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The concept of aspect ratio is something that some people are familiar with, but many don’t fully understand.

The term “aspect ratio” refers to the relationship between two sides of a rectangle. All digital cameras and smartphones have a default aspect ratio.  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).

Math is fun.

3÷4 = .75, so photos with this aspect ratio have a shorter side that is 75% the size of the larger side.

Here’s an example of an image in a 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.  So with the exception of 4×6, these are still not your typical photo print sizes.

Head to a print lab though, 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 finding 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.

Popular Photo Sizes

Here’s what the ‘popular’ photo sizes translate to an 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) 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 here at Fracture we just didn’t think it made much sense.

We’ve always wanted to make the ordering process as simple and pain-free as possible. So we planned our sizes so that digital camera owners never had to crop their images to have them Fracture printed.  That’s really important to us. We really do want to make the transition from your camera to your wall as seamless as possible.

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

For the majority of people ordering Fracture prints (with cameras or phones that take 4:3 photos), they won’t have to crop their image to make it fit.  We did that to make the printing process as simple as possible.

Of course, keep in mind that square prints will require cropping, and will result in an image that is just as tall as it is wide.

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 affect the camera you decide to bring home.

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Or just start making an awesome Fracture here.

What’s your preferred aspect ratio for your photos?

Comments

The Author

Drew Allen

Drew Allen

Besides being the managing editor of this blog, I'm also a drummer, a husband, and a father, not necessarily in that order. I love good stories, and great design, and I probably quote the Office more than I should but less than I could.

3 Comments

  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.

    Thanks.

    • 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.