Aspect Ratio Essay

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by timeOday, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. timeOday

    timeOday Guest

    John Navas wrote:
    > On Fri, 11 Jan 2008 03:10:29 +0100 (CET), Mardon <>
    > wrote in <Xns9A21E6A7AFE19mgb72mgbhotmailcom@194.177.96.78>:
    >
    >> People are frequently asking me to make them prints that don't match aspect
    >> ratio of the image that they are using to make their request. . For
    >> example, they will see a 2:3 aspect ration image on my website and ask for
    >> an 8x10 or 11x14 enlargement. When I tell them that a slight bit of the
    >> image will be lost, they give me a blank stare. The people asking for the
    >> prints are not photographers. They are lay people who want a print of a
    >> particular photo. I've even had a request for an 8x10 print of a 1:5
    >> panorama.
    >>
    >> In the past I've tried to explain the situation individually, each time it
    >> arises. I've finally decided to create a generic web page that I can ask
    >> people to read when this issue arises.
    >>
    >> I'd appreciate feedback on what I've written. My gut tells me that it's
    >> still too complicated for the average non-photographer but I can't seem to
    >> figure out how to simplify it further. Here's a link to the page as it now
    >> stands:
    >>
    >> http://www.JustPhotos.ca/misc/AspectRatio/
    >>
    >> Comments / suggestions sought.

    >
    > I show clients the alternative of full frame with borders and cropped
    > image with no borders, with no technical talk, and just let them pick
    > what they want.
    >


    When is somebody going to offer prints with the correct aspect ratio for
    each image, instead of pre-defined sizes? It's not rocket science. The
    paper is probably manufactured as a big roll before it's cut anyways.
     
    timeOday, Jan 10, 2008
    #1
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  2. timeOday

    Mardon Guest

    People are frequently asking me to make them prints that don't match aspect
    ratio of the image that they are using to make their request. . For
    example, they will see a 2:3 aspect ration image on my website and ask for
    an 8x10 or 11x14 enlargement. When I tell them that a slight bit of the
    image will be lost, they give me a blank stare. The people asking for the
    prints are not photographers. They are lay people who want a print of a
    particular photo. I've even had a request for an 8x10 print of a 1:5
    panorama.

    In the past I've tried to explain the situation individually, each time it
    arises. I've finally decided to create a generic web page that I can ask
    people to read when this issue arises.

    I'd appreciate feedback on what I've written. My gut tells me that it's
    still too complicated for the average non-photographer but I can't seem to
    figure out how to simplify it further. Here's a link to the page as it now
    stands:

    http://www.JustPhotos.ca/misc/AspectRatio/

    Comments / suggestions sought.
     
    Mardon, Jan 11, 2008
    #2
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  3. timeOday

    John Navas Guest

    On Fri, 11 Jan 2008 03:10:29 +0100 (CET), Mardon <>
    wrote in <Xns9A21E6A7AFE19mgb72mgbhotmailcom@194.177.96.78>:

    >People are frequently asking me to make them prints that don't match aspect
    >ratio of the image that they are using to make their request. . For
    >example, they will see a 2:3 aspect ration image on my website and ask for
    >an 8x10 or 11x14 enlargement. When I tell them that a slight bit of the
    >image will be lost, they give me a blank stare. The people asking for the
    >prints are not photographers. They are lay people who want a print of a
    >particular photo. I've even had a request for an 8x10 print of a 1:5
    >panorama.
    >
    >In the past I've tried to explain the situation individually, each time it
    >arises. I've finally decided to create a generic web page that I can ask
    >people to read when this issue arises.
    >
    >I'd appreciate feedback on what I've written. My gut tells me that it's
    >still too complicated for the average non-photographer but I can't seem to
    >figure out how to simplify it further. Here's a link to the page as it now
    >stands:
    >
    >http://www.JustPhotos.ca/misc/AspectRatio/
    >
    >Comments / suggestions sought.


    I show clients the alternative of full frame with borders and cropped
    image with no borders, with no technical talk, and just let them pick
    what they want.

    --
    Best regards,
    John Navas
    Panasonic DMC-FZ8 (and several others)
     
    John Navas, Jan 11, 2008
    #3
  4. timeOday

    John Navas Guest

    On Thu, 10 Jan 2008 12:44:36 -0700, timeOday
    <> wrote in
    <>:

    >John Navas wrote:


    >> I show clients the alternative of full frame with borders and cropped
    >> image with no borders, with no technical talk, and just let them pick
    >> what they want.

    >
    >When is somebody going to offer prints with the correct aspect ratio for
    >each image, instead of pre-defined sizes? It's not rocket science. The
    >paper is probably manufactured as a big roll before it's cut anyways.


    I show whatever available aspect ratio is closest to the original image.
    The customer is of course always free to crop off borders, which is
    effectively what you're suggesting, but that gives a smaller image at a
    given size than cropped with no borders, and there's often the issue of
    standard frame sizes as well.

    --
    Best regards,
    John Navas
    Panasonic DMC-FZ8 (and several others)
     
    John Navas, Jan 11, 2008
    #4
  5. Mardon <> wrote:
    >People are frequently asking me to make them prints that don't match aspect
    >ratio of the image that they are using to make their request. . [...]
    >arises. I've finally decided to create a generic web page that I can ask
    >people to read when this issue arises.
    >http://www.JustPhotos.ca/misc/AspectRatio/


    I think the text is way too long because you are very thourough and are
    trying to explain the details. Yes, they may be important, but if you can't
    deliver the key message in the first two paragraphs, then your readers will
    loose interest.

    What about arranging the explanation around "You can't fit a round plug in a
    square hole" - and you can't fit a 8:10 picture (more squarish rectangle) on
    a 3:4 paper (elongated rectangle) either.

    As for the sample pictures: at first glance it is not obvious where the
    problems are. As a novice you have to compare twice to notice that e.g. the
    beak is cut off.
    I think a better visual presentation would be to show the full picture with
    the new size as a black superimposed frame on the picture and the area
    outside of the frame grayed out or reduced in saturation or something like
    that. Then it is immediately obvious what is missing in the different aspect
    ratio.

    The luxury version would be to make a dynamic page: let the user select a
    frame in a specific aspect ratio and size and then he can try to fit the
    frame over a selection of photos in different aspect ratios.

    jue
     
    Jürgen Exner, Jan 11, 2008
    #5
  6. timeOday

    tony cooper Guest

    On Fri, 11 Jan 2008 03:10:29 +0100 (CET), Mardon
    <> wrote:

    >People are frequently asking me to make them prints that don't match aspect
    >ratio of the image that they are using to make their request. . For
    >example, they will see a 2:3 aspect ration image on my website and ask for
    >an 8x10 or 11x14 enlargement. When I tell them that a slight bit of the
    >image will be lost, they give me a blank stare. The people asking for the
    >prints are not photographers. They are lay people who want a print of a
    >particular photo. I've even had a request for an 8x10 print of a 1:5
    >panorama.
    >
    >In the past I've tried to explain the situation individually, each time it
    >arises. I've finally decided to create a generic web page that I can ask
    >people to read when this issue arises.
    >
    >I'd appreciate feedback on what I've written. My gut tells me that it's
    >still too complicated for the average non-photographer but I can't seem to
    >figure out how to simplify it further. Here's a link to the page as it now
    >stands:
    >
    >http://www.JustPhotos.ca/misc/AspectRatio/
    >
    >Comments / suggestions sought.


    A good, and helpful, page. My only comment would be that you have
    cropped the bird strangely. I would have cropped the right side only.
    But, I do understand that you are trying to make a point. If you have
    to lose in a crop, don't crop the crop. (OK, just the beak was
    cropped, but the pun was just perched there)

    What about linking to that page? I frequent other newsgroups and
    forums where photography issues are brought up, but the people are not
    photographers. In an Adobe Elements forum someone recently asked
    about this same thing, and had the same lack of understanding that you
    experience.

    Could I refer them to this page?


    --

    Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
     
    tony cooper, Jan 11, 2008
    #6
  7. timeOday

    Wayne Guest


    >I think the text is way too long because you are very thourough and are
    >trying to explain the details. Yes, they may be important, but if you can't
    >deliver the key message in the first two paragraphs, then your readers will
    >loose interest.


    This was my thought too. Impressively thorough, but too long to wade through.


    >I think a better visual presentation would be to show the full picture with
    >the new size as a black superimposed frame on the picture



    Fully agree, an overlapped border will show the issue better than two
    pictures.
     
    Wayne, Jan 11, 2008
    #7
  8. timeOday

    Mr. Strat Guest

    In article <Xns9A21E6A7AFE19mgb72mgbhotmailcom@194.177.96.78>, Mardon
    <> wrote:

    > People are frequently asking me to make them prints that don't match aspect
    > ratio of the image that they are using to make their request. . For
    > example, they will see a 2:3 aspect ration image on my website and ask for
    > an 8x10 or 11x14 enlargement. When I tell them that a slight bit of the
    > image will be lost, they give me a blank stare. The people asking for the
    > prints are not photographers. They are lay people who want a print of a
    > particular photo. I've even had a request for an 8x10 print of a 1:5
    > panorama.


    How come when I play a DVD there are black bars at the top and bottom
    of my screen? :)
     
    Mr. Strat, Jan 11, 2008
    #8
  9. timeOday

    Mark B. Guest

    "timeOday" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > When is somebody going to offer prints with the correct aspect ratio for
    > each image, instead of pre-defined sizes? It's not rocket science. The
    > paper is probably manufactured as a big roll before it's cut anyways.


    Frame sizes. While custom frames can be made for any size print, most
    people are probably going to Wal-Mart or Target - where you won't find
    8"x12" frames. 4"x6" are probably still the most popular print size in the
    US, and I'd wager most of these are being printed from cameras with 3:4
    sensors. Even art supply stores only have standard frame sizes, unless you
    have them make a custom size.

    Mark
     
    Mark B., Jan 11, 2008
    #9
  10. timeOday

    Mardon Guest

    "Mr. Strat" <> wrote:

    > How come when I play a DVD there are black bars at the top and bottom
    > of my screen? :)


    Glad to see the smiley there!

    OK, for those who don't understand the joke, standard TVs have an aspect
    ratio of 4:3, that is 1.33:1, and widescreen TVs have an aspect ration of
    16:9, that is, 1.78:1. Movies commonly have a wider aspect ratio like
    1.85:1 or 2.35:1. Thus the black bars.

    What gets me, Mr. Strat, is when people tell me they prefer watching movies
    formated for 4:3 on their standard TV set because they can then see the
    'entire move' and don't have anything cut off by the black bars. Oh my,
    where's me Prozac... :)
     
    Mardon, Jan 11, 2008
    #10
  11. timeOday

    Allen Guest

    Mark B. wrote:
    > "timeOday" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> When is somebody going to offer prints with the correct aspect ratio for
    >> each image, instead of pre-defined sizes? It's not rocket science. The
    >> paper is probably manufactured as a big roll before it's cut anyways.

    >
    > Frame sizes. While custom frames can be made for any size print, most
    > people are probably going to Wal-Mart or Target - where you won't find
    > 8"x12" frames. 4"x6" are probably still the most popular print size in the
    > US, and I'd wager most of these are being printed from cameras with 3:4
    > sensors. Even art supply stores only have standard frame sizes, unless you
    > have them make a custom size.
    >
    > Mark
    >
    >

    Exactly right. I sometimes see 8x12 frames in craft stores such as
    Michael's or Hobby Lobby, but they exist only in a small selection of
    styles and colors. Some stores carry frame parts (mostly metal but some
    wood)in a wide range of sizes that the buyer can assemble in a much
    wider variety, but--ugly, to put it politely. Unfortunately, format
    depends upon subject matter, not upon some magic "golden ratio" that
    Greek decided over 2,000 years ago is the perfect shape for any image,
    no matter what the subject matter; or upon the paper manufacturers who
    have come up with a few standard sizes. C'est la vie.
    Allen
     
    Allen, Jan 11, 2008
    #11
  12. timeOday

    Allen Guest

    Mardon wrote:
    > People are frequently asking me to make them prints that don't match aspect
    > ratio of the image that they are using to make their request. . For
    > example, they will see a 2:3 aspect ration image on my website and ask for
    > an 8x10 or 11x14 enlargement. When I tell them that a slight bit of the
    > image will be lost, they give me a blank stare. The people asking for the
    > prints are not photographers. They are lay people who want a print of a
    > particular photo. I've even had a request for an 8x10 print of a 1:5
    > panorama.
    >
    > In the past I've tried to explain the situation individually, each time it
    > arises. I've finally decided to create a generic web page that I can ask
    > people to read when this issue arises.
    >
    > I'd appreciate feedback on what I've written. My gut tells me that it's
    > still too complicated for the average non-photographer but I can't seem to
    > figure out how to simplify it further. Here's a link to the page as it now
    > stands:
    >
    > http://www.JustPhotos.ca/misc/AspectRatio/
    >
    > Comments / suggestions sought.

    I would suggest that you should also show some examples that would
    result in squeezing or stretching the image to fit to another ratio: for
    instance, a standing woman in 2:3 format squeezing down in the vertical
    dimension to 11:14; the perhaps 40 pound apparent weight gain might make
    your point.
    Allen
     
    Allen, Jan 11, 2008
    #12
  13. timeOday

    John Navas Guest

    On Fri, 11 Jan 2008 14:14:23 +0100 (CET), Mardon <>
    wrote in <Xns9A226312EF815mgb72mgbhotmailcom@194.177.96.78>:

    >"Mr. Strat" <> wrote:
    >
    >> How come when I play a DVD there are black bars at the top and bottom
    >> of my screen? :)

    >
    >Glad to see the smiley there!
    >
    >OK, for those who don't understand the joke, standard TVs have an aspect
    >ratio of 4:3, that is 1.33:1, and widescreen TVs have an aspect ration of
    >16:9, that is, 1.78:1. Movies commonly have a wider aspect ratio like
    >1.85:1 or 2.35:1. Thus the black bars.
    >
    >What gets me, Mr. Strat, is when people tell me they prefer watching movies
    >formated for 4:3 on their standard TV set because they can then see the
    >'entire move' and don't have anything cut off by the black bars. Oh my,
    >where's me Prozac... :)


    That is possible with some TVs that will distort the 16:9 image to fill
    a 4:3 screen, stretched vertically, which (believe it or not) some
    people do prefer.

    A much more common distortion is 4:3 images to fit a 16:9 screen,
    stretched horizontally, which I see all the time in sports bars and
    people's homes. Amazingly enough, most people don't even notice the
    distortion, even though it makes people look fat.

    --
    Best regards,
    John Navas
    Panasonic DMC-FZ8 (and several others)
     
    John Navas, Jan 11, 2008
    #13
  14. timeOday

    John Navas Guest

    On Fri, 11 Jan 2008 10:11:31 -0600, Allen <> wrote in
    <47879530$0$5102$>:

    >I would suggest that you should also show some examples that would
    >result in squeezing or stretching the image to fit to another ratio: for
    >instance, a standing woman in 2:3 format squeezing down in the vertical
    >dimension to 11:14; the perhaps 40 pound apparent weight gain might make
    >your point.


    Not necessarily -- most people don't even notice when 4:3 images are
    stretched to fit 16:9 screens, as is common in many sports bars.

    --
    Best regards,
    John Navas
    Panasonic DMC-FZ8 (and several others)
     
    John Navas, Jan 11, 2008
    #14
  15. timeOday

    Mr. Strat Guest

    In article <Xns9A226312EF815mgb72mgbhotmailcom@194.177.96.78>, Mardon
    <> wrote:

    > What gets me, Mr. Strat, is when people tell me they prefer watching movies
    > formated for 4:3 on their standard TV set because they can then see the
    > 'entire move' and don't have anything cut off by the black bars. Oh my,
    > where's me Prozac... :)


    This is a subject that drives me wild. I can't count how many times
    I've tried explaining to people why those black bars are there. And
    about 99 times out of 100, they don't get it. I've got a friend who
    insists on buying full frame only (idiot).

    I refuse to buy DVDs in full frame unless it's the only way the DVD is
    produced (some old movies are like this).
     
    Mr. Strat, Jan 11, 2008
    #15
  16. timeOday

    bugbear Guest

    Mardon wrote:
    > I'd appreciate feedback on what I've written. My gut tells me that it's
    > still too complicated for the average non-photographer but I can't seem to
    > figure out how to simplify it further. Here's a link to the page as it now
    > stands:
    >
    > http://www.JustPhotos.ca/misc/AspectRatio/
    >
    > Comments / suggestions sought.


    I would START with the picture; the coin one is good,
    although it might be neat to have TWO bad enlargements,
    one padded, one cropped, to show the two basic options.

    I like the red/hatched "crop", although I think
    the original photo in those areas might be a little
    *too* light.

    It might also be useful to start with
    exaggerated examples; the cropping/padding
    in "real cases" is quite minimal.

    Perhaps a test image that is very tall and thin,
    like a (cropped!!) human being, full length.

    Having shown the principles of aspect ratio,
    move on to realistic examples.

    I'd avoid as much maths as possible.

    BugBear
     
    bugbear, Jan 11, 2008
    #16
  17. timeOday

    bugbear Guest

    bugbear wrote:
    > Mardon wrote:
    >> I'd appreciate feedback on what I've written. My gut tells me that
    >> it's still too complicated for the average non-photographer but I
    >> can't seem to figure out how to simplify it further. Here's a link to
    >> the page as it now stands:
    >>
    >> http://www.JustPhotos.ca/misc/AspectRatio/
    >>
    >> Comments / suggestions sought.

    >
    > I would START with the picture; the coin one is good,
    > although it might be neat to have TWO bad enlargements,
    > one padded, one cropped, to show the two basic options.


    I did an example:

    http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f234/bugbear33/ratio.png

    BugBear
     
    bugbear, Jan 11, 2008
    #17
  18. timeOday

    Mardon Guest

    "Mr. Strat" <> wrote:

    > his is a subject that drives me wild. I can't count how many times
    > I've tried explaining to people why those black bars are there. And
    > about 99 times out of 100, they don't get it. I've got a friend who
    > insists on buying full frame only (idiot).
    >
    > I refuse to buy DVDs in full frame unless it's the only way the DVD is
    > produced (some old movies are like this).


    Finally, I've found a kindred soul. Amen to all of the above. :)

    Thanks to everyone who has replied to my OP and offerd comments. I've read
    all the posts and adpoted several of the suggests. These changes are now
    incorporated into a revised page. You can check it out here:

    http://www.JustPhotos.ca/misc/AspectRatio/

    I also added a sidebar for you, Mr. Strat. As I said in my concluding
    comment of that sidebar, I shudder to think what would happen if photo
    printers started offering to stretch photos to size rather than cropping
    them to size.

    Even though I'm live in Newfoundland, I'll co-opt a phrase from a famous
    Ammerican, Patrick Henry, "Give me the correct aspect ratio or give me
    death." (Well, not really "death" but you get the idea.)
     
    Mardon, Jan 11, 2008
    #18
  19. timeOday

    Mardon Guest

    "Mark B." <> wrote:

    > Wal-Mart or Target - where you won't find
    > 8"x12" frames.


    I agree they aren't to be found there. I wonder why? 2:3 sensores are
    common in the dSLR's. I'd buy 'em there if thsoe stores carried them.
     
    Mardon, Jan 11, 2008
    #19
  20. timeOday

    John Navas Guest

    On Fri, 11 Jan 2008 20:03:31 +0100 (CET), Mardon <>
    wrote in <Xns9A229E43D4EAmgb72mgbhotmailcom@194.177.96.78>:

    >"Mark B." <> wrote:
    >
    >> Wal-Mart or Target - where you won't find
    >> 8"x12" frames.

    >
    >I agree they aren't to be found there. I wonder why? 2:3 sensores are
    >common in the dSLR's. I'd buy 'em there if thsoe stores carried them.


    Presumably because of insufficient demand.
    Chicken and the egg problem. People have been conditioned to think in a
    limited range of standard sizes.

    --
    Best regards,
    John Navas
    Panasonic DMC-FZ8 (and several others)
     
    John Navas, Jan 11, 2008
    #20
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