Why Is Part Of My Photo Missing??
by Dawn Orr

amelia_136x
amelia_136x
Have you ever ordered a photo in an enlarged size, for example an 8x10, and when you received your photo back, it seemed like half of it was missing!? Although it's not quite HALF missing, a great deal of the photo is "cropped" away when ordering an 8x10 from a 4x6 print view. Let's look at an example. In the photo to the right you see a 4x6 image of my "sweet girl". Note that we can see much of both of her arms, all of the picture in the left background and part of the wall on the background right.

(You may click on the photos to see a larger version of the image. Click your Back button to come back to the article.)


amelia_8x10_to_4x6_136x
amelia_8x10_to_4x6_136x

Now let us look at that same photo (left) that has been cropped to an 8x10. Note that we have come in tighter on her face, eliminating much of her arms, all of the wall on the right and most of the picture hanging in the background on the left.


zach_017x
zach_017x

In the above example, coming in tighter on her face and eliminating "information" from the image that was distracting or not necessary was a good thing. But, let us look at another photo. This one is of my "cuddly boy". Don't you just want to squeeze those cheeks?? Oops, back to business...I get lost in this photo sometimes! :-) In this image, all information in the photo is importance and if it's cropped away, the photo may look incomplete and not as pleasing to your eye.


zach_4x6_to_8x10_017x
zach_4x6_to_8x10_017x

Here (left) is the same photo that has been cropped to an 8x10. We are missing some pretty important parts of the image that make it so endearing to the viewer. Things like the top of his head, part of his hands & feet and it looks like he's "scrunched" into the space. We could move the crop up to include the top of his head, but then we really loose the hands and feet, which I think are just as important to the photo as his face, and he's STILL "scrunched" into that confined space!



So why does this happen?? And what are our options?? What we are talking about is Aspect Ratio. Sue Chastain from About.com has this to say about it:
Definition: Aspect ratio is the relationship of an image's width to height, or its proportions. Digital cameras produce files with an aspect ratio of 4:3. But many common photo print sizes have a different aspect ratio. For example, a 4 by 6 print has an aspect ratio of 3:2; an 8 by 10 has an aspect ratio of 5:4.

So how does that help us? First, knowing this information ahead of time, saves us the SURPRISE when we receive our photos back! Second, we can order prints keeping the aspect ratio in mind. When you schedule a session with me, I proof my photos, (both online and when doing hard copies) in the size of 4x6 (ratio 1 to 1.5). Keeping that in mind, consider the following:

4x6, 8x12, 12x18, 16x24 and 20x30 will look just as your proof looks

Wallet and 5x7 (ratio 1 to 1.4) will be slightly cropped

4x5, 8x10, 11x14, 16x20, 20x24 (ratio 1 to 1.25) will be cropped more dramatically due to the ratio difference
The exceptions are the 11x14 (ratio 1 to 1.27) and 20x24 (ratio 1 to 1.2). Still a dramatic crop, but not exactly like the 1 to 1.25.

Be assured that I take care with ALL of your images during the photo shoot (framing), in the post-processing (preparing for the lab) and examining them after they have arrived back from the professional lab that I use.

I hope this helps!!

Dawn.