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The concept of aspect ratio is something that some people are familiar with, but many don’t fully understand.  We think aspect ratio is super important (especially since our sizing system has everything to do with aspect ratio), so in the next few paragraphs we’ll attempt to explain aspect ratio and make it a not so foreign concept.

The term “aspect ratio” refers to the relationship of two sides of a rectangle.  All digital cameras create rectangle images (a square can be considered a rectangle), therefore all digital cameras have aspect ratios.  The term does not refer to the exact measurements of the rectangle sides, but rather how the sides compare to one another.  The two most common aspect ratios for digital photography are 4:3 (used by most point and shoot cameras) and 3:2 (used by most DSLR cameras).

Here’s an example of an image in 4:3 aspect ratio.


And here’s an example of an image in 3:2 aspect ratio.


An example of photo print sizes that are 4:3 aspect ratio are: 6×8 inches, 9×12, 12×16.  Notice that these are not your standard photo print sizes (think about the last time you went to find frames for a picture, did you see those sizes?).

Examples of photo sizes that are in 3:2 aspect ratio would be: 4×6, 6×9, and 10×15.  Again, with the exception of 4×6, these are not your typical photo print sizes.

Math time!  To demonstrate that all of the sizes within a certain aspect ratio have the same relationship, lets do some quick division with 4:3 sizes.

3÷4 = .75…. so the shorter side is 75% the size of the larger side.

Now let’s do the same division to our examples of 4:3 sizes…

*cue Final Countdown and Gob Bluth’s dance moves*

6÷8= .75
9÷12= .75
12÷16= .75

…you can see that all sizes that are 4:3 aspect ratio have the same size relationship!  ”Illusions, Michael!”


Head to a print lab, and you’ll probably see these photo size options displayed: 4×6, 5×7, 8×10, 11×14, 16×20 and so on.  Most people are familiar with these sizes, and it’s pretty easy find frames to fit them.  The  problem is that your typical digital camera does not produce images in these aspect ratios, and therefore you will need to crop (cut off) part of your image to make them fit. That can be particularly time consuming if you want a single image in multiple sizes, and I’ll explain why below.

Here’s what the ‘popular’ photo sizes translate to in aspect ratio:

4×6 3:2
5×7 7:5
8×10 5:4
11×14 1:1.3
16×20 5:4

SO, if you’re shooting with a standard point and shoot camera (or an iPhone 5) that has a 4:3 aspect ratio, you would have to crop your photo for each separate frame size.  Shooting with a 3:2 DSLR presents the same dilemma.  Why these photo frame sizes are considered industry standard, we do not know, but at Fracture we just didn’t think it made much sense.

We wanted to make the ordering process as simple and pain free as possible, so we devised a sizing system that meant that the majority of digital camera owners never had to crop their images to have them fractured.  That was important to us because we want to make the transition from your camera to your wall as seamless as possible.

Each Fracture size (except for the Squares, duh), is in 4:3 ratio.

So that means that for the majority of people ordering Fractures (those with cameras or phones that take 4:3 photos), they will never have to crop your image to make it fit.  We did that to make the fracturing process as simple as possible.  Some of you DSLR users would prefer a set of 3:2 sizes as standard options in addition to our 4:3 and square sizes. We do plan to have that in the future!

We want to be able to cater to photographers of all types, using all sorts of equipment, and we’re working towards that goal.

So next time you go camera shopping, take a second to think about whether you will be wanting to print your digital images (and at what size), it might effect the camera you decide to bring home.

Happy shooting!


If all that hurt your brain to read, here’s Jimmy Fallon dancing.
Thanks to the cool folks at Giphy for the gifs (giphs?)


You should follow us on Twitter here.

Or start making an awesome Fracture here.

The Author

Drew Allen

Drew Allen

Director of Content Marketing. Managing Editor. Drummer. Husband. Father. Lover of good stories and great design.



  1. Leon Ault
    August 4, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    I sell hundreds of prints and with the exception of 5×7 everything is 2:3.

    Most of my prints are 16×24 or 10 x 6.667 matted to 11 x 14.

    The 11 inch square I just ordered looked great and was a big hit.


    • August 7, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      We are definitely excited to hopefully be printing 2:3 as soon as we can be.

      Thanks for the kind words, Leon. Glad it was a big hit!

  2. Penny
    August 16, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    I love my picture of my granddaughter with her lap dog it’s going to be a great Christmas present and happy memory.