Cropping to Correct Proportions for Printing
Photo Cropping Chart
If you want to crop your photo to the correct proportions for a borderless print, while preserving the maximum number of pixels from the original image, use the cropping specifications below with your graphics software.  In that way, YOU get to decide exactly how the image will be cropped to fit the print.

For those who worry about such things, the Pixels Per Inch is shown in the third column.  Obviously, the greater the PPI, the better the image quality. It's generally not recommended to print at less than 96 PPI, but it's your choice.

Lengthwise CropCrosswise Crop

The chart below shows the LARGEST image you can get that is properly proportioned for various print sizes with a lengthwise crop or crosswise crop.  If you want to crop a smaller area, it should be proportional to the crop dimensions shown, and the PPI will be reduced accordingly.


Original image: 480 x 640 pixels

Lengthwise Crop
Crosswise Crop
To print this size
(inches)
Crop original to this size
(pixels)
PPI Crop original to this size
(pixels)
PPI
3.5 x 5  448 x 640  128 480 x 336 96
4 x 6  424 x 636  106 480 x 320 80
5 x 7  455 x 637  91 476 x 340 68
8 x 10 480 x 600  60 480 x 384 48
8.5 x 11 476 x 616  56 473 x 365 43
11 x 14  473 x 602  43 476 x 374 34
16 x 20  480 x 600  30 480 x 384 24

 
Original image: 768 x 1024 pixels

Lengthwise Crop
Crosswise Crop
To print this size
(inches)
Crop original to this size
(pixels)
PPI Crop original to this size
(pixels)
PPI
3.5 x 5 714 x 1020 204 765 x 535 153
4 x 6 680 x 1020 170 768 x 512 128
5 x 7 730 x  1022 146 763 x 545 109
8 x 10 768 x 960 96 760 x 608 76
8.5 x 11 765 x 990 90 759 x 586 69
11 x 14 759 x  966 69 756 x 594 54
16 x 20 768 x 960 48 760 x 608 38

 
Original image: 912 x 1216  pixels

Lengthwise Crop
Crosswise Crop
To print this size
(inches)
Crop original to this size
(pixels)
PPI Crop original to this size
(pixels)
PPI
3.5 x 5 850 x 1215 243 910 x 637 182
4 x 6 808 x 1212 202 912 x 608 152
5 x 7 865 x  1211 173 910 x 650 130
8 x 10 912 x 1140 114 910 x 728 91
8.5 x 11 909 x 1177 107 902 x 697 82
11 x 14 902 x  1148 82 910 x 715 65
16 x 20 912 x 1140 57 900 x 720 45

 
Original image: 960 x 1280 pixels

Lengthwise Crop
Crosswise Crop
To print this size
(inches)
Crop original to this size
(pixels)
PPI Crop original to this size
(pixels)
PPI
3.5 x 5 896 x 1280 256 960 x 672 192
4 x 6 852 x 1278 213 960 x 640 160
5 x 7 910 x 1274 182 959 x 685 137
8 x 10 960 x 1200 120 960 x 768 96
8.5 x 11 952 x 1232 112 957 x 739 87
11 x 14 957 x  1218 87 952 x 748 68
16 x 20 960 x 1200 60 960 x 768 48

 
Original image: 1104 x 1472  pixels

Lengthwise Crop
Crosswise Crop
To print this size
(inches)
Crop original to this size
(pixels)
PPI Crop original to this size
(pixels)
PPI
3.5 x 5 1029 x 1470 294 1100 x 770 220
4 x 6 980 x 1470 245 1104 x 736 184
5 x 7 1050 x 1470 210 1099 x 785 157
8 x 10 1104 x 1380 138 1100 x 880 110
8.5 x 11 1096 x 1419 129 1100 x 850 100
11 x 14 1100 x 1400 100 1092 x 858 78
16 x 20 1104 x 1380 69 1100 x 880 55

 
Original image: 1066 x 1600 pixels

Lengthwise Crop
Crosswise Crop
To print this size
(inches)
Crop original to this size
(pixels)
PPI Crop original to this size
(pixels)
PPI
3.5 x 5 1064 x 1520 304 1065 x 745 213
4 x 6 1064 x 1596 266 1062 x 708 177
5 x 7 1065 x 1491 213 1064 x 760 152
8 x 10 1064 x 1330 133 1060 x 848 106
8.5 x 11 1062 x 1375 125 1056 x 816 96
11 x 14 1056 x 1344 96 1064 x 836 76
16 x 20 1056 x 1320 66 1060 x 848 53

 
Original image: 1200 x 1600 pixels

Lengthwise Crop
Crosswise Crop
To print this size
(inches)
Crop original to this size
(pixels)
PPI Crop original to this size
(pixels)
PPI
3.5 x 5 1120 x 1600 320 1200 x 840 240
4 x 6 1064 x 1596 266 1200 x 800 200
5 x 7 1140 x 1596 228 1197 x 855 171
8 x 10 1200 x 1500 150 1200 x 960 120
8.5 x 11 1198 x 1551 141 1199 x 926 109
11 x 14 1199 x  1526 109 1190 x 935 85
16 x 20 1200 x 1500 75 1200 x 960 60

Why bother with custom cropping for prints?

     Most home printing software will leave a white border if your original file is not in the correct proportions for the
     print size you have selected.

     If you send a photo to an online printing service, and you don't crop the file to the correct proportions for the print
     size you have selected, then either you will get a print with white borders or you will get a borderless print that has
     been cropped arbitrarily. A few pixels here and there might not make much of a difference in a landscape or in a
     photo whose subject is at the centre.

     But if any part of your subject is near the borders of your image, you don't know what you will get if you leave
     automatic cropping to the photofinisher. For example, in the photo below, the clown's entire balloon hat is visible
     in MY crop (on the left), but it is lopped off in the centred crop (on the right), which is typical of what most
     photofinishers would do.

     (The original image was 480 x 640.  For the correct proportions for a 5 x 7 inch print, cropped size is 637 x 455. I
     reduced the images to half size for web display.)

     I provided the cropping chart above for those who prefer to have control of the cropping process instead of leaving it to
     the photofinisher. (You don't HAVE to do this if you don't mind letting the photofinisher crop automatically.)


How to do custom cropping in Ulead PhotoImpact 4.2:
[Most graphics software will allow you to do something similar.]

Step 1
Open the original photo file, let's say original.jpg.
CTRL-D to duplicate it. (Always work on a copy.)

Step 2
Check the dimensions of your original photo (Width and Height in pixels is displayed above the photo, or you can click View - Photo Properties). Decide what size print you want to make, let's say 5x7 inches, and select the cropping size from the chart on this webpage.

Step 3
Use the SELECTION TOOL, New, Rectangle. Checkmark Fixed Size and enter the desired Width and Height from the chart on this webpage.  Click on the image. If the selection is not where you want it, click on Options - Move Selection Marquee and drag the selection rectangle wherever you want it. Make sure the entire selection rectangle is visible.

Step 4
CTRL-R to crop the image.
File - Save As ... with a new name, let's say cropped-5x7.jpg
That's the file to use for printing.


How to do your own calculations for other print sizes to preserve maximum pixels from the original photo:

For this calculation, we will refer to the greater dimension as width.  For example, if the original image is 1200x1600, we will say [width of original in pixels] = 1600, regardless of the orientation of the image.  Similarly, we will call the greater dimension of the print [width of print in inches].

PPI = Integer part of ([width of original in pixels]/[(width of print in inches])
Crop Width = PPI x [width of print in inches]
Crop Height = PPI x [height of print in inches]

If this yields a Crop Height  greater than the [height of original in pixels] or Crop Width greater than the [width of original in pixels], then redo the calculation:

PPI = Integer part of ([height of original in pixels]/[(height of print in inches])
Crop Width = PPI x [width of print in inches]
Crop Height = PPI x [height of print in inches]

Example1:
Original 480 x 640 pixels. Print 3.5 x 5 inches:

640/5 = 128, PPI = 128
128 x 3.5 = 448
128 x 5 = 640
Crop to 448 x 640 pixels.

Example2:
Original 1200 x 1600 pixels. Print 8.5 x 11 inches:

1600/11 = 145.4545, PPI = 145
145 x 8.5 = 1232.5
145 x 11 =  1595
Crop to 1232 x 1595 pixels. <== NO GOOD. Height greater than 1200, so redo calculation of PPI for the other dimension.

1200/8.5 = 141.176, PPI = 141
141 x 8.5 = 1198.5
141 x 11 = 1551
Crop to 1198 x 1551 pixels

It is certainly possible to crop to smaller sizes, proportionally, but the smaller the cropped area, the more detail will be lost in the print.



2001/01/22
Linda Z.
mavica.mom@gmail.com
 
 
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