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Capturing your kids: crop ratio

Hello! I am thrilled to be back talking more photography with you. So far we’ve covered:

It’s now time to cover an often misunderstood portion of photo-taking: crop ratio. It hit me when I had my first son, and I hurried to Costco to print some pictures. I couldn’t figure out why some of the images were cut off on the side, visibly chopping off a portion of his brand new self.

Little did I know that by taking the photo in the camera and then choosing to print it as an 8×10 (which is a different aspect ratio), I was losing a part of my image.

Crop ratio []

Your typical camera will take a picture with the ratio of 2:3 (translates to a 4×6 print). When you choose to print at anything other than a 4×6, you’re changing the aspect ratio of that frame work, and losing a portion of the image.

Let’s take a look at the examples below:

This photo of my daughter hasn’t been altered by cropping at all. This is shown just as I shot it, 4×6 format.

simple mom | photography series

This next image shows you what portion of your picture will be lost by choosing to print it as a 5×7 (the yellow side bars).

simple mom | photography series

And finally, these yellow side bars explain how the image is changed by printing as an 8×10.

simple mom | photography series

As you’re snapping your summertime photos and then heading to print, be mindful of crop ratio. Whether you upload and print using an online company or in-store, be sure to preview the photo before ordering. You’ll be able to slide the image to the right or left if need be, to a position you prefer.

Were you aware of crop ratios? Have you taken any great pictures of your kids yet this summer?

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  1. Ann

    Since I take so many photos on my phone I’ve had to rethink crop ratios. Then I had to rethink them again when I started to use instagram. But, I never really thought about them when it came to the typical print sizes. Thanks for the tips.

  2. Janie

    I ran into this issue a few months ago! I had a few batches of prints from Walgreens turn out “bad” in a row. I was getting really frustrated with them when I realized it was *ahem* user error!

  3. Victoria

    I got to admit I have never heard of this. I don’t make bigger prints all that often and when I do it is usually of photo’s my photographer friends has taken for me, so I am going to guess she must know this. Now that I have a better camera though I have been taking more pictures of things and just recently did some shots at the beach that I love, knowing this will help me be mindful of which ones I get made into bigger prints.

  4. Jessica

    I did not know this! My Mom is always complaining about her photos printing with bits chopped off and now I know why, she always prints them in 5×7. She’ll be so pleased that the problem is now solved! Thanks!

  5. Courtney

    I’m loving this series. I bought myself a nice DSLR and I’ve been in auto mode for two years. I’m ready to play!

  6. Sara

    So, is there a solution? One ratio that works for larger and smaller sizes?

    • Sarah B R

      Once you’ve selected the size, preview it, then edit as necessary moving the photo around so it crops what you choose instead of cropping randomly. Ask the clerk how.

  7. Tanya

    Awesome reminder, I forgot to even check the photos last time and I didn’t like how they turned out 🙁

  8. Cn

    Ive noticed lately that won’t let me slide the pictures around like they used to.

  9. Missy June

    I have been aware of this. May I ask, what online printing service do you use?

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  11. Diana

    Thanks for the visuals! I ran across this while printing 8x10s to hang on our wall. My solution so far has just been to compose the photo with more space on the sides than I’d ideally like, because I wasn’t sure just how much I’d be losing to the sides. Love seeing that it’s not as much as I thought it was! 🙂

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