Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tips on printing our photos

Touched by the Son

We know many of you like to view, download, and print photos. What we don't know is how most people are using the photos -- just viewing online, printing small 4"x6" prints, using for Windows wallpaper, printing larger photos, etc.

Most of our photos currently online are in the same size dimensions as they came from a digital camera. Compact size digital cameras usually take photos in a 3:4 ratio, whereas the old film cameras take them in 2:3 ratio and produce 4"x6" prints.

Photos that came from scanned photos are naturally in the printed photo dimensions (4"x6").

The pain comes when you print a 3:4 ratio image from a digital camera on 4"x6" photo paper. Part of the image gets lopped off, as shown at the SmugMug site. There are only two ways to fix this problem:

Also note that newer and more expensive digital cameras may let you choose the image ratio or use the 2:3 ratio for its images be default. Some compact Kodak cameras let you choose the 2:3 (4"x6" print) size for saving photos.

The image ratio you want depends on the intended use.

  • For Windows "wallpaper", use a 3:4 ratio image to cover the screen.
  • For 4"x6" prints, use the "normal" 2:3 ratio images
  • 5"x7" and 8"x10" (4:5 ratio) prints require special image ratios. You'll need to crop these before printing or take what the printing system gives you for a photo crop.

We mention all this as a way of saying we'd like to provide you with what you need. As long as we don't get flooded with requests, we'll provide any ratio image you request.

We don't recommend that you download and crop the online image yourself. Why? Each time you edit a JPEG type photo (JPG files) the image quality decreases. So if you edit an already edited master image, you decrease the quality. We have the master copy of each online photo and can provide the same quality photo as the online one but in the image ratio you need.

Changes in photos we upload to Flickr

Since we suspect that most people who want to print photos will want the standard 4"x6" prints, we will start uploading photos in the 2:3 image ratio that is best for the 4"x6" prints. If you need a different size, for example for Windows wallpaper, just send an email request to our webmaster.

Also, we will start using 1280 pixels on the longest side of photos we upload. This gives a bit better quality printed photo and fills more of the screen on wide-screen monitors. That also increases the image file size, so it will take a few seconds longer for you to download photos. We think you'll find the trade-off well worth it.

We welcome your comments and suggestions.

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