Understanding Cropping

DrewB is a wedding and family photographer and owner of DrewB Photography. She also writes a popular blog for moms who love photography called Mom*tog.

Cropping is a common issue that confuses (and sometimes angers) a lot of people when they are ordering prints and it really shouldn’t be that confusing.

When an image comes out of a professional digital camera it’s in a 2×3 ratio. This is what is referred to as “full frame.” So, a 4×6, an 8×12 and a 16×24 are all full frame images. No cropping will occur. However, when you print images in sizes like 5×7, 8×10, and 11×14, cropping will occur. With an 8×10 print you are going to lose two inches off the longest size. Here are some examples:

In the image above the crop doesn’t make a huge difference because there is a lot of room around the subject. Although, I do prefer the full frame image because that’s how I intended it to look when I took the picture. In images that are cropped closer you will see a bigger difference.

See the drastic difference between the full frame and 8×10 images? Too much of her body is cropped for my liking.

I encourage my clients to go with 8×12 images instead of an 8×10. There may not be as much of a selection of 8×12 frames out there, but if you look you can definitely find them. Or you can buy 8×12 mats or have places like Aaron Brothers or Michaels cut a mat down for you. I’m just not a fan of 8×10 images. Looking around my house I don’t think I have any! I just love the look of 8×12 images so much better since that is how I intended for my images to look when I framed them in camera.

For more photography tips from DrewB, check out Photographing Young Children and Photographing Your Own Baby.

7 Responses to “Understanding Cropping”

  1. Lori September 23, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

    I just read a few of your photography tips and wanted to say thanks, especially for explaining the cropping factor. I just printed some pre bridals (16×20) and was quite aggravated when I lost so much head space. Had I known that, I would have printed the 16×24! I’m sure I’ve been explained that before but never as simple as you did. I finally get it and that will help out greatly in my future picture printing.

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