A guide to aspect ratio and print sizes.

August 03, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

What is aspect ratio and why do I need to know about this?

Aspect ratio is is a term used to describe the ration between the width and the height of an image. The reason aspect ratio is often ignored is quite simple - the aspect ratio of your photos depends on the camera used, and we tend to take that for granted.  Many of the newer digital cameras provide an option to select from several aspect ratios, each of which has its own characteristics and photographers can crop an image to a different aspect ration in post-processing.

So, how does aspect ratio work? It relates to the width and height of an image and basically describes how square (1:1) or wide (16:9) or image is. It's expressed as a figure, like this: width:height (width always comes first).

Most compact cameras, some digital medium format cameras and medium format film cameras use a 4:3 ratio or similar - hence the instant print machines/mass-market labs common print sizes being 7x5in/8x10in and reproducing the image as shot by the camera. 

The aspect ratio of the 35mm frame is 3:2. All fx and dx digital SLRs, regardless of sensor size or megapixels, use the 3:2 aspect ratio. It simply means that the frame is one and a half times as wide as it is high (or the other way around if you turn it on its side to use the vertical or "portrait" format).  

Your event will be shot using high end digital SLR's (unless otherwise specified) using an image aspect ratio of 3:2 with a view to pleasing album design/large-scale printing through professional print labs.  A small number of your images may be cropped to a 5:4 ratio if it felt that it aids the image.  Therefore, your images will NOT be the correct aspect ratio to fit into a 7x5in print without cropping (reducing the size of the image by cutting some away) and please bear in mind that if sent to a lab without a preview option, it is likely you will have no control over the where the crop will fall and so important areas of your image may be lost. 

Below is a cheat sheet that lists the print sizes compatible with a 3:2 aspect ratio so that you won't go wrong when ordering prints from a third party.  Alternatively, you can always order your prints through me and I can advise what sizes will suit the image to be printed and whether it can be cropped to change the aspect ratio.

Cheat sheet and more information regarding aspect ratio can be sourced at paintthemoon.net.


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A run down of some of the locations I have photographed at:

Ardencote Manor

Athena Theatre Venue, Leicestershire

Avoncroft Museum, Bromsgrove

Birmingham Town Hall

Blakelands Country House Hotel, Halfpenny Green

Botanical Gardens, Birmingham

Brockencote Hall, Chaddesly Corbett

Cadmore Lodge, Tenbury

Cameron House, Shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland

Cliveden Hall, Berkshire

Chester Zoo (Oakfield House), Chester

City Rooms, Leicester

Cookley Village Hall, nr. Kidderminster

Coombe Abbey, Coventry

Colwick Hall Hotel, Nottingham

Copthorne, Merry Hill

Crown & Sandy's, Ombersley

CSN, Birmingham

Curradine Barnes, Shrawley

Delbury Hall, Shropshire

Dudley Register Office, Dudley

Dudley Arms Hotel, Himley

Dunsley Hall Hotel, Kinver

Event City, Manchester

Forest of Arden Golf Club, Solihull

Grafton Manor, Droitwich

Grand Station, Wolverhampton

Grimstock Country House Hotel, nr. Curdworth

Goodyears Pavillion, Wolverhampton

Hadley Park House Hotel, Telford

Hartlebury Castle

Hawkstone Park, Weston under Redcastle, Shropshire

Henley in Arden Golf Club, Warwickshire

Highbury Hall, Birmingham

Hilton Hotel, Berlin

Himley Golf Club, Swindon

Himley House Hotel, Himley

Hinckley Island Hotel, Hinckley

Holt Castle, Ombersley

Holiday Inn, Bromsgrove

Kidderminster Registry Office, Kidderminster

Lee Brockhurst Village Hall, Nr. Wem

Leigh Arms, Northwich

Madeley Court, Telford

Manor Hill House

Moxhull Hall

Netherstowe House Hotel, Lichfield

Northumberland, Trafalgar Square, London

Paradise Island Resort, Bahamas

Pantheon, Rome City

Prestwold Hall, Leicestershire

Priory Park, Dudley

Raddison Blu Hotel, Birmingham

Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Estoria, Rome City

Rowton Castle, Shrewsbury

Sherbourne Park, Sherbourne, Warwick

Stourport Manor

Somerford Hall, Wolverhampton

Spring Grove House, West Midlands Safari Park

Stone Manor, nr. Kidderminster

Stourport Manor

Stourton Rugby Club, nr. Stourbridge

The Bay Tree Hotel, Burford

The Belfry

The Dudley Arms, Himley

The Granary, Shenstone

The Holiday Inn, Bromsgrove

The Kingfisher, Wall Heath

The Mere, Manchester

The Metropole, NEC Birmingham

The Mill, Alvely

The Moat House, Acton Trussell

The Mount, Tettenhall

The Old Rectory, Wem

The Old Vicarage, Worfield

The Oratory, Birmingham

The Pear Tree, Smyte

The Plough & Harrow, Edgbaston

The Quality Hotel, Dudley

The Village Hotel, Dudley

Wroxall Abbey

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