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Photography Question 
Ken Im
 

Printing Digital Pictures


I took some pictures with my Sony DSC-V1 camera, with the setting set to 4.5 megapixels. This produces pictures that are 3:2 in ratio, width and height. The pictures are 2592 x 1728 pixels (3:2), 72 dpi. This was exactly the size (ratio) I wanted, because printing them on 6x4 prints would print out the pictures without any cropping -- at least this is what I understood to be.
When I took the pictures to Costco to have them developed on 6x4 inch prints, I noticed all my pictures were cropped around the borders. I ask the person working at Costco, why the images were cropped. I explained my pictures were 2592 pixels x 1728 pixels, so they should have printed on 6 inch x 4 inch paper without any cropping, since the ratios were the same. The person working at Costco explained that the computer needed to adjust the picture because it was too big to be printed on 6x4 inch prints.
This does not make sense too me. Can someone explain this? Why was my 3:2 ratio pictures cropped when printed on 6x4 (3:2) prints? Is the computer Costco uses to develop pictures misconfigured?

Thanks,


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12/30/2003 7:58:54 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  borderless prints or bordered? putting a 1/4 inch border on a print changes the ratio to whatever 5.5:3.5 is. Or I could be totally off on the theory.


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12/31/2003 12:40:02 AM

 
doug Nelson   The industry is going through some growing pains here. I don't see any reason your images should not have printed out right, since the aspect ratio was correct. Would it have made a difference if you had gone into Photoshop/Elements/whatever imaging software and done the Image Size drill and actually sized them to 4 x 6's? Maybe. For me, Fuji's Frontier kiosk machine works better than Kodak's in several respects. Try a store that has the Fuji and see if that helps.


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12/31/2003 6:13:35 AM

 
Thea Menagh
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2001
  Hi, Ken. I know exactly how frustrating that little bit of cropping is when you've designed your layout 'perfectly'! I use a Canon SLR 10D and the ratio works out the same as yours for the 4" x 6" print. Same thing happened! I use the Kodak machine at our Futureshop around the corner! Now I convert my 4" x 6" and 5" x 7" photos to 300 dpi and the exact dimensions in Photoshop. I also do the colour adjustments, etc. (which took awhile to get used to how the photos should look re contrast & brightness on my monitor to print the way I wanted them). AND, each time I bring my CD with images in (which I do several times/week), I have to tell them "No cropping; no colour adjustment; just print!". Now I get exactly what I want, and my clients are thrilled! If you don't use another printer (I use a different printer for my clients' business cards, postcards & brochures), you can calibrate your monitor so you'll see exactly what Costco prints ... but remember ... there are likely 500 different people operating the machines, and each one does something just a little bit different. Getting your prints exactly right may be impossible ... especially if you're as finicky as I am! Happy New Year and best wishes with your shoots!


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1/5/2004 8:28:14 AM

 
Ken Im   Great response, Thea. Thanks. I actually told the machine operator not to crop anything, but the operator told me that everything was programmed into the computer and that there was no human intervention in the development process. Is this not true? I've never seen what they do behind the glass window, in front of the machine. Do they have control over things like cropping, exposure adjustments, and color adjustments? I figured it was some average Joe working the machine, simply feeding the machine pictures to develop, while the pre-programmed computer did everything.

Ken


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1/5/2004 10:12:48 AM

 
David DeWitt   I have been taking media cards for printing to Sam's Club's over the last year, and have experienced all of your same frustrations. I have been impressed by the print quality, especially for only 20c per 4x6. But, the amount of "negative" that is lost in the cropping is just unacceptable. When I asked, the photo lab person suggested using the touch screen editing to reduce cropping, but that did little to no good. When I complained about how much of the frame was still being cropped she said that they had no control and the the printer was pre-set. I asked if there was a manager or photo tech that I could talk to, all she would share was that it was a Fuji system, and that they have a tech number that they call when they need help. She said she couldn't share that number, however. It sounded like they have a support contract with Fuji or the company that sells them the systems. I'm so curious about the manufacturing details because that's likely where we would get any good technical answers to our over-cropping problems. I'm optimistic that there is an adjustment or tweak that can be made by someone who understands the printer well enough? It certainly doesn't seem like the photo lab people at these places are all that familiar with the inner workings of their print systems? I wonder if anyone has any knowledge or contacts with Fuji or Kodak or whoever, that might shed any light on a fix or a work-around to our problem?

I have discovered that I can manually reduced EVERY picture and add a croppable border. Then when it is printed, I get the entire frame. But, it just seems like there MUST be an easier way to print lossless pictures. It would be nice to see your pictures the way you took them in the first place!


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1/5/2004 10:19:29 AM

 
Thea Menagh
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2001
  Hi, again! They're pulling your leg! First of all, I've been let behind the glass in the photo lab area of our Futureshop. These people are very eager to please and have spent a great deal of time with me (Yonge & Eglinton). They use the Kodak system ... and there's LOTS of human intervention (at least with this system). People who know nothing about digital imaging bring in their cameras and have the memory card taken out there and transferred to the equipment. They do all colour adjustment and cropping, unless asked not to! I firmly believe the cropping is a 'paper-saving-thing'. When I first brought my CD's in and found my photos cropped, I was told the machine was set to do that automatically. When I insisted and persevered, I found that if you ask that your photo NOT be cropped, they can adjust things. Adjusting the equipment for one order is time-consuming and not something they prefer to do. You might also want to measure your photo dimensions to make sure you're actually getting the 4" x 6" or 5" x 7". Sometimes they're out by about 1/8", and that's not a good thing either, depending on the frame! If nothing else works, I'd suggest what David (above) suggested ... very good idea! I'd go one step further, and create a new file with black background (for dark photos) or white (for light ones) 4.125" x 6.125". Then drag the 4" x 6" photo onto it (Photoshop). Borderless prints of any kind are difficult. It takes a great deal of practice and co-operation! How about blurring the edge of your photo? Just an idea! For samples, see my website at www.AFittingImage.com Hope that helps!


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1/5/2004 10:35:27 AM

 
Ken Im   Wow. Great responses. Surprised that other people have experienced and actually noticed the frustrating cropping problem. I actually took my photos to Japan Camera Centre and Blacks. The pictures were cropped at both places, even though at both places they assured me that cropping shouldn't occur.

I thought about making my pictures a bit smaller and adding a border, to be cropped by the machine, but that would take too much time. I have over 350 pictures to print.

I'll take Thea's advice, and persuade the person at Costco, to develop my pictures without any adjustments... no cropping, no exposure adjustment, no colour adjustment, no anything!

Ken


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1/5/2004 4:20:53 PM

 
Thea Menagh
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2001
  Hi, again, Ken. Just one more time before I shut down for the evening! I'm usually up at about 5am, so am starting to sag a little!! Whatever you do ... try with 2-5 photographs first. Can't hurt to see what they do with it, especially if you promise bringing in a huge order! And it never hurts to speak to the person in charge. Exchange business cards. Tell him you're usually pleased with the service, but have this one problem you'd like to resolve before bringing in the bulk of your order. Good luck, and nighty-night! Thea


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1/5/2004 4:27:03 PM

 
Ken Im   Good suggestion. Some very good feedback, especially from Thea and David.

Thanks guys,

Ken


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1/5/2004 6:32:54 PM

 
Derek Holyhead   Hi All,
I have just purchaseda EOS Digital Rebel and I have to say that the quality is much better than I expected as a avid 35mm user I found this q&a a real help in my search for the perfect print size. I am shooting at the large setting and this gives me a 3072 x 2048 image in Photoshop and if I resize it using the inches not pixels it equals 6x4 but I can't get it to resize to 10x8 which is the size I have always used for my 35mm prints (actually comes out to 10x6.667)and after reading Thea's comments I tried 7x5 and this came out as 7x4.667 this is of course maintaining the aspect ratio so the pictures don't become squashed. So Thea can you please tell me what I am doing wrong, what resolution to you shoot at and how do you size 10x8 and 7x5? Any help would be appreciated.
Regards,
Del


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1/11/2004 3:15:22 PM

 
Thea Menagh
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2001
 
 
 
Hi, Del ... Congratulations! Digital's definitely come a long way! Personally, I NEVER shoot at anything less than the largest setting. Twice, a client asked me to do a photo shoot STRICTLY for images for a website! Both times, I was asked to provide copies of the photos for print ads. That was a LONG time ago. Never make that mistake again!! Sorry about having mislead you earlier (I think!). The only dimensions you can skip down to with absolute correct ratio is 4" x 6". For the 5" x 7", I resize the shortest side to 5". The long side is then 7.5" - which I crop (via IMAGE, CANVAS SIZE in Photoshop). Just anchor your image where you want the cropping to occur. Similarly, for the 8" x 10". I resize the shortest size to 8". That means the longer side is 12", necessitating a 2" crop ... which isn't peanuts. Whereas years ago I'd frame my photo before shooting, I now allow extra space and spend a little more time 'designing' the photo. Remember, digital cameras aren't the only thing changed over the years. Frames can be purchased in many 'standard' sizes, many with matts already included. And clients will appreciate something a little different. In my own case, I've found that square photos are all the rage! Go figure!! Hope this is some help, and that I'm not running you around in circles. Nighty-night, Thea


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1/11/2004 3:53:16 PM

 
Derek Holyhead   Hi Thea,
Thanks, I think I am begining to get the idea. Square prints seem a good idea (after all I've been told many times before that I should shoot 2 and a quarter square to be a serious photographer!) Can I ask you if you ever shoot in the RAW mode? Just wondered that's all. Thanks again for the advice.
Regards,
Del.
PS I looked at your web site, excellent work I must say and very inspiring.


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1/12/2004 7:38:01 AM

 
Thea Menagh
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2001
 
 
 
Hi, again, Del ... Please don't get me wrong! Square is good, but I do a great many 8" x 10", 8" x 12" and 'poster-size' 18" x 24" for my clients! Just don't chuck a photograph which is off-centre or something because it doesn't fit into the 'should be' size. Actually, lately I've done a great many 4" x 6" for clients. They have them matted HUGELY, and on a huge wall, several of these can be very interesting when they contain little children's faces or such! Remember - size does not a serious photographer make!!! Now ... RAW ... YES!! The main reason for shooting in RAW mode is that it retains EVERYTHING (lossless compression)! The files will be larger, but if the possibility exists that the client will want a very large print, it's the only way to go. RAW saves the image as is when captured by the camera, and is geared for image processing with a personal computer. If you're heavily into digital imaging, use RAW. Only drawback ... dedicated software for processing. I'm not a technical person, and work basically from my heart and gut! Even when using RAW, until I'm a whole lot more comfortable with the various settings on this camera, I'm setting it at 'automatic' so I don't have to worry about shooting a wedding and getting the whole thing under or over-exposed! I find that being VERY comfortable with Photoshop and knowing all the wonderful things I can do there, makes the use of the camera a whole lot easier! Enjoy, Thea


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1/12/2004 7:56:16 AM

 
Michelle    ..... and I thought I was the only one! Here in the UK I too have been using Costco for the printing of my digital images. All my images are cropped to a ratio of 6:4, but Costco goes one better and sneaks another bit of the edges.

I had a word with staff and they assured me that the machine was pre-set to take care of the 'majority' of digital images which would not be in this ratio. (Did I look like someone who cared?) I suggested that maybe it would be nice to set the machine for the more serious photographer rather than for the 'plinker', no can do they said. However, being ever helpful as Costco staff always are one of the guys offered to print the images at '98%'. What this means is that most of the edge is left alone, but I do end up with a slight white border on two sides. Tonight I tried sitting my images on a white background that overlaps by 1mm on each side. Trouble is it is very time consuming. Please god, let some one set up a machine correctly without worrying about pleasing the masses, that probably don't notice anyway!!

..... and I thought searching the internet would give me the answer. hmmm.


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10/10/2004 3:31:07 PM

 
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