The Croppy Truth | Frankfort newborn, baby, and child photographer

The Croppy Truth!

You decide to order your favorite digital image in an 11 X 14. You anxiously await its arrival only to be disappointed as soon as you take it out of the package. Certain parts of the photo have been cropped out.  Here’s what happened…..

First, I have to get a little technical and talk about aspect ratio.  The aspect ratio of an image describes the proportional relationship between its width and its height.  Nikon and Cannon DSLR cameras have a default aspect ratio of 3:2.

Lets just look at it like this. Since I’m a Nikon girl, my camera assigns a length and a width to each image.  In this case, the length is 3 and the width is 2.  When you print a digital image, the image will be cropped if the size you are printing is not proportional to the ratio 3:2.  This means you are loosing part of the image if you choose to print sizes that are not proportional.

Now, take a deep breath because I’m about to get mathematical on you guys !;)

Do the Math!

Think back and remember ratios and proportions from 6th grade math. You should recall that ratios can be written as fractions.  For example the ratio 3:2 can also be written as 3/2.

Let’s take a look at two of the most common print sizes….

4×6 and 5×7

NOTE:  For this example, and to avoid further math lessons on this topic, it is important to set up your proportions with the larger number in the numerator (top #)  of each fraction.

Ex: 4×6      6 /4 = 3/2

If you multiply the diagonals, you can see whether or not these two fractions are proportional (6×2 =12 and 4×3=12). Since the cross products are equal to one another, the two fractions or ratios are proportional to one another.  This means if you print a 4×6 of the image it will not be cropped.

Ex:  5×7     7/5 = 3/2

If you multiply the diagonals 2×7=14 and 5×3=15, the cross products are not equal. Therefore, the two fractions or ratios are not proportional to one another.  This means that if you print a 5×7 of the image, parts of your photo will be cropped.

**4×6, 16×24, and 20×30 sized prints do not crop.  Please keep this in mind when you order your prints.

And there you have it, the croppy truth!!!!


  1. Once I printed about 100 prints of my son Luke’s baby pictures only to have his head cut off in them all! It was a point and shoot camera….remind me, what is the ratio on those cameras? Is it 3:5?

  2. Hey Suz! The ratio for most point and shoot cameras is 4:3. If you printed 4×6 sized prints and they were cropped tightly to begin with, it would make sense that his head would be cropped out. 🙁

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