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Aspect Ratio Choices - Fixed? Free?

Discussion in 'Post-Production' started by jai, Jul 22, 2015.

  1. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    589
    Feb 4, 2013
    I go a bit mad cropping and re-cropping trying to decide how best I like a photo. For this reason, I tend to prefer working with fixed ratios, because it makes cropping decisions easier.

    As far as ratios go, I think 3:2 might be a sort of a jack of all trades, master of none.

    Lately I have been cropping a lot of my photos to 5:7 which I think can seem natural and feel right:

    19769992460_475b45b105_b.

    Plus you can get 5x7 photo paper.

    The 16:9 ratio is good for wide photos on the basis it fills most screens these days. But I find it feels a bit to wide a lot of the time, and really like photos at 16:10 which is pretty much the golden ratio.

    Does anybody else think this much about ratios? Or do you just crop freely and without numerical anxiety?
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2015
  2. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    I tend to stick with one of the standard ratios when I crop. I haven't tried 5x7, I might need to look into that...
     
  3. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Unless I want to print to a specific size, I tend to let the content of the image dictate how I crop. After all, if it's just going up on Flickr, there's no need to stick to any traditional ratios.
     
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  4. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    One of the things I do probably once a year is go through my photos and order probably a couple dozen 'prints' from shortrunposters.com They're super cheap for tolerable to decent quality and its simply a lot of fun to have them in hand. That's a big reason why I stick to the traditional sizes. I get the 18x24 and then cut them to the their respective aspect ratio.
     
  5. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    589
    Feb 4, 2013
    I didn't make prints of my images until very recently, and it has forced me to think about these kind of details a lot more.

    Printing really changes the way I post process in a lot of ways, especially in black and white.
     
  6. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    3:2 seems good to me and an improvement over 4:3. But I like the look of 5x7 in the example given. Certain subjects benefit.
    I've been looking at 16:9 and 16:10 more lately as I don't see myself printing and my future choice of display will be on screens.
    And they are dominantly 16:9. Also, I enjoy landscapes and cityscapes, which I think is suited for 16:9.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    589
    Feb 4, 2013
    Ok excuse the 5x7 evangelism, but I think I have worked out what it is good for.

    Try cropping to 5x7 you have a subject that is tall, or takes up a large portion of the height of the frame. I think it empahsises a sense of power and presence of the subject.

    More examples:

    19908446226_dbdb151d14_b.

    19939336491_5d7524624e_b.

    19311292963_17e593e4a1_b.

    In all of these examples, and the golden gate shot above, the original (3:2) crop did not make the subject look as powerful. And a 4:3 crop looked too cramped to me, it lost too much context.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015
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  8. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    Really like the 1st one of the trees.
     
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  9. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    Interesting.....have never given that a second thought...any cropping I've done has always been just to remove a distracting element and/or achieve whatever result gives me the most eye appeal
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015
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  10. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    589
    Feb 4, 2013
    Which is cool. It's just for me, the shape of the frame can have such an impact on the photo, so if I wasn't restricting myself in some way I would keep fussing and never be happy with the crop.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015
  11. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    A while back I limited my iPhone photography to only 1:1 images. It was a useful exercise, because it forced me to consider composition with every shot I took. Whether or not that carried over to my "real" photography... :rolleyes:
     
  12. dmward

    dmward TalkEmount Veteran

    200
    Mar 21, 2015
    Metro Chicago
    David
    In my view, there are three approaches to image aspect ratio;
    1) Camera sensor/film aspect ratio. When shooting film I often used the view finder to get my composition with the intent of printing to that aspect ratio. I like the look of a square B&W printed on standard sized papers. i.e. 6x6 on 8x10 paper with 1 inch boarders on top and sides.

    2) Paper aspect ratio. This is most often driven by client or wall art considerations. i.e. a 24x36 acrylic print to hang on an office wall. If I'm cropping to a specific aspect ratio I use the composition aids in Lightroom when cropping to the aspect ratio. The objective is to get the most dynamic composition for the aspect ratio for the image.

    3) Cropping the image to an aspect ratio that fits the composition. What ever the final aspect ratio it can be printed onto standard paper by positioning it on the page so the paper creates a matte around the image. When I do this, I use a 1 or 2 pixel black boarder to ensure that the image edge is defined relative to the paper.

    As mentioned, on websites etc. the aspect ration of the image can be what is best for the image. The screen or website takes care of placing the image relative to the actual screen.

    In my view the image of the Washington monument would be stronger cropped to a square.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2015
  13. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    NYC
    I few weeks ago I was playing with the apsc-nex lenses on A7R and found that they are very usable close to 5/7 - square format. Too bad that Sony doesn't give us that option. Of course they want to sell more lenses to us...

    Printing is also different. Maybe 43 format has more matches unless you print panos... Also the custom frames are more expensive then the standard available ones...
     
  14. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    589
    Feb 4, 2013
    I'm not super proud of that photo, the sky looked really nice at the time but there isn't much going on otherwise. But I agree square does work because of the symmetry.

    I personally don't like square photos though, they look too much like instagram to me...
     
  15. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    It's funny that you should say that. To me, square photos harken back to the old Kodak Brownie on which I cut my photographic teeth back in the paleolithic age. :rolleyes-20:
     
  16. dmward

    dmward TalkEmount Veteran

    200
    Mar 21, 2015
    Metro Chicago
    David
    I like square because I enjoyed going out with a Hasselblad for walks on weekends. It was also a favorite for executive portraits.

    As for frames; I buy stand frames an the print the unusual aspect ratio on paper that fits the frame.

    I also do that with prints for customers so they have the option of a standard frame or a custom matte in a standard frame or a custom frame.

    Since I don't care about social media pictures, either posting or looking, a bias related to their format isn't something which I've even considered.