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Photography Question 
Steven Wayne

Help!! Printing the Whole Picture

How can I print the whole image that I captured without Photoshop croping some of it out when I print? I capture in Raw off a Canon 5D and am using Photoshop CS2, printing on a Epson 3800. I am enlarging photos to 16x20, and for some reason, I can't seem to figure out, it crops the photo. When I do them as a 4x6 with a border ... I get the whole thing, it seems crazy to me that you can't print the whole photo that you see??? I would love some help.

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1/27/2007 12:17:08 PM

John Rhodes
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/24/2005
Unfortunately, you will have to crop to print at the size you desire, 16 x 20. Your camera, as do most DSLRs, has a sensor with a 3:2 aspect ratio. The image size you want is 2.5:2 ratio. I try to print in image sizes that correspond to the aspect ratio of the camera; i.e. 8 x 12, 12 x 18, 16 x 24. You are able to get a full 4 x 6 print as that is also the aspect ratio that matches your camera. If you need to print an image that is not the same ratio as your camera's sensor, you must crop (as I said earlier). This means you'll have to leave room around the edges with no important detail. Hope this helps.


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1/27/2007 1:20:27 PM

Alan N. Marcus   Hi Steve,
As pointed out, what’s bothering you is called aspect ratio. Most modern cameras are designed with film or image sensor chip in the shape of a rectangle. You could still buy a square format film cameras, it makes an image 2¼x2¼ inches. Your camera was designed around a format taken from the 35mm film camera. This format has the dimensions of 24mm x 36mm. Note that the length is exactly 1.5 times the height. Your digital camera has the same aspect ratio, which has become the defacto standard. Stated another way, whatever the height, multiply this value by 1.5 to derive the length.
Now allow me to explain your problem:
Let’s start making a 4x6 print. Your software adjusts the image (magnification) so that the image printed will exactly fit the 4 inch height dimension. Now your camera produces an image that is longer than the height. In fact the image is 1.5 times loner. Thus: 4 x 1.5 = 6. That translates to a 4x6 exact fit no cropping.
Now let's make a 16x20:
Your software adjusts the image magnification to exactly match the 16 inch requirement. However, the long dimension must be 1.5 times this value or 16 x 1.5 = 24 inches. Sorry, the 24-inch length is too long, it won’t fit the 16 x 20 piece of paper. Now the software logic causes 4 inches to be lopped off. Happily or unhappily the software crops off 2 inches from each end. You see, you picked a size, 16x20 that is more "square" in size. Had you ordered your software to display all the image (no crop) it would be forced to cause the image to be distorted. You see this all the time when a wide-screen movie title is displayed on a standard width TV. The broadcast engineer distorts the image and the people are squashed as they appear too tall.
Now next time you should make a 13.3x20 or a 16x24. In other words, whatever height you choose, the length must be 1.5 times that number or you crop or distort which ever comes first.
Hope you enjoy photo math 101.
Your friend,
Alan Marcus

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1/28/2007 2:54:37 PM

James B. Hewin
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/4/2005
  If you can't bring yourself to crop your image you can always scale down the size of your image during the print process. I often find I would rather have the white space around the print than cropping out valuable parts of the original composition.
In Photoshop CS2, go to “File/Print with Preview” and choose “Scale to Fit Media”. If your image is landscape and your preview is portrait use Page Setup to switch it.
Using Print with Preview in Photoshop automatically adds white space either at the top or sides depending. I like to reduce the image size even a little more so there is white space both on the sides and the top. You can do this by noting the scale percent after checking “Scale to fit Media”, then uncheck it and put in a slightly smaller percentage. For example if when checked it reads 20%, then uncheck it and put in 18%. That will add white space all the way around on your print.
This method does not change your file or affect the actual size of your image like resizing does, it just rescales the size for the print.
James Hewin

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1/30/2007 11:52:31 AM

Ken Henry   As I understand the question is, Why does the printer crop the photo? I resolve that by changing the print size in the first window of the printer command. My epson 1800 also crops photos.
example: for a 4x6.
a. in PS click on the printer icon.
b. the first window will appear.
c. in the 'Scaled Print Size' box I change the width size of 4" to 3.86".
d. and the length will automatically change to 5.77".

Now the bottom of the photo the printer is still cropping a little more off. One photo I really needed that bottom edge. So I added approx 0.20 canvas to bottom side of the photo.
e. go to image, resize, then to Canvas Size.

For a 16x20 photo I would change the print to size at 15.75" and it will print to a full 16".

I did a test on 8.5x 11 and printed a full 4x6 photo. The printer oversized the photo to 4.125"x6.1875". Because the print command is for borderless prints.
With borderless off it prints true 4x6 size, on an 8.5x11 sheet. On a 4x6 paper the printer reduces the photo to 3.75x5.75, full photo no cropping.

So therefor it's going to take trial and error test runs to recalculate the
ACTUAL print sizes.

When I print on 11" paper I'll set my 'scaled print size' to 10.75".

So if I really need to have the actual full photo size ie. 4x6 I would use 5x7 paper with 'borderless' off and trim it.

So therefor,
1.Borderless prints oversize.
2.Borderless off print undersize full photo on the same size paper with a boarder.
3.Borderless off using larger paper prints actual true size full photo image.

For 16" photo borderless I would try 15.8". It will take a few trial runs to figure out what size will get you full photo.


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1/30/2007 12:13:56 PM

Bunny Snow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
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  I also have this problem and it was explained to me that the 8x10, 11x14, 16x20 etc. ratios were meant for 2 1/4 square formats of my medium format camera, or for art work (as in the case of frames), and not for 35 mm SLRs with or without digital.

It's very frustrating because I've been composing pretty much the same way for 20 years prior to purchasing my first 35 mm camera. I have no problem getting the medium format film images to fit frames, but have major problems getting 35 mm images to fit.

Does anyone know of a viewfinder format that could be adapted to a 35 mm SLR camera? My predominant camera is now a Canon EOS 20D. Seems that I recall that decades ago before they were forced into bankruptcy by the Superfund section of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act that Meisel Photochrome Corporation gave customers predrawn formats for the various sizes of frames. Can something like these be adapted to using the 35 mm format so I can retrain my brain?

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1/30/2007 1:58:06 PM

Alan N. Marcus   Hi Bunny,

During the period before enlargers, prints made were by contact i.e. they were the same size as the negative. Early photographers used glass plates, not film. The 8x10 format came from a common window glass size used by cabinet makers. View cameras were made that accepted the 8x10 glass plate which was replaced by 8x10 sheet film. As films improved and enlargers came on board, the 8x10 sheet films were cut into four 4x5 pieces. The 16x20 was a natural evolution as to print size as it has the same proportions as the 4x5 or 8x10 both are 1:1.25. Another common glass plate size was the 5x7 with a ratio of 1:1.4. This glass plate was replaced by sheet film of the same size. The 11x17 was merely a 2x enlargement from this negative. It was common to use a split film back and holder. This allowed the photographer to shoot two frames on a single 5x7 film. The negatives were 2½x3½.

Now Meisel’s was one of my customers. My company was making the world’s greatest color enlarging meters and Meisel’s used them at every station. I recall that they gave away clear plastic sheets with all of various film formats drawn upon them in Black. Kodak also gave away such sets that were supplied to their photofinishing dealers. These sheets sat on the counter-top on an illuminated frosted glass. Customers placed negatives into clear sleeves and laid them out on the overlay. Using black crayon pencils, customers marked-up their negatives for cropping.

You can still get these, I checked half a dozen pro labs on the web and they continue supplying. Also there was a neat device made using two triangles that sliped and slides making view mask that held the proportion correct for all the different size prints. This was placed over the negative or slide on the illuminated glass. I think all this is still available.

In recent times, using an inkjet loaded with transparence sheets, and a drawing program I have made overlays with high accuracy, you can too.

Luck to you,

Alan Marcus

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1/30/2007 3:34:44 PM

Bunny Snow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
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Bunny's Gallery
  Thanks, Alan.

I don't date back as far as using glass plates --I'm not that old. But, those plastic overlays were very useful to me both for composing images on my 2 1/4 square negatives, as well as selling prints to the customers.

I don't have a clue on how the design them, as I'm not mathematically inclined. But, if they would help me solve the cropping/composing problem that I have with 35mm/SLR's, I'd love to learn more about which labs use them so that I can obtain/purchase a sheet. However, I am no longer professional and being an amateur, most labs won't even talk with me.

Can you help?

Thanks again for your reply.


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2/1/2007 3:00:47 PM

Alan N. Marcus   I did a quick search for Overlays:
Check this source.

Seems they still sell acetate overlays. Also, I noted in my search that school finishers were still using cardboard insert, these are sleeves with a rectangular cut-out. Negative is inserted into the sleeve and the area in the cut-out is the correct dimensions for a print size thus the sleeve becomes a crop guide for the printer operator. Check the web for a local school finisher and maybe they will be kind and give you some.

I only told about the glass plates because I like to know the origins of sizes etc.. Most film sizes originated from cabinet makers window glass Most print sizes were attempts to cut a large piece of paper into convent smaller sizes with reduce waste.

Hope this helps.

Alan Marcus

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2/1/2007 4:26:12 PM

Nancy Donnell
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/23/2004
  Thank you guys so much for all of the information on ratios, and how to compensate! I really appreciate it.


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2/6/2007 9:48:58 AM

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