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Old Feb 27, 2006, 10:36 PM   #1
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So, this may sound like a rather silly question but bear in mind I am really new at Digital photography and ordering prints online. I have just started ordering from some online photo sites and they are cropping my photos to fit the size format, I suppose. Is this common to have this cropping done? Is there a way to stop it by using a different camera setting (I have a Canon S2)?
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Old Feb 27, 2006, 11:55 PM   #2
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Well, not sure which online service you are using, but I know my wife has been using Shutterfly for quite some time now and she hasnt had a problem with them cropping her pictures.

I asked her and she uploads the photo's in the size she plans to have the prints on, so, thats most likely why they dont crop anything on her..

Maybe get in the habit, of only up-loading cropped down photos, since they most likely dont crop your photos quite as nice as you would?

Good luck!
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Old Feb 27, 2006, 11:58 PM   #3
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I use futureshop online service.. they print mine as I upload them.
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Old Feb 28, 2006, 12:03 AM   #4
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I use Sony Imagestation...I don't believe they crop my images either, but I think the size of the pictures are less than what's advertised because an 8.5 x 11 has a pretty big white border around it. So does the 4 x 6's
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Old Feb 28, 2006, 12:25 AM   #5
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It sounds like you are ordering 4x6 inch prints. The problem is that most digicams shoot at a 4:3 aspect ratio (the dimensional relationship of the length to the hight) and the popular 4x6 inch prints have a 3:2 aspect ratio.

The only ways to make a 4:3 AR shot to fit into a 3:2 AR print is to either distort the image (stretch it out a bit) or cut something off of the long side. You either have to try find a place that will print without cropping or crop them yourself as you want them to look in an image editor before you send them in.

A convenient solution if you print a lot of 4x6's would be if your camera has a 3:2 or a 4x6 setting available in the image size menu. Then you could shoot at the right dimensions in the first place and not worry about cropping.

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Old Feb 28, 2006, 8:28 AM   #6
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Grant hit it right on the head. The problem is the aspect ratio. Some online print services allow you to do minor editing and cropping on their site. The cropping is a nice feature if you want to print multiple sizes (i.e. 4x6, 8x10) - then you don't have to actually upload 2 different images but you still have some control (most on-line photo printers will default to a center crop which may or may not be what you want).

I use winkflash.com - 0.12 a print for 4x6, 1.99 for 8x10 - and 0.99 shipping - you can't beat the price and the quality is excellent.

I also agree with Grant that it might be worth looking at the manual to see if you can change the aspect ratio in-camera.

Finally, if you're editing each picture anyway and doing some post-processing cropping you can simply change your aspect ratio when you crop anyway so it's 3x2 ratio.
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Old Feb 28, 2006, 8:40 AM   #7
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There is no setting you can change in your Canon to help (it only produces files that have an aspect ratio of 4:3

Popular print sizes in the U.S. (4x6, 5x7, 8x10", etc.) all have different ratios of width to height.

You'll see this referred to as the aspect ratio.

This ratio is 4:3 for most non-DSLR models, and 3:2 for most DSLR models and 35mm film.

A camera producing images with an aspect ratio of 3:2 matches up perfectly for 4x6" prints. But, other sizes will require cropping (and a camera with an aspect ratio of 4:3 like your Canon has, will actually require less cropping for an 8x10" print, compared to a DSLR with an aspect ratio of 4:3.

Here is a chart that shows you how print size and aspect ratio are related:


Your Canon can only produce prints with an aspect ratio of 4:3

So, if you want 4x6" prints, you'll need to crop them to the correct aspect ratio for that print size. Otherwise, you'll have one of two problems, depending on the printer:

Uneven borders if they shrink the image to fit, or you'll have portions of the image cut off.

You could "stretch" your images to fit without cropping using some editors, but this would distort them.

So, I'd make sure to crop them to fit if you order 4x6" prints, since if you are framing too tightliy, you could have portions cut off that you need.

Some printers offer "Digital Size" prints with no cropping. Photoaccess.com (now Photoworks.com) used to offer this service. But, I just logged into my account there, and it looks like they only offer standard size prints now (but, they have a feature that lets you select the crop desired for prints via their online interrface).

A number of image editors can also crop prints to the desried size... Even the free Picasa has ths feature.

Here is a free program I've seen mentioned by others for cropping. I haven't tried it myself yet:


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Old Feb 28, 2006, 8:48 AM   #8
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vwmom wrote:
I use futureshop online service.. they print mine as I upload them.
Wrong, unless you've already cropped them using an editor befgore uploading them, or order their "letter box" prints, which will have more white space on the borders on two sides, compared to the other two sides (basically, they shrink the image to fit and you end up with larger, uneven borders).

Otherwise, they are cropping the images, removing portions so that they fit on the print size ordered.

If you compare the prints to the original images, you'll see how they cropped them.

They have a page explaining it here:


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Old Feb 28, 2006, 8:54 AM   #9
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The S2 doesn't list a 3:2 option. No big loss IMO as you are just cropping off pixels in the camera and if you want to make a larger print you have to crop more pixels from the image. The image doesn't fit the screen for a full screen view either.

There is an easy to use freeware for cropping to a preset size: http://ekot.dk/programmer/JPEGCrops/

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Old Mar 9, 2006, 12:53 PM   #10
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One local shop I use for prints has a system that spreads the image width to the edge and crops the top and bottom. To avoid this, photoshop canvas needs to be expanded out to include white space of the aspect dimensions of the print to preserve its borders without being cropped.
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