When you print a photo, it goes from digital to physical. Whether it’s for your wall or a gift, photo prints add personality and happiness.
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The aspect ratio is the ratio of the image’s width to its height. It’s expressed by two numbers with a colon or “x” between them. For example, a 4 by 3 ratio would be expressed as 4:3 or 4×3.
Although there are many options regarding the aspect ratio or print size, the following are the most common and popular choices:
When you’re out shooting, keep in mind that your photos may be cropped depending on the aspect ratio for printing. Therefore, it’s important to allow space for cropping.
If you’re using international print sizes (ISO), it’ll start with an “A” (for series A).
The largest size is A0, which is one square meter. Each number after that is half of the size of the previous one. The following are the sizes in inches:
- A0: 33 in x 46.81 in
- A1: 23.39 in x 33 in
- A2: 16.54 in x 23.36 in
- A3: 11.69 in x 16.54 in
- A4: 8.27 in x 11.69 in
- A5: 5.83 in x 8.27 in
- A6: 4.13 in x 5.83 in
- A7: 2.91 in x 4.13 in
Related article: How to resize an image in Photoshop
When you export an image for printing, you must understand the outcome beforehand. Figure out what size the image will print at because it’ll determine how you export it.
For example, if you’re printing a 4 inches by 4 inches image at 300 PPI, it’ll be 1,200 pixels x 1,200 pixels. Each inch will have 300 pixels. Therefore, you’d multiply 300 by 4.
PPI vs. DPI
It’s common to use PPI and DPI interchangeably. However, they’re different because DPI has to do with a printer setting.
PPI stands for pixels per inch, while DPI stands for dots per inch. PPI describes the resolution of a digital image in pixels, while DPI describes the number of ink dots on a printed photo.
When it comes to printing a photo, the minimum PPI is 300. The more pixels per inch, the finer the details will be in the printed image. 300 DPI is also the standard printer setting for images.
Frequently asked questions
72 PPI is great for online images, as it’s considered screen resolution. However, it’s not good enough for photo prints because it won’t be as detailed.
Small pictures are known as wallet-sized prints, which are usually a couple of inches in size. Most wallet-size prints have an aspect ratio of 4×6, 1×1, or 5×7.
There are plenty of options when it comes to photo printing services. The following are the best online and physical places to print your photos: Shutterfly, Walmart Photo, Walgreens Photo, Amazon Print, Snapfish, Nations Photo Lab, CVS Photo, Printique by Adorama, or Mpix.
Printing a photo is a great way to print a memory or moment. Understanding how printing works, and the sizes will help you with exporting and cropping the images.
Featured image courtesy of Pexels.
About David Em
David Em is the founder of Portraits Refined. He’s a published portrait photographer dedicated to helping photographers develop skills, capture incredible photos, and build successful businesses.