Printing Cropped Photos
Our first grandchild was born late Saturday night, so of course I had to get some pictures taken. I did some PP on Sunday afternoon, including some cropping, then uploaded them to be printed by Sam's Club. When my wife picked the pictures up, the prints didn't match what I had uploaded to their sitepeople's heads were cut off, etc. The person at Sam's told my wife that this happened because we didn't use "standard crop sizes". I've never heard of standard crop sizes, so wonder if this is true or if Sam's just didn't want to take the time to print the photos correctly? Do I need to look at another business to print my photos, or do I need to change how I crop my photos?.

Thanks in advance for your advice.....

Comments (15)

You need to crop your photo's correctly. Depending on the camera you took the photo's with, the full size uncropped photo most likely has an aspect ratio of 4:3 (most digicams). That means the long side is 4 units and the short side is 3 units in length. So, a print size of say 6x8 inches is a 4:3 print..

The ever popular 4x6 inch print size, however, is 3:2 ratio (35mm, most DSLR's)So if you were to print a 4:3 ratio picture on 4x6 the top and bottom will be cropped off, thus losing the tops of heads and such..

So.. figure out the ratio for your chosen print size, and crop accordingly..

'I reject your reality and substitute my own' -Adam Savage

Comment #1

Z06vette wrote:.

When my wife picked the pictures up, the prints didn't matchwhat I had uploaded to their sitepeople's heads were cut off, etc.The person at Sam's told my wife that this happened because we didn'tuse "standard crop sizes"..

If you want to get what you want, you should crop pictures to the same aspect ratio as the final print..

One quick example. Most digicams shoot 4:3. A 4x6 print is 3:2. You've got two choices:.

Cut off nothing. Make the image 4" high. So it will be (4/3)*4 = 5 1/3" wide. You'll have a white border. Most people don't like seeing a border, so....

Cut off their heads. Make the image 6" wide. So it will be (3/4)*6 = 4 1/2" high. Unfortunately the print is only 4" high, so you'll cut off 1/2". This is most common..

If you crop to some other aspect ratio, the situation could be worse or better, depends on how well the aspect ratio of the output size matches the ratio you cropped..

Another example of this outside the realm of photography is pan-and-scan (cut off their heads!) vs letterboxing (leave some of the screen blank) when converting movies to fit a 4:3 tv screen:.


Seen in a fortune cookie:Fear is the darkroom where negatives are developed..

Comment #2

What ratio did you crop them too and what size of print did you get? Most point and shoot cameras have a 4:3 ratio sensor. If you want to print a 4x6 picture, you would have to crop the image to a 4:6 ratio, otherwise the edges would get cut off when printed. 5x7 is a different ratio, and 8x10 is also a different ratio...

Comment #3

You can crop them anyway you want. But then you have to proportion them by adding canvas so they won't be resized and cropped during printing..

Here's a page I've prepared that explains proportion and sizing to print correctly: Berman

Comment #4

I say go to walmart, plug your card in the little picture machine and crop them there on the spot. That way everyone's happy :o).

Good luck!..

Comment #5

Thank you to all of you for such helpful explanations and links to additional resources. I made the photos with a Nikon D80, which is new to me...I recently came from the Canon P&S world where I never did any PP'ing. So much to learn...! Thanks again!..

Comment #6

When sending photos to outside services, it makes the most sense not to crop the images opn your home computer..

I don't know anything about SAm's Club, buit I dod know Costco..

Edit your photos on your computer for color, density, contrast, and even retouching, but leave the images full size..

When you prepare the "shipment" to the lab, there should be a crop system tied into the picture size. Clcik on, say, 5x7, and you'll see an image with automatic cropping to make a 5x7 with as much content as possible. You should be able to move this cropping around, so adjustments can be "weighted" toward the top, bottom, one side or the other..

Then there should be a zoom in command, which maintains the 5x7 ratio, cropping off a little bit on all four sides. Aain, you can slide the new "window" around, to crop more of the left, say, than the right..

LAter, if you want to make an 8x10, which has a different ratio than 5x7, you'll have the whole frame to work with because you did not cut anything off your original modified edited at home image..

The Costco, etc. machine will adjust resolution, too, so there's no need to resize the pixels per inch, either..


Comment #7


Thanks, that is an excellent workflow suggestion, and I especially like the last part about retaining the uncropped image at home in case I want to do something else with it at a later time..


Comment #8

The other option is to COPY the photo to be printed, the edit the COPY photo exactly how you want at home. Upload and print..

Comment #9

Others have explained the AR to you..

If you edit your pictures in Picasa2 the original photo remains unchanged and the edit settings are saved in a database. Picasa will display the edited image, but be assured that the original file remains unchanged. You can easily save the changed image to a new folder and send that set of files to you printing lab, then just delete the folder afterwards..

Its really a fast and nifty program. It also allows you to quickly upload your edited photos to a sharing website which is also free. Both Picasa2 and Picasa WebAlbums are from Google..

Try it...You'll be surprised!.


Comment #10

Thanks for the suggestions to Copy and also for using Picasa2. I already use "Save As" to create a copy to edit so that I always have my original file for any future need. I've been using PSE to PP'ing, but will take a look at Picasa2...

Comment #11

If you're starting with a JPEG, NEVER use Save As to make a copy. It recompresses and throws away information. Just copy it to the desktop and rename the copy in Windows Explorer..

Larry Berman

Comment #12

Question: I use Adobe Photoshop and only crop in 4 X 6 mode. I am using a Canon 40d for my pictures. Am I going to be ok if I upload and request 4 X 6 prints? I assume yes, but of course don't want to make an a$$ out of myself...

Comment #13

4x6 at what resolution? You should be sizing 4x6 at 300PPI, which is 1200x1800 pixels for a 4x6 print. And be careful of the printer possibly trimming up to 20 pixels per side. I make my 4x6's at 1160x1760 pixels and add a 1200x1800 pixel white canvas so nothing in my image gets cropped..

Larry Berman

Comment #14


Thank you so much for that information about not using "Save As". Wow, there is a lot to learn for newbies like me. I'm reading books and learning from this forum, but the learning curve is steep!.


Comment #15

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


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