Resizing for Standard Print Sizes


Today’s Question: How do you resize and image to fit standard formats such as 8×10?

Tim’s Quick Answer: When you want to print a photo at a standard print size that doesn’t match the aspect ratio of your camera, you’ll need to crop the image in addition to resizing it for the intended output size.

More Detail: Many of the “standard” print sizes do not match the aspect ratio of most cameras. For example, the full-frame digital format (like the 35mm film predecessor) has a 3:2 aspect ratio. That means the image would be 3-inches wide for every 2-inches tall.

That 3:2 aspect ratio matches the ratio for a standard 4″x6″ print. However, an 8″x10″ print has a 2.5:2 aspect ratio. If this print size matched the aspect ratio of a full-frame image sensor it would be 8″x12″. The 11″x17″ standard print size is a little closer, with an aspect ratio of about 3.09:2, which would translate to a print size of 11″x16.5″ if the aspect ratio matched a full-frame sensor.

When printing a photo at a size that does not match the aspect ratio of the source image, you’ll need to crop the image to make it fit the intended output size.

In Photoshop, for example, you can use the Crop tool and set the print size as the values for the width and height values on the Options bar. After cropping to that aspect ratio, you could use the Image > Image Size command to resize the image to the specific output size with the intended print resolution.

In Lightroom Classic the process is even easier, since you can simply define the specific aspect ratio for the cell that will contain the image in the print layout. The image placed in that cell can then be moved within the cell to define which specific portion of the image will be printed. So, while you could also crop to a specific aspect ratio in the Develop module in Lightroom Classic, you can also skip that step and allow the image to be cropped as part of the process of creating the print layout in the Print module.

I cover the Print module in detail in Chapter 4, Lesson 2, of my “Lightroom Lectures” course, which is included in the “Mastering Lightroom Classic” bundle that is available here on my GreyLearning website: