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Why Are Some Print Sizes Cropped? Amy Explains!

Print Ratios – Amy Cook Photography, LLC

Most cameras shoot in 4×6 ratio- therefore, be mindful when printing. Your photographer has not done anything wrong in saving your files if your 8×10 cropped off parts of your image- before you run back to them, let’s first take a quick look at crop ratios.

Since cameras typically shoot in 4×6 ratio, anything that is a MULTIPLE of 4×6 will print exactly as it was given to you- this includes 4×6 prints, 8×12, 12×18, 16×24, 20×30, 24×36 and so on. Just make sure you are multiplying both numbers by the same number to get the new print size- for example 4×6 = 4×2 (8) and 6×2 (12) to get the new size of 8×12.

Thus, if an 8×12 prints fully, it makes sense that an 8×10 will not, right? You are losing 2 inches on the long side!  Therefore 8×10’s and further multiples of this size like 16×20, 24×30 etc- or even 4×5 which is smaller but at the same ratio still- will all print with substantial image cut off on the sides. This can NOT be avoided. It is your job now to print responsibly, and make sure you are selecting where the crop takes place. Many chain stores allow you to do this, but many also do not. They take your image, size selection, and you are playing Russian Roulette with the outcome. You may chop off junior’s head, or you may get lucky!

If you have received a print release with your photography service investment, we recommend avoiding chain stores like the plague-many  photographers now will even state in the release that they places are not permitted- we aren’t being jerks, we are trying to help you get the best prints for your money- and save our reputation at the same time when you DON’T have green, overexposed prints that look like total dog doo, hanging in your house for everyone to see 😉 Instead try,, or printing through your photographer. I don’t condone Shutterfly, but sometimes they are “okay”- and they are always better than Rite-Aid! Above is an example of the 8×10 crop box. When ordering, make sure you drag the crop box to include the parts of you image that you wish, before submitting the order. This exact same view will apply to all of the sizes I listed above as well.

Below is an example of a 5×7 crop- again, it’s going to crop some, that’s just the way it is. This one isn’t as bad as the 8×10 though:)


Here is an 11×14 – it looks similar to the 8×10


Finally, while I’m thinking of it, I’m going to preview what a canvas crop looks like- Since canvas image wrap around the sides of the piece, even when you keep the original ratio in tact by printing say, a 20×30- you are still going to lose a little bit around all of the sides because those parts of the image are wrapping around the edges of the canvas. Typically the edges are 1- 1.5 inches thick. Notice we lose little guy’s foot here- This is due to the original shot because as you can see, he is placed pretty low in the frame. I usually try to shoot a little looser (giving more space in the image) if I know the client is going to want canvas.


You can also choose a solid color around the edges- sometimes it looks totally fine, others it’s kinda “meh”. I personally have always preferred the image-wrap because it looks more pretty and polished on the final product. The only time I have used solid color is when an image has un-avoidably cropped vital parts out by wrapping around the canvas. This is a 20×30 canvas which is a multiple of the original ratio that comes out of camera- 4×6. Since we opted for the color wrap instead of using part of the image, the entire original image remained in tact, just like with a regular 20×30 print.

Hopefully this sheds a little bit of light on the subject- remember- always print responsibly! I always personally recommend to my clients. Their prices are awesome, the ordering process is easy, and shipping is really fast. On top of that, they have many of the products you are looking for like books, canvas prints, and mini books for grandparents, etc.

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