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Understanding Photo Prints and Framing Sizes

Photo Printing

Getting photos printed for frames or albums can be a bit of a mare, whether you are working in centimetres, or inches, because due to ‘sods law’ the frame you choose will be ever so slightly too small or too big, because that’s how life is. So this brief overview of print sizes and digital photo ratio should help alleviate that problem.

Traditionally the size of prints in the UK have been as follows:

6x4,  7x5,  8x6,  10x8,  12x8  and  16x12 all in inches. (Larger Sizes Available, but it could get boring!)

The table below, shows manufacturers centimeter sizing for Uk inches, but sometimes, depending on where the frame is manufactured, these figures can be ever so slightly out. (Annoying I know)

Inches Manufacturer Centimetres
6x4 15x10
6.5x4.5 16x11
7x5 18x13
7.5x5 19x13
8x6 20x15
10x8 25x20
12x8 30x20
16x12 40x30

If you are very old, you may have had enprints which were 5x3.5 inches, but 6x4 inches kicked those into touch around 35-40 years ago, as they were so much better, giving a clearer image, depending on who was taking the photo. You would still get heads and feet cut off, but there is nothing you can do about that apart from slap the photographer ever so slightly.

So, once digital became popular, the CCD chip caused all sorts of issues with the standard print sizes due to chip sizes being a slightly different ratio to 35mm film. This still rumbles on a bit, although camera manufacturers have made an effort to smooth things out a bit, but you may find that if you completely fill the frame with the subject, you may have issues with cropping, which is where parts of the image don't appear on the print. Don't worry, it isn't the end of the world!

Getting Photo's Printed at a Store
Fit and Fill are two words which will make your photo printing life so much easier.
If you are a keen photographer and like to get in close and personal, particularly with portrait shots, then cropping can be an issue. This is where the outer edges of the image you can see on your camera screen, don't actually get printed, which is extremely annoying, especially if you have spent ages composing the perfect shot. What we suggest you do is shout 'FILL' very loudly at the person printing the images because that will ensure that the whole glorious edge to edge image is printed to perfection with nothing cut off! The only slight down side of this behaviour, is that you will have a couple of white lines on the edges of the photographs, which will need to be removed, making the print size slightly smaller than a standard photo size ..... and the staff member might tell you off for shouting! If you don't shout 'FILL' the images will probably be printed as 'FIT' which means the photos will be printed on the standard ratio, which gives you a standard sized print (hoorah), but possible cropping (boo).

Choosing the right frame

If you want to keep life simple, choose a photo that has a bit of ‘room around’ the subject and then you can put it into any similar size frame, even if it has an internal mount. If the image you want to display goes right to the edge of the paper then be careful with what you choose frame wise, otherwise, you could end up with Aunty Nelly completely covered by the internal mount, which may not ne a bad thing.

by Alison Harrison on 16/04/2017

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