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As an adjunct to the Tangents blog, the intention with this forum is to answer any questions, and allow a diverse discussion of topics related photography. With that, see it as an open invitation to just climb in and start threads and to respond to any threads.


Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
edited December 2010 in post-processing
Tony Johnson asked:

Hi Neil, how are you. I've been reading a lot on your site about lighting. I'm getting some of it slowly but surely. I have a question that I posted on Photo.net but no one has answered yet. Maybe you can help me out. I've been shooting with a canon 50 d for about 2 years now. I've been using a 17-55 2.8 and a 70-200 2.8

Long story short, I haven't been printing pictures just storing in iphoto or send to people. Just shot Youth Tackle football team pictures and noticed when i tried to order 8x10 the photos were showing that they need to be cropped and if I cropped I would lose people on both ends but on the screen their was room on both sides of the players. The other day when I took care of make ups I just zoomed out so it wouldn't happen when I go to order. Do you know what could be happening. Sorry to have to ask you because I know your a busy man but I don't know what else to do.

Thank you in advance.


  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Tony .. any time I photograph portraits, whether individually or in groups, I compose for an 8x10 crop. It's a pretty harsh crop from the 2:3 aspect ratio, but unfortunately, that aspect ratio of 4:5 is going to be with us forever. Especially now that the smaller digital cameras (and even iPhone) have embraced the 4:5 ratio.

    So you just have to anticipate it and leave enough room to the edges of the frame.
  • I agree with Neil. This is what we have to do....think ahead and plan for the worst case...and thats usually 4:5. This will be the most crop in unless you plan to print square.
    On your 50D(Many of our photographers use this model) use your focus points as a gage in VF. When shooting Portrait(Vertical) put the top focus point on hair line, and bottom focus point at feet. This will give you a good 8x10. It will leave you with just the right amount of room so when its framed, the frame itself wont even cut off head or toes. Seems like Canon put those points in just the right spot for us. If you dont want to do this, they make masks that will put crop lines for 4:5(8x10) in VF so you can see when framing. As Neil mentioned, its apretty harsh crop from 2:3. I use a 1D Mark3 and it immediatly goes from 10mp to 8 when cropping to 8x10. Still looks awesome. You have more room to play on yours.

    And yes, they do look very loose as staright from camera....and yes, people who dont know better, customers will sometimes ask, why so loose.

    This will be a good opportunity to be the "pro" and explain to them so they understand that you were thinking ahead and sometimes it helps to show them what happenes. Many times, they will have a "duh" moment where they remember when they lost the forehead of little Johnny and never knew why.
  • Thanks for that response PhotogDave,
    Using the AF points is a really useful tip. I just recently had to try to explain to a customer why i physically couldn't produce a 10x8 crop of an image for him. I ended up having to do him a 12x8 for the same price!
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    The biggest problem with composing too tightly with the 3:2 ratio was when I still offered matted albums. Most of the matts were 5x7 or 4x5 or 8x10

    5x7 was less of a severe crop, but the 4x5 and 8x10 matts really were a headache with tightly composed shots.
  • Man you said it Neil. The matts can be a real pain in the....
    Dunc, glad to help. Most customers think you can just squeeze it in the fit. Sometimes I have to show them physically on paper. And yes, the 8x12 is a saftey valve....but its tought to find an 8x12 frame.

    Thats why I said the AF point as guides because when cropped it will still leave you room on top and bottom for matt or some frames eat in a little more than others.
    When I shoot this way, my 8x10 print usually has another 1" on top and bottom left over. So with print size discrepencies, frames that chew off another 1/4 all way around cause of glass lip, it leaves perfect space between subject and frame.

    Also, as a note: Ive started proofing in 4:5 as well. It eliminates explanation of why so loose in 2:3. Just crop all to 4:5 in batch, and load those as online proofs, my phone calls have been cut in half. As for doing them a 4x6 or 5x7, I just crop that aspect ratio in a bit so it doesnt look so loose.
    Unless there's something at edge of frame on sides thats important and cant lose...then you are SOL.
    Try the AF point guide...it should put you right on the money. In my 1D3, it has crop lines that come up on LCD for whatever I choose. So when i chimp, I see right then, two blue lines where my 8x10 will be...very nice feature. These features are the reason why i shoot 1 Series....Im sure the D3 series has this too.

    I have some photogs I work with that have a 7D and they have this new feature too BTW.

    Neil, love the forum idea BTW, Awesome. Thanks
    Take care.
  • @PhotogDave "hard to find an 8x12 frame - tell me about it! And even when I do find one, I've found it to be a lot more expensive than the 8x10. I'm currently PP some wedding images (second official wedding) and have been wondering about the crop - seems like composing for the 4:5 ratio is key.

    Also, my thanks to Neil for creating this forum. Love it!
  • @SaneleChadwick ....yes, composing for 4:5 is key. Compose everything for this and unless you print square, you'll have room for everything.

    Also, for me, our lab proofs everything as 4:5. The template package software is set up for this. I just load the images, proof batch and tada, all is well.
    It crops all from center automatically. Now this takes discipline. You need to compose image centered(inside4:5 area) on every shot.
    If you shoot it top heavy or bottom heavy, it might auto crop into subject, yes there is room to slide up or down and save image, but you'd need to do this manually for all images. Better to be disciplined on this and make life easier.

    So the way I compose everything, if its proofed will look just like the 8x10 print. I wish the camera makers had adopted a different format other than 2:3. I dont pretend to understand what made them choose this....but it is what is.
    So we have "work around" it.
  • @PhotogDave Cheers for the advice! I'm just batch cropping my "stacks" in Bridge in ACR (in addition to my other workflow bits and pieces) and am getting some pretty good results, then flicking through to make sure I'm happy with each crop. I must say, I really do love the new CS5, more specifically ACR 6.4, it's insanely good and I'm finding my workflow is a lot faster.
  • @SaneleChadwick I too have really enjoyed CS5. As you said, more so Camera Raw.
    In the past I have always used DPP(Canons RAW SW) because it gave me the best conversion as far as noise/color/sharpness was concerned.

    I recently again tried Camera RAW with my CS5 addition and have been using it more and more and more lately.
    I really really really like the control over sharpening in RAW conversion.
    Before, I would do any corrections in DPP, then sharpen in LR using USM, but with Camera RAW in CS5, I can do this at time of RAW conversion....saves tons of time.
    I am seeing better noise control as well because I can control "what" is sharpened and how much via the controls in ACR. I also like the fact you dont "have" to be at 100% to see masking in Camera RAW vs LR. LR makes you zoom in to 100% to see masking feature.

    Yes, Canon just added USM in RAW conversion, but I havent been happy with it at all. It doesnt look good to me none whatsoever. Very generic looking. Theres no mask viewing feature.
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