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Old 14th of April 2012 (Sat)   #1
Josh_30
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Default Best aspect ratio for online galleries?

I'm fairly new to selling my images, and I have a question. Since many of the online image galleries (smugmug, etc) allow you to print multiple sizes of photos from a single image, what is the most appropriate aspect ratio to use when cropping photos? It would be nice if 8x10, 4x6, 5x7, etc were all the same aspect ratio, but unfortunately they're not.
Currently, I just crop way too wide, to make up for any differences,but that seems sort of... arbitrary and lends itself to making galleries look a bit unprofessional since they may all be slightly different aspect ratios. I remember reading somewhere that 8x10 is preferred, but I can't remember where or why that was the case.
Thanks!
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Old 14th of April 2012 (Sat)   #2
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Default Re: Best aspect ratio for online galleries?

If you work in Abobe Lightroom, you can create multiple aspect ratios (virtually) from your original and upload them as unique images.

On my Zenfolio-hosted gallery, I simply created price lists that don't offer sizes on images where I know they wouldn't work.
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Old 14th of April 2012 (Sat)   #3
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Default Re: Best aspect ratio for online galleries?

There is no single "standard" aspect ratio. The wider 4x6/12x18/20x30 2:3 aspect ration is certainly common because it became the "standard" aspect ratio for 35mm film and then our DSLRs, which are designed around the old 35mm SLRs, so, the 2:3 aspect ratio.

But, as you have noted, there are a number of common aspect ratios. A popular film size (MF/LF film) is 4inx5in, and so results the popular 8x10 print size.

And then of course there are the many digicams that have a 4:3 format sensor, and then there are the "odd" printsizes like 5x7 and 11x14...

So, what I typically do is crop for the composition, whatever "looks best".

I guess if I had a photo online with a 2:3 aspect ratio and someone wanted an 8x10 print, well, I could deliver it at the original A.R, unless they wanted to print it with the long sides cropped at their preference...
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Last edited by tonylong : 16th of April 2012 (Mon) at 17:05.
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Old 14th of April 2012 (Sat)   #4
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Default Re: Best aspect ratio for online galleries?

3:2
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Old 15th of April 2012 (Sun)   #5
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Default Re: Best aspect ratio for online galleries?

I suppose it does makes the best sense to crop using the original aspect ratio of 3:2. That would keep cropped images and uncropped images looking the same in the gallery. The smugmug galleries allow the purchaser to "choose their own crop" on screen when choosing a print size that does not match the original aspect ratio, so I was trying to choose the best option for that, instead of having multiples of the same image with various aspect ratios uploaded side by side. Sometimes a photo needs a special crop, but for general images, I think I'll go with 3:2.
Thanks!
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Old 16th of April 2012 (Mon)   #6
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Default Re: Best aspect ratio for online galleries?

What's the best ratio for each image? That's the best ratio.
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Old 16th of April 2012 (Mon)   #7
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Default Re: Best aspect ratio for online galleries?

Modern wide screen monitors are 16:10, while monitors of classic proportion are 5:4

Vertical photos (portrait orientation) better fit the horizontally oriented monitors of both proportions if the photo is 5:4
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Old 16th of April 2012 (Mon)   #8
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Default Re: Best aspect ratio for online galleries?

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Originally Posted by FeXL View Post
What's the best ratio for each image? That's the best ratio.
Yes, for a truly special image, I would agree.

But if you're putting something like a family portrait in an online gallery for someone to purchase, and that gallery lets you choose multiple print sizes from each photo... then a crazy non-standard crop doesn't work so well, not to mention the added hassle/cost of a custom matte and/or frame. So at this point I want to keep it simple and do ONE crop of each image and let the customer choose the print size they need, while allowing for enough "fudge room" for crops to the different aspect ratios of the most commonly ordered print sizes. (Smugmug allows you to select the area to print, if the image needs to be cropped to produce the desired print size). I could do a separate crop for each print size, but I thought there might be a particular "standard" way to achieve this with a single crop, but it seems like everyone has their own way that works for them.

Thanks for the input!
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Old 17th of April 2012 (Tue)   #9
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Default Re: Best aspect ratio for online galleries?

Thing is, we've sometimes made additional money from an unusual crop because we could charge extra for that custom matte & frame.

With Smugmug, however, it would be difficult.

Understood.
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Old 17th of April 2012 (Tue)   #10
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Default Re: Best aspect ratio for online galleries?

Is this topic about the best aspect ratio for displaying images in one's gallery on the web, or about the best aspect ratio for offering prints?!...very different issues!
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Old 17th of April 2012 (Tue)   #11
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Default Re: Best aspect ratio for online galleries?

I thought from my original post it was clear, but I guess not. I'm trying to figure out the best aspect ratio to use when cropping images, which I will then upload to my SmugMug online gallery for customers to purchase, usually as prints, but they have the option to buy as a digital download as well. So it's mainly a "for print" cropping question. Basically, since the various print sizes have different aspect ratios, what is the best aspect ratio to use (if there is one) that makes it the easiest to accommodate all of the standard print sizes that are available for an image, i.e. 4x5 ,5x7, 8x10, etc.

For digital images for display only (not prints), I just choose the crop that I like best for that image. But, for prints that I'm going to sell to others, I'd like to have this as "standard" as possible.
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Old 17th of April 2012 (Tue)   #12
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Default Re: Best aspect ratio for online galleries?

I recently read an article about the best crop size to offer for preview when selling prints of different aspect ratios. The aspect ratio the author suggested was 11x15 because it falls right in the middle of the 2x3 format and the 4x5 format and thus, no matter what print size the customer chooses, they'll loose the least amount of area from cropping. The only downside to this method is that there is no size that will fit the native resolution so the customer will loose some area of the photo no matter what size they choose....but the lost area won't be as drastic, for instance, if they choose an 8x10 from a photo with a 2x3 aspect ratio. Hope that makes sense In the end, there really is no right or wrong....you just need to find what works best for you and your customers.
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Old 17th of April 2012 (Tue)   #13
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Default Re: Best aspect ratio for online galleries?

The subject threw me off!...and I failed to read the OP fully !

Since the best crop varies by photo, it would seem most appropriate for you to display your art at what you, the artist, consider to be the best crop for that composition, and then tell the consumer what size choices they have for that specific photo. After all, oil and acrylic painters compose their painting in one format and that is the only one size that is offered; same for etchings.
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Last edited by Wilt : 17th of April 2012 (Tue) at 11:22.
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Old 17th of April 2012 (Tue)   #14
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Default Re: Best aspect ratio for online galleries?

If you want to use just one aspect ratio that will "work" for every print size, then leave the photos in the 2:3 aspect ratio (assuming these are DSLR shots). The customer will then be responsible to select a print size, but the online software will need to provide them with "framing" so that an 8x10 (with a 4:5 aspect ratio) can be "framed" without cropping out needed subject matter.

Of course, that means that you the photographer are responsible to provide images that can be cropped to print an 8x10 but also can produce an uncroppd 4x6 and look good at either aspect ratio/crop!
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Old 17th of April 2012 (Tue)   #15
Josh_30
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Default Re: Best aspect ratio for online galleries?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonylong View Post
If you want to use just one aspect ratio that will "work" for every print size, then leave the photos in the 2:3 aspect ratio (assuming these are DSLR shots). The customer will then be responsible to select a print size, but the online software will need to provide them with "framing" so that an 8x10 (with a 4:5 aspect ratio) can be "framed" without cropping out needed subject matter.

Of course, that means that you the photographer are responsible to provide images that can be cropped to print an 8x10 but also can produce an uncroppd 4x6 and look good at either aspect ratio/crop!
The SmugMug software does exactly that, and is my main reason for this topic. When you choose a print size that does not match the original aspect ratio of the image, then the software gives you a preview of the photo with a grey box that you use to re-crop the image.
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