What print size won’t crop your image

Why does that print size crop my image?

So what print size will I be able to print without loosing any of the image? The question is almost daily. “Why is it when I get a 5×7, 8×10, 11×14 or 16×20 print made of my digital file I have some of the image cut off”?

The answer

A digital camera sensor is NOT the same proportions as the print sizes mentioned above.

Why are those print sizes so popular? According to history the sizes that we have come to know as normal where used by photographers that shot 645 medium format. These sizes fit this format perfectly.  35mm Film and most sensors in digital cameras are proportioned to 4×6, 8×12, 11×16, 12×18, 16×24. Only these sizes will give you the full image file without cropping any of your image.

Cropping can be a good thing if you plan for it. It can allow you to get closer to the subject and eliminate “extra” parts of the picture.  For some pictures it is a killer.  Imagine a picture of a large family and the people are from one edge of the image to the other.  Then the client asks for a 16×20.  Well you now have to choose who in the family that you are going to cut out. Or you will have to do a lot of editing to add sky or foreground to the image.

Full print size
The full digital image
Cropped print size
When you ask for a cropped print size

So what should you do?

When shooting images imagine that you have crop lines in your viewfinder. Or do like many did in years past and draw the crop lines in – if you so dare or are crazy enough to try.  Then leave space around your images for the cropping to the common sizes. 

If you want to do something artistic like shooting a image to print to 24″x8″ make sure that you let your client know first. That way they won’t try and order a 8×10 from that image. Or maybe do one that is more artistic in posing then do some that will fit the common format sizes.

If you do mess up and crop too tight for the print size, add some space using Photoshop. Unsure of how to add space ask when ordering and I will help you with it.

External Hard Drives – WARNING

I am a BIG advocate of using external hard drives to store your images and data. This is of course in addition to other back-up sources. Things such as DVD’s, extra external hard drives and additional computers.

External Hard Drives

New Drive

Recently I went out and bought another external hard drive. Picked up a Lacie to transfer all my nature pictures to. That way I would have them in one place and be able to take it with me when I am on the road without taking other files. Spent a Saturday night and part of Sunday transferring and organizing the new drive. I have several other Lacie drives as back-ups and have had no problems to date. Then I took the to the studio to download the files there.

I plugged the drive into one of the studio computers and watched as it said “New Drive Detected”, “Installing Hardware”, “New Device is now ready to use”. Then I clicked on My Computer to find that the device is not there. Tried a second computer then a third, all with the same results.

External Hard Drive
External Hard Drive

That not good

I was finally able to locate the drive through a couple of backdoor routes and found that the drive was running. But after a lot of research I found that even with the computer recognizing the drive it was not accessible. After looking into it I found out that it is the way the drive was set-up from the factory.

So a word of warning, if you have an external drive that you are using make sure that it is readable on other computers! You should do this ASAP!!! I would actually try several computers to make sure if your computer should die, or be upgraded, that the external drive is accessible.

Check your drives NOW!!!

Again as a word of warning, if you have an external drive check it on another computer ASAP to make sure that it can be read, before you need the drive to work and it doesn’t. This is one of those issues that if you find out when you have a computer problem it is too late!!!

Camera Cards

Camera Cards – Are they archival?

Another thing that I am asked by a lot of people is “How archival are digital camera cards”? People wonder if they should fill up a camera card then store it and buy a new one. I was not sure so I contacted Sandisk and asked this question and the response is below.

Question:

How archival are your digital camera cards?

Answer:

Camera Cards
Some old camera cards that still work great!

Hello Mike, Thank you for contacting SanDisk Technical Support. It is our goal to make sure you have all the resources you need to get the most from your product. Let me assist you with your concern. The files/pictures can retain on the card for 10 years, without using the card again, meaning just for storing the card. If you are continuously using the card, like adding more and more pictures (when taking using the camera), please understand that there is no guarantee that those pictures will never going to be corrupted. Data corruptions on the card can happen any time on all storage device, (Cards, Flash drives, MP3 player, and including the Hard Disk drive). Should you have further concerns, please do not hesitate to reply to this message. Best regards, SanDisk Technical Support

So I would say that it is still the best practice to get the images off the cards. Shot, download then back-up and reformat the card. If you do want to keep the image on the cards I would still download and back-up. Then store the cards in a safe place like a safety deposit box or at a friends house.

Camera Cards Archival?

The biggest issue with digital media, unlike film, is that it does not fade. It just corrupts! So if you take a card out in ten years and it is damaged that is it.

Be Safe…. PRINT!

I still say that the best way in addition to backing up your images is to print them. When they are printed you are not relying on technology to keep your images viable. I scan more prints than I do negatives or slides as people can find their prints. It is not perfect but it is better to have something to look back on even if it is fading a little.

Printing services

Adjust images in PhotoShop

Using layers to adjust images in Photoshop

I am often asked what is the best way to adjust images in Photoshop?  So I thought it deserved a post on the blog to help you get the best images when editing.

Question: How do you do color and density corrections in Photoshop?

Answer: I use adjustment layers whenever possible.  Why? If you use adjustment layers then save the file as a PSD you can go back and see what you have done. You can make small adjustments from the last place that you adjusted without starting over. And finally if you get one image looking great and you have a number of others that need the same adjusting then you can drag the adjustment layer to other images.

So how do I do this?

1 – Open your image

2 – Select Adjustment layer (see picture below)

Adjust images in PhotoShop
Adjust images in PhotoShop

Read moreAdjust images in PhotoShop

What to buy the photographer on your list

An oldie but a goodie, gifts for the photographer on your list …..

I get asked a lot from photographers and those that have to buy gifts for a photographer what is good to get/give for a present.  I have answered this before but thought that it is a good time to do it again as I have been asked many times this week. So lets go through some things;

Lenses/camera

Unless someone really needs a new camera it is more important to get better lenses than to get another camera body.  A GOOD lens will do far more to improve a photo than a camera body will. Don’t upgrade a camera just to get a new camera, save the money and get some pro lenses it will amaze you the difference a great lens makes to your photography. If you are buying for someone make sure you get them the lens that they need and not just any lens.

Canon 5D Mark IV with grip / battery holder.
Canon 5D Mark IV with grip / battery holder.

Read moreWhat to buy the photographer on your list

Crop Factor

If you are using one the the APS sensor cameras, and most people are, here is a conversion guide for you to figure out the crop factor for your lenses..

The conversion guide give you the working MM of a lens when put on a crop sensor body.

So for instance a 50mm lens when put in a cropped body is actually 80MM. A 600mm lens when put on a cropped body is 960mm. Most times it is not important what the MM’s are but if you do need to know this will help.

Some of the APS cameras that are available are:

Canon Rebel line, Canon 10D, 20D, 40D, 50D, 60D, 70D, 80D, Canon 7D with the 1.6 crop factor

Nikon D7200, Nikon D500, Pentax K3 and the Sony Sony A77 with 1.52 (I used 1.52 – there are some versions 1.53 or 1.54 but it gets to confusing to add all these)

(there are more brands and models but this is a sample)

If you want a printable copy click here https://www.firstchoicephoto.ca/CropPage.jpg