Mandatory Cropping

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Today’s Question: When I print a borderless photo using Lightroom Classic CC, the long side of the photo is cropped. I can move the photo from side to side (in the portrait orientation) to select where I want to crop but I don’t want it cropped at all. How do I prevent this from happening?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Put simply, when you are making a borderless print you will always need to crop the image unless you are printing to a paper size that matches the aspect ratio of the photo.

More Detail: Most digital cameras have a sensor with an aspect ratio of 3:2 or 4:3. However, most common paper sizes for creating photo prints do not match this aspect ratio. Many photo printers that support borderless printing are able to print borderless only at specific sizes. A commonly supported borderless print size is 8.5″x11″, or “US Letter” size.

However, for a digital SLR capture with a 3:2 aspect ratio, an image enlarged to 8.5 inches on the short side would be 12.75 inches on the long side. Therefore, the image would need to be cropped to remove 1.75 inches from the longer side in order to fit the borderless print size.

The only option other than cropping in this type of scenario would be to reduce the image size to fit within the confines of the paper size being used for printing. However, that would result in white space on two sides of the print, creating a “letterbox” type of effect. In other words, the image would no longer be a truly borderless print that fills the page.

So, if you want to make a borderless print, you’re really going to need to crop the image to match the aspect ratio of the paper you’re printing to. This can be done when processing the image, or when sending the photo to the printer. But you can’t create a borderless print with an image that has a different aspect ratio than the paper you’re printing to.

Keep in mind that printers capable of borderless output can only print borderless for certain output sizes. For example, the printer I generally use to print photos supports borderless printing for only 8.5″x11″, 11″x17″, and 13″x19″ paper sizes.