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!!!

Photography Locations Lethbridge

Photography Locations Lethbridge

Often I am asked about photography locations in Lethbridge.  Over the years I found many public or semi private locations that you can use without booking or paying. Then lately I started to noticed that a lot are starting to charge.  As one person said to me.  “We did let photographers use our space but they became to demanding so now we will regulate it and charge”. 

In the following list I have contacted each one to check on any requirements.  I am not including private locations as this changes so fast, will keep it to ones that most clients ask about. 

If you find a location that is not on the list please let me know.

When using any location please be a professional.  The actions of a few bad apples effects all of us. If we keep getting banned soon we will be without some of the great spots we have come to love.

I have had a couple mentions about nudity and questionable shoots.  The general response to this is that all these locations are public places and photographers need to respect that.   No nudity is acceptable if the location is open.  A couple places suggested that if you require nudity that you should book the entire place off hours.  Of course the cost is substantially higher.

Will update as I get more information……. (Updated February 20, 2019)


Galt Museum

  • $50 per hour or part thereof
  • NO prebooking
  • Must provide a business card with payment
  • An assortment of rules that apply about furniture and use of the area – inquire at the Galt


  • $35 per hour
  • Requires prebooking – If space available
  • MUST provide a copy of insurance
  • Must fill out booking form
  • NO studio lighting in the Atrium, on camera flash only

Sandman (formally the Lodge)

  • $30 per hour
  • Book in advance preferred
  • NO shooting on the pool deck

Helen Schuler Nature Center – Roof top Garden

  • $10 for 15 minutes or $35 per hour
  • Prefer 2 weeks notice but will do with less
  • No studio lights
  • Maximum of 50 people

Research Station

  • Free for pictures
  • Opens for booking on January 2 for each year.
  • To guarantee a spot you must book in advance
  • When booking a contract must be signed
  • Have been told that they do not allow photos when the station is open. Will check into that.

Japanese Garden

  • Wedding up to 15 people $150 for 2 hours
  • Family $75 for up to 10 people
  • Couple $50
  • Prebooking is required before your event and you must follow the rules of the garden. If unsure of the rules check when booking.

Lethbridge Parks

  • Be respectful
  • Parks are first come first served
  • Do not damage plants or property

University of Lethbridge

They do rent out banquet, ballroom and meeting space but the use of the grounds seems to be in question for just pictures. If you can get a contact I can talk to with the info I would love to but it seems to fall between the different groups and not regulated. Booking without a contact seems impossible.

Lethbridge College

They do rent out banquet, ballroom and meeting space but the use of the grounds seems to be in question for just pictures. If you can get a contact I can talk to with the info I would love to but it seems to fall between the different groups and not regulated. Booking without a contact seems impossible.

Just Google it!

I hear so often about people that put all their faith in what Google tells them.  If something is wrong they Google it. If they want to know how to do something they Google it. I do the same thing when I am stuck I do it with a lot of caution.  It is not just Google that can be an issue it is any place that offers free information. Or FREE courses and classes.

The other day I listened to a guest on the radio tell about the pitfalls of listening to on-line results about medical diagnoses. He was saying how much someone can be messed up by the results.  If you want to know how bad it is just Google something like “Red bump on arm” and see the results. Anything from a cancerous growth, to a steph infection, to a poisonous spider bite when all it was was a mosquito bite.

Read moreJust Google it!

Sensor Dust

The stages of sensor dust denial and cleaning!

– There is a spot on my image…… cannot be sensor dust, I just cleaned it!
– A week later – The spot is still there, that is strange!
– A month passes – The spot is still there, it is not so bad I can live with it.

Sensor Dust

Read moreSensor Dust

Storm chasing season is coming!!

I love chasing storms!!!

I am not a fan when storms come and chase me, but if I can go after them it is AMAZING!!!!  Below is some information on my storm chasing gear so you can be ready when things heat up!

Lightning storm
Evening storm


It is great to get some amazing storm pictures but be careful!!!  If you are not familiar with storms find someone to go out with for the first few times or take a course.  No picture is work a death!!

Lightning Set-ups

Read moreStorm chasing season is coming!!