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Old 31st of August 2012 (Fri)   #1
Laramie
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Default Cropping - Standard print sizes vs. unconstrained ratio?

I was thinking about this the other day and was curious how others handled it.

I shoot mostly for fun, but lately I'm making more contacts in the community and I'm trying to turn a hobby into a something to at least make some money on the side.

I've normally cropped freely during PP just to get proper framing, eliminate clutter, stick to the rule of thirds, etc.

But by doing that, I'm not sticking to common print sizes like 8x10, 11x14, and so on. So for example, so all of the free cropped images I've uploaded, if I try to get them printed for customers, they will be futher cropped to fit the designated ratio.

So is it a bad idea to "free crop" instead of sticking to the native camera ratio or other similar ones?
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Old 31st of August 2012 (Fri)   #2
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Default Re: Cropping - Standard print sizes vs. unconstrained ratio?

Use either 3:2 or 5:4 ratio. Don't crop too tight because your clients may want your 3:2 ratio shot to be printed at 8x10 = 5:4 ratio. Always save the original shot uncropped in case you need to recrop it for whatever print size and ratio.
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Old 31st of August 2012 (Fri)   #3
Laramie
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Default Re: Cropping - Standard print sizes vs. unconstrained ratio?

That makes sense and for whatever reason, I never really thought of creating duplicates during my workflow. I will start doing cropped and uncropped versions in hte final/processed folders.
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Old 31st of August 2012 (Fri)   #4
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Default Re: Cropping - Standard print sizes vs. unconstrained ratio?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laramie View Post
I was thinking about this the other day and was curious how others handled it.

I shoot mostly for fun, but lately I'm making more contacts in the community and I'm trying to turn a hobby into a something to at least make some money on the side.

I've normally cropped freely during PP just to get proper framing, eliminate clutter, stick to the rule of thirds, etc.

But by doing that, I'm not sticking to common print sizes like 8x10, 11x14, and so on. So for example, so all of the free cropped images I've uploaded, if I try to get them printed for customers, they will be futher cropped to fit the designated ratio.

So is it a bad idea to "free crop" instead of sticking to the native camera ratio or other similar ones?
I'm more than unqualified to speak on this subject, so I will put in my two cents worth in.

I prefer to crop in relation to print sizes, but I have printed several of my images that I did free crops on. I had to do that to make the image what it is. I also did a lot of work in the resize area to get the image to fit the final print size, but I think it's pretty doable if you keep the print size small. I have done all of mine at 8"x10".
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Old 31st of August 2012 (Fri)   #5
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Default Re: Cropping - Standard print sizes vs. unconstrained ratio?

They come out of the camera 3:2 and I preserve that because most of the pictures that will get printed, will be printed 4x6. If I need to print in another size, I'll recrop to fit so at least I'm in control of what gets chopped off.
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Old 1st of September 2012 (Sat)   #6
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Default Re: Cropping - Standard print sizes vs. unconstrained ratio?

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Originally Posted by TooManyShots View Post
Use either 3:2 or 5:4 ratio. Don't crop too tight because your clients may want your 3:2 ratio shot to be printed at 8x10 = 5:4 ratio. Always save the original shot uncropped in case you need to recrop it for whatever print size and ratio.
This.

Going forward. Always save the original image uncropped. This way you can subsequently crop to suit your client's needs, if other than the native 3:2 ratio.
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Old 1st of September 2012 (Sat)   #7
Laramie
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Default Re: Cropping - Standard print sizes vs. unconstrained ratio?

Thanks for the suggestions all.
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Old 1st of September 2012 (Sat)   #8
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Default Re: Cropping - Standard print sizes vs. unconstrained ratio?

I used to do the same as you, before I started selling photos online. I would much rather crop to what looks best for the image rather than for a print dimension but . . . now that I sell, I crop everything to 4:6 ratio. Prints, especially small prints look very bad with big white borders on one dimension or the other.
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Old 1st of September 2012 (Sat)   #9
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Default Re: Cropping - Standard print sizes vs. unconstrained ratio?

The issue of 'free crop' actually existed before...think about it, the 6x6 square format of pro film shooters is essentially a 'custom crop' compared to the standard 5:4 aspect ratio mattes that are commonly available, so pro photographers shooting that format had to provide 8x8 or 10x10 mattes and frames to suit. Similarly, oddball aspect ratios would leave clients with no off the shelf source of mattes and frames, also. If you have your own matte cutter, it suddenly does not matter. One could always create 'standardize' oddball aspect ratios that you commonly use, to eliminate the issue of 'every one is different'.
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Old 1st of September 2012 (Sat)   #10
Laramie
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Default Re: Cropping - Standard print sizes vs. unconstrained ratio?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bpalermini View Post
I used to do the same as you, before I started selling photos online. I would much rather crop to what looks best for the image rather than for a print dimension but . . . now that I sell, I crop everything to 4:6 ratio. Prints, especially small prints look very bad with big white borders on one dimension or the other.
I agree. But Wilt does bring up a good point, you still have the option to bring your irregular size and just have a matte cut to a custom size. I'd rather do that to salvage a shot rather than further cropping and losing elements in the frame.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilt View Post
The issue of 'free crop' actually existed before...think about it, the 6x6 square format of pro film shooters is essentially a 'custom crop' compared to the standard 5:4 aspect ratio mattes that are commonly available, so pro photographers shooting that format had to provide 8x8 or 10x10 mattes and frames to suit. Similarly, oddball aspect ratios would leave clients with no off the shelf source of mattes and frames, also. If you have your own matte cutter, it suddenly does not matter. One could always create 'standardize' oddball aspect ratios that you commonly use, to eliminate the issue of 'every one is different'.
Great point. Since I started photography with a DSLR, I didn't experience that side of it. But you bring up a fantastic point that for whatever reason, I never really thought of. I guess I always figured I'd have to send my files to the printer as full frames as opposed to getting them printed with white borders.

Thanks for that.
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Old 2nd of September 2012 (Sun)   #11
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Default Re: Cropping - Standard print sizes vs. unconstrained ratio?

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Originally Posted by mike_d View Post
They come out of the camera 3:2 and I preserve that because most of the pictures that will get printed, will be printed 4x6. If I need to print in another size, I'll recrop to fit so at least I'm in control of what gets chopped off.
I use the same approach. Years ago I used to free crop but thought it looked more like a scrap book when I reviewed the images later.
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Old 2nd of September 2012 (Sun)   #12
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Default Re: Cropping - Standard print sizes vs. unconstrained ratio?

I have standardised my output to suit what I like. I sell framed or unframed prints with a matte and back board that will fit a 20 x 16 frame. This frame size is common and means my prints are 405mm x 305mm, for which I use A3+ paper.

While I've had no complains so far, I keep the uncropped original RAW so could easily rework an image to a different ratio if asked.
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Old 2nd of September 2012 (Sun)   #13
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Default Re: Cropping - Standard print sizes vs. unconstrained ratio?

I rarely use a ration to crop. I've been cropping freely for years, and now learned that I can almost always nail 3:2 or 2:3 (what my camera does anyway) pretty accurately without using any kind of guide.
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