Captures by Lisa » Boston Newborn, Children and Family Photographer

Aspect Ratio – What it is and Why it is Important – Massachusetts Newborn Photographer

As professional photographers, many of us have a “vision” for our art and how we want a final image to appear. While this can create some beautiful pieces of work, it doesn’t always work as well for the client. Today many photographer sell the digital image. Many clients find this an amazing deal because they can share online with family and friends, they can print their picture anywhere they like, almost any size, as many times as they want. Even use it for the family holiday card, birth announcement or birthday invite. Again, this is all fabulous and can make the professional portrait experience a very flexible option for people today.

One thing can get in the way, however, is aspect ratio and the final crop of your digital image.

What is aspect ratio?

Aspect ratio, when pertaining to portraits, describes the width and height of the image in relation to each other. The crop of an image can be greatly affected by what aspect ratio you choose and does affect how much of the image is seen in the final crop. This is important because if cropped too closely, an image may not appear correctly or pleasing in the final printing or framing of the image. In most cases, I crop my final images with enough space around them to allow for various aspect ratios and sizes, without losing important details in the image.

Here are some examples of the same picture, cropped in different ratios, all centered the same on the image to make show the relationship of the final image and the ratio that is chosen.

4×6 RatioPinThis5×7 Ratio


8×10 Ratio


11×14 Ratio
PinThis16×20 Ratio


10×10 Ratio


So as you can see, the aspect ratio, or size, that you choose, can greatly determine how much is shown in the final image. For this reason, I try to leave enough extra space around my final image crops so that clients are able to choose different print sizes without compromising the final overall image or losing important details.

Also when printing images, be sure to note that if you are going to use a matte or frame, this may also take way some space around the edges, so be sure to leave enough room in your final prints to accommodate mattes, frames or canvas edges.  Or even to fit into card templates as template openings can differ greatly in their dimension.

I hope you have found this information useful. While not the most interesting topic of conversation, it is important to understand how this can affect your final portrait that you have spent time and money to have created.

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