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Trouble with Aspect Ratio and Printing Photos

Hi - I have two photos I took, both JPEGs, and I wanted them in 8x10 frames on my office wall. I went to a CVS kiosk to do this. The first photo was shot with a Canon Powershot S5 IS. The printing options are "standard" and "with white border". The standard setting cropped too much of the photo, so I chose white border and ended up with a 1/4-inch border top and bottom. No big deal, put it in an 8x10 frame, and I'm fine. The second photo was shot with a Canon T3i. I did the same procedure as the other photo, but this time ended up with a 5/8-inch border top and bottom. This wouldn't look good in an 8x10 frame. No way I'm going to get a custom mat either, because the size of the photo is now something like 6-3/4 by 10 inches.
From looking on the internet, as the manual didn't have it, I saw the Powershot is set to 4:3 aspect ratio. The T3i, however, can be set to different aspect ratios, but the menu to do this is under "Live View" which I don't use. Also, the manual for this camera states that all RAW shots are automatically set to 3:2 aspect ratio which they call "standard". Further, the manual reads that any other aspect ratio will result in cropping. All of this stuff is in the "Live View" section of the manual.
I'm at a loss with all this. I want to print out 8x10 pictures. Can anyone tell me how to do this so I can get them as close as possible to 8x10? Should I put the T3i on 4:3 ratio, which the manual tells me is not standard? I do not have Photoshop or Lightroom.
Thanks - Dave


  • MikeZMikeZ Member
    edited October 2014
    The 3:2 ratio is common in the sense that it will print a 4x6 as taken in camera. Most likely the majority of prints made with a compact type digital. A 5:4 ratio would be the ratio of an 8x10 with no modifications. You could print an 8x12. The 8x10 size is really more the frame manufacturers fault since the camera wants to create an 8x12 anyway...lol...

    Shooting wide is necessary when you don't know exactly what size you will be printing...Common print sizes 
  • I have some Canon software, Digital Photo Professional. There is a way to adjust the aspect ratio of a photo. Is it as simple as changing and re-saving to a 5:4 aspect ratio if I want to print out an 8x10?

  • The bottom line is you need to have software which is able to crop an image to a particular aspect ratio. I don't know anything about DPP's capabilities to crop. You need to know what size you are printing, and crop the image to make a file appropriate for that. My recommendation would be to "leave some space" on the long side when you shoot so you can crop some away later if you need to (which is the point MikeZ makes). If the aspect ratio of your image file is not what you need for the print size, you must crop to fit.

    Think about this way: Say your camera produced square image files of 5000 x 5000 pixels. Obviously, you can't make that into a 4x6 print without doing something. You can't fit a square into a rectangle like that unless you either stretch one side to fit (which you don't want to do) or crop some away such that you end up with a 4x6 shaped image (which is what you will have to do).

    Your T3i shoots a full size image at 5184 x 3456. That is a ratio of 1.5 (the long side is 50% longer than the short side). So you could print a 2x3, 4x6, 8x12, 20x30 (you get the idea) without needing to crop anything at all. If you want a 4x5, 5x7, 8x10, 11x14, for example, those will require you to crop accordingly.

    Your Powershot S5 shoots a full size image at 3264 x 2448. That is a ratio of 1.33, which is "more square" than your T3i. You will need to crop to print any popular sizes.

    So what I would suggest is making sure your software has the ability to crop to a particular aspect ratio, and create images to send to your print lab that are cropped in advance by you. I often save the files with the aspect ratio in the filename for ease later. For example, you could take an image from your T3i and make a version without a crop which has a resolution of 5184 x 3456 and you could call it Image1_4x6.jpg. Then you could crop to 4x5 (same as 8x10) aspect ratio, and that could have a resolution of 4320 x 3456, and you could call it Image1_4x5.jpg. You could take the same original file and make a version cropped to 5x7, and has a resolution of 4838 x 3456 and you could call it Image1_5x7.jpg. You upload all three to the printer's site, and when you are selecting prints, you make sure to use the 4x6 version for 2x3, 4x6, 8x12 prints, and you use the 4x5 version for 4x5 or 8x10 prints, and you use the 5x7 version for 5x7 prints.
  • Thanks, Nikonguy and MikeZ. I am pretty new with any sort of post-processing. I was working with DPP tonight with some test shots, and it has crop capabilities. I guess now I will have to pay attention to "leaving some space" in order to get a good fit later on in an off-the-shelf frame. Or the alternative is to print out 8x12s, or use those "float frames".
    I was disappointed to find I could only change the in-camera aspect ratio using Live View. Are there any cameras that let you change the in-camera ration without going to Live View? Is this something that's done, or are DSLR photos always shot at 3:2?
    Unless I am taking a photo of a sunset, moonrise, anything with a tripod, I don't like to look at the LCD screen. But, should I be a bigger fan of Live View?

  • Hi - I just found one slight problem: in the midst of trying to print 8x10s for my wall, I also printed out a 5x7 of something else to give to my mother, a shot taken with the T3i. I just measured it, and it's exactly 5x7. So, how come this came out 5x7 with an aspect ratio of 3:2? Somewhat confusing.

  • I personally don't believe in messing with the aspect ratio in camera. There is only one sensor in the camera and it has a fixed pixel dimension (ones for your cameras I referred to in my above message). Changing the setting is just forcing the camera to crop and not use some of its sensor. And then you could be coming back here to say that you set the aspect ratio to 4x5 in the camera and now you want to print a 4x6.

    My Nikon D800 has a few different in camera crops, and I don't need to use Live View to use them, but I never use it.
    The cropping as I have described is a basic tool you need to have. As far as printing a 5x7 off your T3i, it is either cropped in some manner or was stretched to fit - those are the only options. The stretching to fit looks bad especially if there are people in the frame.
  • Nikonguy - Thanks for the quick response. Good way of looking at the reason not to change the aspect ratio in the camera. - Dave
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