Saturday, November 26, 2011

Exploring with a Camera: Aspect Ratios

I always learn so much from Kat's Exploring with the Camera series and this time is no exception...except it was a little easier this time.  After all, while I have a lot to learn about the art of cropping and composition, the math of aspect ratios I've known for awhile.

I had to learn because my first camera didn't shoot pictures in any of the standard printing sizes.  It shot 3:4 as did most point and shoots (according to Kat's article).
3:4 Aspect Ratio
Costco print, or any other place on the street, were offering 4x6 or the now mostly outdated 3x5 (with 3% zoom and crop to create clean edges).  Everyone owned nice hundred page 4x6 photo albums waiting for those darn digital pictures to get printed.  I had to learn to crop so my pictures could fill those little plastic slots.
4:6 / 2:3 Aspect Ratio
It would take me weeks to prepare all my pictures for you can just use the upload tool for cropping...but I used Photoshop Elements 2.  I was thrilled when we got a Mac and I could just crop in iPhoto.  It was so easy.  But I was still always behind in my printing.
1:1 Aspect Ratio
For one thing, sometimes the most artistic crop wasn't a standard print I add white edges and crop?  But then it doesn't fit in my album!  I tried scrapbooking a was the thing to do...and while it eliminated the pain of non-artistic framing/ was WAY to much work and NOT very fun for my non-crafty self.

Do you KNOW how excited I was the first time I looked at pictures from my new dSLR last February to realize it shot in a 4:6 aspect ratio?  Now I would save so much time on editing and get upto date on my printing!


For one thing...4:6 is still not always the best ratio for my shot.  Knowing I intend to mostly print 4x6's, I tend to try to compose my shot with that in mind, but with moving kids and my single-minded thoughts (focus on the eyes, focus on the eyes, focus...), I often fail.
4:6 Aspect Ratio (original)
But even if I have to try every size on the chart...
5:7 Aspect Ratio find the right one...
8:10 / 4:5 Aspect Ratio
...the amount of time I would spend on editing in order to crop is only a minuscule portion of the time I now spend in Lightroom or Photoshop Elements (now 10, yeah!).

I'm pretty sure my husband would be thrilled if I went back to the days of the only editing I did being a crop and some red-eye reduction, especially as that would be so fast!  Certainly adding a little pop to each image takes very little time...even less time all together than my old edits would take...but I just have so many, many, many images, and there are so many, many fun things to try.

Now that I have so much creative control over my images from start to finish, photography is just too much fun...all aspects of it!



Anonymous said...

How cool. I love these photos. Thanks for sharing. Sorry I haven't been by lately. Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving.

DaenelT said...

Thanks for writing this,I'm landing my new camera (Nikon D3100) , so this is very helpful. Love your photography and the tip ~ focus on the eyes.

Patrice said...

I can spend hours editing a did a beautiful job with your portraits!

Kat Sloma said...

I love it Cedar! Great post and I love how you tied aspect ratios in to the story of your growth in photography over time. I love how you capture the personalities of your kids! Thanks for joining in with Exploring with a Camera. :)