How To Shoot Photography For Certain Size Pictures

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What is an attribute ratio, and how is it different from your image resolution? At that place’s so many different ratios to calculate, and so how do y’all know which one is all-time for your photography? In this guide, nosotros’ll evidence you the most mutual aspect ratios in Photography and break downwards the rules on when to use each aspect ratio.

Most photographers take a general idea of what we’re talking near when we discuss “attribute ratio,” but would be hard-put to ascertain it in their own words. “It’southward to practise with the size of the image,” is what most people finally settle on. Well today nosotros’re going to go in-depth about this term, then the next fourth dimension you hear attribute ratio being discussed you tin jump right in! (Hint: it’s not so much virtually size as it is about shape.)

What Exactly Is It, Though?

For any given photo, attribute ratio describes the proportional relationship between your image’s width and height. You tin can find attribute ratios that are commonly used in photography and film in many of the objects in the globe around you. In fact, you needn’t look further than your TV screen (or computer) to find examples:

  • Your old-school TV/reckoner display has a 1.33:i attribute ratio (virtually a foursquare).
    • A ratio like this ways the image on the screen may be smaller than it was originally, or the edges have been cut off so the image can fit onto your screen.
  • Your TV (for case, those equipped with HDTV) has an attribute ratio of 16:nine (this is a widescreen format, where the width is just about twice every bit long as the height).
    • This type of ratio captures the effects of loftier definition technology to their fullest.
  • Your local in-theater or abode movie theaters typically accept an aspect ratio of ii.35:1 (widescreen CinemaScope format).
    • This ratio is particularly designed to help you go immersed in the bear witness.

As y’all read through these examples, you may have realized that ratios can completely transform the viewing experience of your photos. So y’all can probably run into why it’s talked nigh so frequently, because it’due south important stuff for you to understand! At present that you know what a few ratios look similar (keep them filed abroad as reference points for when yous do your ain shooting), let’southward talk more about what y’all demand to know to brand utilise of them as a photographer.

Let’s Write Ratios!

You’ll desire to know the correct fashion to write an aspect ratio, since putting even one number in the wrong place tin really bungle things upwardly. First of all, an attribute ratio starts with the number associated with the width, separated by a colon from the number associated with the height, like so:

x:y (the width e’er comes first)

The 10:y is an expression of a ratio, and so you will encounter dissimilar sizes of photographs that use the same ratio. For instance, if you lot shoot a half-dozen x four″ photo, you lot’ve only captured an image with a ratio of 3:2. If you lot shoot an image of roughly eight 10 five.iii″, you’ve yet captured an image with the same ratio of three:2.

And then when it comes downward to it, attribute ratio doesn’t really have that much to exercise with the size of your image at all.

The ratio is directly determined by the size of your photographic camera sensor, but almost of the newer DSLRs allow you to alter the aspect ratio. The post-obit graphic illustrates how you tin change the aspect ratio within the limited size of a particular sensor below:

Why Is Aspect Ratio Important?

ane. For Technical Reasons

You’re going to need to empathize aspect ratios when you’re posting your photographs online.

For instance, the aspect ratio of your Facebook profile pic will be different when you’re viewing it on a medium like your phone, every bit opposed to viewing it on your laptop. Because of this, the various social networking platforms or website builders volition force you to fit your photos within standard aspect ratios. If you don’t want your profile picture distorted, stretched, or cut off, yous’re going to want to match the ratio of your profile pic to their standard aspect ratio (run across our department on social media below for a list of attribute ratios a few social networking sites adopt).

The same thought applies if you lot’re going to be printing your photos. If your aspect ratio doesn’t match the size of your print, you may terminate up with a cropped or stretched photo.

Pro Tip

If yous’re planning on printing your photos, yous’ll demand to know which ratios are required for common print sizes:

  • six x 4” = 1.v:1 ratio
  • seven 10 5” = one.4:ane ratio
  • 10 x eight” = 1.25:i ratio
  • 11 10 viii.5” = 1.29:1 ratio

ii. For Aesthetic Reasons

  • Changing the ratio will impact where your subject is positioned in relation to the sides of the frame. If you lot have an important characteristic positioned near an edge, y’all could lose information technology altogether with the wrong ratio.
  • Your attribute ratio can be used to convey emotion. For example, a ratio of 2:35 allows for negative space within a photo. You lot tin use this space to create an expansive quality in your landscape or evoke feelings of loneliness and isolation in your portrait.
  • Irresolute your aspect ratio may likewise help if you feel you take some extra “room” in your photo (this often applies more to vertical images). A vertical prototype may exist besides roomy at a ratio of 2:3, while a ratio of 4:5 could give the photo a snugger frame, resulting in a more highly-seasoned composition.

Ratio Bug to Avert

  • If you lot shot according to the rule of thirds using a 4:3 ratio, then needed to create prints with a iii:2 ratio, the limerick of the shot may not adhere to the dominion of thirds anymore.
  • You may run across a large dip in quality when attempting to shoot a ratio that’due south larger than the ratio of your photographic camera’s sensor:
    • If your sensor’south ratio is 4:3 (a micro four-thirds camera), your all-time bet is to shoot in 4:3 or i:1. If you try to shoot in 3:2 or 16:9 with this sensor, y’all may finish upwards having to crop your photo substantially (which will mean a drib in prototype quality).
    • To avoid this result, y’all may want to consider purchasing a photographic camera with a larger sensor size. Buying a camera with a larger sensor will not but give you more options for ratios but comes with other benefits besides (including meliorate depression-light photos, increased dynamic range, and more groundwork mistiness).

In the next few sections, we’ll dig deeper into aspect ratios and discuss:

  • Whether you should make ratio adjustments before yous shoot – or shoot offset, then adjust your ratio afterward
  • How the ratios available on your camera will touch your shots
  • Mutual and non-and so-mutual ratios and where y’all might employ them
  • Which ratios to use for social networking apps and websites
  • The Golden Ratio (another composition method to put in your toolbox)
  • Film preferences (because cinematographers also keep a not bad eye on their attribute ratios)
  • Perfecting proportion in your postal service-processing (tips and tricks to keep your image high quality)

Deciding on the Aspect Ratio Before Shooting vs. Cropping in Photoshop

There was a fourth dimension when DSLRs weren’t even capable of allowing users to change aspect ratios while shooting. Back and so, the dimensions of your photographic camera’due south sensor (or the picture type, along with the camera’s design) would dictate the ratio. For example, a sensor that’s 1.five times as wide equally it is high produces a ratio of three:2. A 35mm ingather sensor, total-frame SLRs, and most 35mm film cameras produce this ratio.

Now, thankfully, y’all can cull whether to change the ratio while out in the field or crop your photos in mail-processing.

If yous choose your ratio before shooting, yous volition take the advantage of being able to literally visualize what your epitome volition look like after it’southward been cropped. You volition be able to run into the cropped image either on an electronic viewfinder or on your camera’due south LCD screen in Live View mode.

At that place is one drawback to choosing the ratio while shooting: if you cull to shoot your photos in JPEG, your camera will crop your image. There is no mode to recollect the parts of the photo that were cropped. (Psst… you can solve this problem past shooting in RAW mode.)

If yous can’t alter your photographic camera’s aspect ratio, mail service-production may be the only way you
crop your photos. And even if your camera does have that adequacy, many find cropping to just exist easier. It as well allows for more flexibility, as you tin create multiple versions of an image from a more generous starting point without “losing” the information for practiced.

Pro Tip

It’s easy to change the aspect ratio on your smartphone, too. The iPhone is capable of taking photos in ane:1 (square), xvi:9 (panoramic, which is best for video), and the default mode, 4:3.

In the
app, you can also ingather your paradigm anywhere from 1:1 to 9:16 (remember that the ratio is e’er width:height, and so some of these will piece of work best in portrait way and others in mural).

To detect the aspect ratio options on an iPhone prototype, y’all simply:

  1. Select your photo.
  2. Click on
    in the peak right corner.
  3. Select the
    button (to the correct of
  4. Then, hitting the
    button (above
  5. Select a ratio from the menu, and the new ratio will be applied.

Examples of Attribute Ratios

There are a handful of standard ratios that will exist more widely accepted. When you’re sharing your work across lots of platforms, it’s sometimes helpful to know exactly what your image is going to practise when information technology’south viewed by your audience, so that’due south a point in favor of “tried and true” ratios.

However, it’s entirely too piece of cake to go stuck in a rut and use the same attribute ratio for everything. Choosing the safest bet every fourth dimension will seriously cutting downward on your potential for variety, and it’s not so swell for inventiveness likewise. Photographers, equally artists, should spend a lot of fourth dimension thinking outside the box… no matter what shape it is.

Here are some examples of what you tin do with unlike ratios:


A 4:3 ratio is compatible with printed v ten 7” or viii x 10” photos. Landscape photography often works well in this type of format, since it’s wider than information technology is tall. As you can see below, your eye has a lot of room to travel beyond the scenery.

Pro Tip

Commonly-Used Aspect Ratios

Cameras frequently come equipped with ratios of 3:ii, iv:3, 16:ix, and 1:1. xvi:ix tends to be the default mode for shooting videos, while 1:1 is perfect for capturing square photos for Instagram.

All-time Ratios for Online & Social Media Viewing

Social media has its ain set of rules – and each platform will have its own criteria. If you mismatch the aspect ratio of your photo to the one your social networking platform specifies, your paradigm may terminate up stretched, distorted or cut off. For an idea of what different platforms crave, see the figures beneath (every bit of 2022).


  • Contour Flick: 180 10 180px (1:i ratio)
  • Cover Image: 820 10 312px (2.63:one ratio)
  • Shared Link: 1200 x 628px (1.9:1 ratio)


  • Profile Picture show: 400 x 400px (1:1 ratio)
  • Header Photograph: 1500 x 500px (three:one ratio)


  • Profile Pic: 110 ten 110px (1:1 ratio)
  • Photograph Size (what the user sees when scrolling through their feed): 1080 x 1080px (one:1 ratio)

Pro Tip

What are pixels?

Every photo is made up of pixels. They are the smallest unit in your photos, can be round or square, and each one of them contains a color. The greater the number of pixels, the more detailed – and more true-to-life – your photo will be.

The number of pixels is referred to past some as the resolution. The number of pixels can likewise be used to express the width and superlative of your photograph. For instance, in a resolution of 2400 10 3000, there are 2400 pixels from the left to correct (ie. width) and 3000 pixels from top to bottom (ie. acme).

The Golden Ratio

We’ve already discussed how changing your ratio volition take an impact on your composition. The golden ratio is also a tool used to assistance with composition (like the dominion of thirds).

Leonardo Fibonacci was the get-go to note the power of the golden ratio in 1200 AD. Fibonacci saw the golden ratio appear again and again in nature, and he noticed how attracted the human eye was to information technology. This ubiquitous ratio is one:1.618.

Y’all could make use of this ratio by amalgam a grid as you exercise when using the rule of thirds. All the same, with this blazon of filigree, the ratio from the pinnacle of your movie to the first line will be i, the ratio from that outset line to the second line volition be 1.618, and the ratio from that 2d line to the bottom of your photo will exist 1.

Or you could apply the gilt ratio using curved lines that also follow the ratio of 1:1.618, like the following:

golden ratio photography

Using the golden ratio, you can place parts of your prototype on a curved line, leading the viewer of your paradigm to the part of your overlay that looks like a coil, where yous accept placed your signal of interest, as in this instance:

Movie Preferences

Cinematographers are no strangers to attribute ratios.

When films were start projected using a perforated moving-picture show strip, the ratio on the screen was 4:3 (or 1.33:1). When producers started to add sound to movies, the flick strip grew a scrap too large to conform for this audio information, and the ratio became 1.37:1. Subsequently this ratio gained approving from the Academy of Motion Motion-picture show Arts and Science in 1932, it became the “University Ratio.”

In the 1950s, TV was becoming popular, and it was starting to await like it might compete with flick theaters for viewers. This prompted the theaters to introduce films with a 2.59:i ratio. Notably, MGM pulled off a ratio of 2.76:1 (which you may have seen in

Ratios like these posed a trouble when viewers tried to watch films like
on their home TV screens. The ratios didn’t fit the typical 4:three ratio of a home television, so viewers had to contend with viewing their favorite movies with imposing blackness bars at the top and lesser of their screens (ie. letterboxing). Here’s a clip and then you can see what we mean.

Today, most films are seen in 1.85:1 and 2.39:1. In some cases, filmmakers have changed ratios mid-flick. For instance, in
The Grand Budapest Hotel, the prologue and epilogue are shot in one.85:ane, in ii.35:1 for the 1960s portions, and in the one.37:ane ratio for the principal sections of the film.

Pro Tip

Interested in creating images that harken dorsum to the days of watching
on a home telly set? Cheque out this two-minute video from PHLEARN to observe out how to give your image a cinematic await, consummate with blackness cinematic bars, which will reduce your attribute ratio to sixteen:9.


Steps for changing the aspect ratio in Photoshop (Instance image by quangle on Pixabay):

    1. Choose the
      Rectangular Marquee
      tool (peak left).
    2. Select
      Fixed Ratio
      from the Style list.

    1. Gear up the width and height of your desired ratio (only don’t choose measurements).
    2. Cull the portion of the image you want to continue.

    1. Click on
      in the dropdown carte, then select

If you lot just have the width and elevation in pixels, an attribute ratio estimator volition come up in handy.

Pro Tip

Need to crop to a certain newspaper size in Photoshop?

Just enter the size of your impress as the ratio in the width and meridian boxes, but every bit you did in the example in a higher place (for example, viii.5:xi).

The Electric current State of the Attribute Ratio

Even at present, when so many decisions can be made for usa with a click of a button on the DSLR, aspect ratios are not something to take for granted. Consider the impact social media has had on the aspect ratio:

Catering to smartphone users, Instagram popularized the square format. Although a 1:1 ratio would cut details out of, say, a 16:9 ratio substantially, a one:1 photo or video can await a lot more attractive when framed by your cell telephone.

This 1:1 ratio has besides appeared on Facebook. More than than 90 percent of Facebook’s monthly users (1.74 billion people) look at Facebook on their mobile phone. And 60 percent of those users
access their accounts from their phones. And so as yous can see, our increasingly mobile lifestyles dictate a lot virtually aspect ratio use on the internet.

What does this mean for you?

First, yous should proceed to pay attention to the ratios online technology requires. Second, you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with uncommon aspect ratios. If those sound contradictory, welcome to attribute ratios! To get the best results without confining yourself to one or ii ultra-basic choices, remember:

  • Preview images before publishing whenever possible.
  • Keep a copy of the original aspect ratio and salvage cropped versions separately.
  • For cover images and profile photos, look for the option to shift your image effectually or zoom in and out. You might non accept to become back to the drawing board if it doesn’t look exactly correct.

Most of all, take fun with it. Attribute ratios offer a lot of potential for creativity now that you understand them. Go out and try something new today!


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