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05-10-2010, 08:10 AM   #1
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Do you use a Standard when Cropping for Print?

I want to get into the practice of cropping in photoshop so my pictures can be printed.

Is there a standard you use? Like cropping your photos to 8x10, knowing thats a good place to start and can also scale up or down if needed?

Does this make sense? I don't want to crop my pictures arbitrarily in case i ever want to print them and stuck with white pillars on the sides.

05-10-2010, 09:02 AM   #2
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Learn to compose in camera for the cropping you plan to use. If you know where the edges of your cropped selection is, you can use as much of the frame without losing something important to an edge.

Unless you are cutting your own mats and getting custom frames made, standard sizes are a convenient and easy way to print.

Besides that, I don't preemptively crop anything until I've decided that I'm going to print it.
05-10-2010, 09:39 AM   #3
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Whatever editing you do, you should always keep a copy of the original. If your editor does non-destructive editing (eg, Lightroom, Aperture, ACDSee Pro, Lightzone, Bibble Pro), then you don't even have to make that a separate step. Not sure if your version of Photoshop allows for non-destructive editing of JPEG via ACR or not.
05-10-2010, 01:55 PM   #4
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Moved to PP.

05-10-2010, 02:59 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by alohadave Quote
Learn to compose in camera for the cropping you plan to use.
QuoteOriginally posted by alohadave Quote
Besides that, I don't preemptively crop anything until I've decided that I'm going to print it.
QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Whatever editing you do, you should always keep a copy of the original.
The above is pratically all that needs to be said on the subject.

I always keep a copy in the original format, and if/when I decide to print, I save a cropped version for the target format (with, eg. "-8x10") added to the filename.

And when in doubt about the format you'll want to print a given scene, frame wider than you would normally. You can alway re-crop to 3:2 later. This part I still have trouble with, and get bad surprises when I want to crop to 5x7 or 8x10...
05-11-2010, 02:06 AM   #6
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The inherent dimensions of the format is 3:2. For prints, this equals 4x6, 6x9, 8x12, and 12x18. These all correspond with standard frame and mat sizes. If you print at home, the 12x18 works great with the 13x19-in papers, in an 18x24-in frame.

I try to compose in camera so I don't have to crop down to different dimensions than these. If I do crop the image, I try to maintain the 3:2 aspect ratio.

See if your post-processing software can simulate different dimensions on screen. I have numerous print presets in Lightroom that shows how a 8x10 vs. 8x12 would look.

8x10, and 5x7 are older standard sizes that don't coordinate very well with the 3:2 dimensions of APS-C. But there are lots of frames, mats, and papers to choose from.

I also like a square format for some images such as 12x12 or 8x8. A good frame shop should have a few square precut setups available.

I do think that aesthetic values trump standard dimensions--some subjects are transformed by the right framing dimension, but it comes at a price. If you are just printing and framing a handful of images every six months, then going custom (non-standard dimensions) won't get too costly. But if you have to hang a show with a couple dozen custom mat and frame jobs or more, then it gets pricey fast (I used to frame professionally many moons ago and still do for my own art shows).

I suggest visiting photographic fine art galleries to get a feel for what subjects look best at what aspect ratios.


05-11-2010, 05:55 AM   #7
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I've found cropping to 5x7 allows me to then change to 4x6 or 8x10 without changing the balance of things all that much.
05-11-2010, 06:36 AM   #8
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I'm very much an "every image is an individual" kind of guy, each image gets the cropping it needs, not a compromise based on ratios or frame sizes. It's easy enough to cut your own mats if you are printing and framing.


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