a different aspect ratio with the distortion of the original image not being objectionable. However, this does not work well if people or certain other objects are in the picture, as those objects will be depicted as wider or taller than normal.

Pre-cut 11x14 mats for an 8x12 print are available, but a mat for a 6.5x10 print will most likely need to be custom cut, as would a 4.5x7.

Aspect Ratio Comparison
Full Frame for 4x6 or 8x12
Cropped to 5x7
Cropped to 8x10
(Also close to an 11x14)
Full Frame for 4x6 or 8x12 Cropped to 5x7 Cropped to 8x10

Aspect Ratio Conversion
The Original Maintaining Aspect Ratio
no cropping
Fitting to 8x10
no cropping
3:2 image as 8x12 3:2 printed to 6.66x10
width must be reduced in order
to keep the 3:2 aspect ratio
aspect ratio changed to 1.6:2
printed to 8x10
(width stretched to 8'')
original 3:2 image 3:2 printed to 6.66x10 Cropped to 5x7
8''x12'' print 6.66''x10'' print 8''x10'' print

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All images © Bill Harbison - All rights reserved