Cropping Your Photographs

What You Should Know About Photo Cropping and Print Orders

If a photo requires photo cropping to format to a certain print size, there is a specific method of cropping
that needs to be used to maintain the original visual quality of the photo. If this is not done correctly
the original image will degrade in quality. This is especially true when considering photo enlargements
and larger print sizes. We do offer information on correct photo cropping using Photoshop.

If you place an order with us and the photo submitted needs cropping for the print size ordered,
a professional printing expert will PROPERLY crop the photo at no charge and send you samples to
view and approve before printing the order. We will also make adjustments if requested, to get the
final printed photo right for you with the best possible quality.

Want us to inspect and process your photo(s) before ordering?
We’d be glad to….just Request a Price Quote.

About websites with online cropping tools for Customers to crop their photos for printing.

Caution! – While this may sound like a great idea, this method of formatting photos for print will
degrade the image quality of the photos. Here’s what happens –

The original photo has to be reduced in size to fit on the webpage and into the cropping tool display.
Example – original photo at 3000×2000 pixels. This photo needs to be reduced in size to about
600 pixles wide to fit in cropping tool display. (slight reduction of image original quality)

After the customer crops the photo, it then has to be built up in resolution again to an acceptable
printing resolution which may be anywhere from a 400% to 1000% or more enlargement, depending
on the size of print ordered. This is where the original quality of the photo really degrades.
As with many things…shortcuts are many times not the best way to go.

Photo Enlargements and Cropping of Digital Photos

How to enlarge and crop digital photos for the best print quality:

The finest quality photo prints from digital photos will always be obtained by printing the original image as captured by the digital camera. This means printing the file with the image pixels unaltered, or without any image resampling. Pixel resampling rebuilds the actual image data through software manipulation, resulting in a degraded image quality. The greater the degree of resampling, the greater the loss in original image quality.

Photo enlargement of a digital photo can be performed without any original file resampling. The amount of enlargement possible depends on the original resolution, or pixel dimensions of the photo, how large the photo needs to be printed, and the processing software and printing system used. In this article I will address this issue considering use of only an image editing software such as Photoshop, and standard printer output as a typical desktop or medium format printer capable of print sizes ranging from 8×10 up to 12×18.

All digital cameras capture images in a format oversized from standard print or frame sizes. This is to accommodate for future photo cropping to balance or fine tune the final photo, and allow for possible adjustments to errors made when framing the photo before capture. To produce standard print or frame sizes, any digital photo will need to be cropped and there are two basic image formats with digital cameras.

Most “point and shoot” digital cameras produce an image with a 4:3 aspect ration. We consider this image format the “standard format digital camera” print size. Most SLR digital cameras produce an image with a 3:2 aspect ration. We consider this image format the “wide format digital camera” print size. These two different image formats vary considerably in the full image, uncropped image sizes default from the camera. The following link is a chart that illustrates the size differences of these formats at various print size ranges. Photo enlargement, print formats and digital photo cropping.

There is a simple method you can utilize to produce photo enlargement and photo cropping to standard print sizes using your image editing software. For this example I will be using Photoshop CS for the methodology, although with any quality image editing software, the steps will be similar. I will process a 5 megapixel, standard format digital camera photo with a pixel resolution of 1944×2592 and an 8 megapixel, wide format digital camera photo with a pixel resolution of 2336×3504. Photo enlargement and photo cropping will be to the standard print sizes of 8×10, 11×14 and 12×18 to illustrate the process.

Both photo examples below are with the photo in landscape orientation, or the image long side being horizontal. For portrait orientation, adjust size entries appropriately.
Photo 01 – 5 megapixel standard format photo (1944×2592 pixels)
Photo 02 – 8 megapixels wide format photo (2336×3504 pixels)

Photo 01 – 8×10 photo enlargement with photo cropping:
Open photo file
Image > image size
Uncheck resample and enter 8 in the the document size height.
Creates an image 10.667w x 8h at 243 resolution > OK.
Select crop tool and enter in toolbar parameters:
Width: 10 in Height: 8 in Resolution: 243
To constrain crop to photo edges: view > snap to > document bounds
Drag crop box over entire photo and position as desired.
Click check mark at top right of top toolbar to set the crop.
Your photo enlargement is to 8×10 at 243dpi, absolutely original image quality.

Photo 02 – 8×10 photo enlargement with photo cropping:
Open photo file
Image > image size
Uncheck resample and enter 8 in the the document size height.
Creates an image 12w x 8h at 292 resolution > OK.
Select crop tool and enter in toolbar parameters:
Width: 8 in Height: 10 in Resolution: 292
To constrain crop to photo edges: view > snap to > document bounds
Drag crop box over entire photo and position as desired.
Click check mark at top right of top toolbar to set the crop.
Your photo enlargement is to 8×10 at 292dpi, absolutely original image quality.

Photo 01 – 11×14 photo enlargement with photo cropping:
Open photo file
Image > image size
Uncheck resample and enter 11 in the the document size height.
Creates an image 14.667w x 11h at 176.727 resolution > OK.
Select crop tool and enter in toolbar parameters:
Width: 14 in Height: 11 in Resolution: 176.727
To constrain crop to photo edges: view > snap to > document bounds
Drag crop box over entire photo and position as desired.
Click check mark at top right of top toolbar to set the crop.
Your photo enlargement is to 11×14 at 176.727dpi, absolutely original image quality.

Photo 02 – 11×14 photo enlargement with photo cropping:
Open photo file
Image > image size
Uncheck resample and enter 11 in the the document size height.
Creates an image 16.5w x 11h at 212.364 resolution > OK.
Select crop tool and enter in toolbar parameters:
Width: 14 in Height: 11 in Resolution: 212.364
To constrain crop to photo edges: view > snap to > document bounds
Drag crop box over entire photo and position as desired.
Click check mark at top right of top toolbar to set the crop.
Your photo enlargement is to 11×14 at 212.364dpi, absolutely original image quality.

Photo 01 – 12×18 photo enlargement with photo cropping:
Open photo file
Image > image size
Uncheck resample and enter 18 in the the document size width.
Creates an image 18w x 13.5h at 144 resolution > OK.
Select crop tool and enter in toolbar parameters:
Width: 18 in Height: 12 in Resolution: 144
To constrain crop to photo edges: view > snap to > document bounds
Drag crop box over entire photo and position as desired.
Click check mark at top right of top toolbar to set the crop.
Your photo enlargement is to 12×18 at 144dpi, absolutely original image quality.

Photo 02 – 12×18 photo enlargement no photo cropping needed:
Open photo file
Image > image size
Uncheck resample and enter 18 in the the document size width.
Creates an image 18w x 12h at 194.667 resolution > OK.
No photo cropping needed. Default photo size from camera.
Your photo enlargement is to 12×18 at 194.667dpi, absolutely original image quality.

With the photo enlargement and photo cropping finished, the next step is to print the processed images. Most people have heard that you may need a dpi of 300 to print photos with satisfactory quality. This may or may not be necessarily true depending on your particular printer and printer driver software. What I would recommend doing is to try a little experimenting here. As said previously, the best photo print quality will come with the least amount of image resampling to boost image resolution or size.

First, I would try printing the enlargements at the final resolution in the examples above. If you are not satisfied with the results, only then I would boost the input file resolution. Many experts claim an input resolution of between 200 – 300 dpi should be sufficient. I would start at the low end of 200 dpi and resample the file to this number to keep the degree of resampling as low as possible.

To resample in Photoshop CS:
Open file
Image > image size
Check resample and enter 200 in document size resolution.
Click OK. Your photo is now the same size in inches at 200 dpi resolution.

Try printing again and see if this is enough resolution to produce a quality print. You can continue attempting different input resolutions by resampling the photo at different dpi’s. When trying a new input dpi, always start with the original resolution file and do not use a version of the file you have already resampled. Every time an image file is resampled, it degrades the image quality more.

For more tips and advice on photo enlargement of digital photos, view this page:
Photo Enlargement Tips

The advice in this article is intended for those who use standard image processing and printing systems. Highly advanced digital processing and photo enlargement software systems such as the systems we use can yield much larger photo print sizes while maintaining absolute original image quality.

How to Properly Crop Digital Photos for Photo Enlargement Printing


How to Crop Digital Photos to Specific Print Sizes for Photo Enlargement Printing using Photoshop CS:

Digital cameras produce uncropped full images right from the camera that are formatted differently than most standard print or frame sizes. This means that the photo you download from your camera will probably need to be cropped to produce a standard size. Some photo enlargement printing sizes will be produced with a digital camera’s full frame photo, but many sizes require cropping. If you want to crop your digital photo, there is a certain way the cropping should be done for the best print quality.

For the very best and finest quality photo enlargement printing from your digital photos, any cropping done to the original photo file should be done without altering the original pixel values. Your do not want to use software to increase the photo’s native resolution or resample the photo when cropping, as this digital photo processing will actually degrade the original optical quality of the image. The cropping methods described below are considering we will be processing and printing your digital photos. We utilize highly advanced photo enlargement printing software systems that will print your photo enlargements at 360ppi, and the image will print at any target output size with absolute original photo quality.

Cropping digital photos for photo enlargement printing using any version of Photoshop:
Open the original, native resolution digital photo in Photoshop.
TIP: click view > snap (if available) keeps the crop box within the bounds of the photo.
Decide the photo enlargement print size you want for the photo – example 20w x 16h.
Select your crop tool from the tools palette.
Note the 3 parameter fields at the top under the main menu – width / height / resolution.
In the width field enter – 20 in (need to include the “in” for inches)
In the height field enter – 16 in
IMPORTANT – leave the resolution field BLANK – do not enter a value.
By leaving the resolution field blank, you will not alter the original pixel values of the photo with the software.
Drag the crop box anywhere you want in the photo. You could drag to the edges or anywhere within the photo, and the crop box will make a 16×20 print format.
Apply the crop when you like it, or cancel the action and start again.
After you crop the photo to your satisfaction, save the file as a new file name so you don’t overwrite your original photo file, and this is the file you would send for photo enlargement printing at the 16×20 print size.

Do not be concerned if you check the cropped digital photo’s image size window and see it may be a size of 15.898 x 20 or some other fractional dimension, and it may have an odd sized resolution like 117.566ppi, our software systems will fine tune the photo to an exact 16×20 at 360ppi resolution.

If you want to artistically crop a digital photo producing a custom size print, the instructions above will still apply, except do not enter any values in the 3 crop parameters for width, height and resolution.

If you are not using Photoshop for your photo editing, but some other image editing software, there should be some way through the application crop functions to set your output print size and enable or disable resolution changes. To get the function details for your software may require accessing and reading the software help system.

How to Level and Crop Digital Photos

A simple technique for altering image orientation of Digital Photos:

It’s happened to all of us. We come across a great photo shot, and while framing the image, pay more attention to the framing parameters than the leveling of the image. After downloading the digital photo and realizing we have a world class photographic image, we also realize the image is way out of level. If the digital photo just had a level horizon, it would certainly be an award winning photographic image. How can this be fixed?

There is a very simple technique that can be used to level a digital photo, or to change the basic orientation of the image using any quality image editing software. For this article, the techniques described will be with using Adobe Photoshop CS. The procedure names and locations may be slightly different in other image editing software applications, but the basic techniques will be very similar.

This digital imaging technique should be used with the original image resolution of the digital photo. This way, the original image will not be resampled or re-sized. You should re-save the leveled file as an archived or library file at the digital photo’s native pixel resolution. If you ever think you will want photo enlargements of the digital photo, this will yield the finest quality print results. The steps described below will include procedures to maintain the digital photo’s original pixel resolution.

Step One:
The first step is to open the original digital photo file in Photoshop. For this example, I have selected a basic, not World Class for sure, digital photo that is obviously out of level and would be a much better image if it were just straightened up a bit.

Photo to level

Step Two:
The next thing to do is to place the photo on a background that is a few inches larger, on all sides of the image, than the photo. To do this, you must create a layer with the photo. Follow these steps:
Click – Select > All then Edit > Copy
Close the photo window.
Click – File > New – A New File window will open with the copied photo’s parameters.
Leave the Resolution the same, and for the width and height select inches. Add a couple inches to the values already present. This will make the background larger than the photo. With higher resolution photos, you may need to increase the background size a little more to accommodate the degree of leveling needed.
Click – OK then Edit > Paste
The photo will be layered over the background creating a new image file. You should have your “layers” window open and make sure the photo’s layer is selected. After you paste the photo on the background it will be automatically selected. To open the layers window:
Window > Layers

Step Three:
Now you need to bring a guide line over the photo as a perfectly horizontal reference. To do this, select the “move” tool from the tool palette (top right tool), and drag a guide line from the top horizontal ruler. Place over the photo at a point where the reference will work best for you when leveling.

Leveling digital photo step 3

Step Four:
Now you need to “rotate” the photo until the image looks good to you in reference to the guide line. Make sure the photo’s layer is selected in the “layers” window. It will be automatically selected after you paste the photo on the background.
Click – Edit > Transform > Rotate
A dashed box will appear around the photo. From the corner of the photo and dashed box, drag the image in a circular motion until it appears to be level with the reference guide line and when it looks good to you, click the check mark at the top right to set the rotation. If you want to redo the leveling, click Edit > Undo, and repeat the steps above.

Leveling digital photo step 4

Step Five:
After rotating the photo to the point where it appears level to you, it needs to be cropped to square it up. You need to use guide lines again to set the parameters of the crop. Simply drag guide lines from the vertical and horizontal rulers with the “move” tool, to the innermost corners of the rotated photo.

Leveling digital photo step 5

Step Six:
To properly crop the photo to the guide lines you have set, you need to do a couple things. First, you need to make sure the crop will go just to the guide lines. Do this by clicking View > Snap to > Guides. The crop box will then snap right to the guide lines when you drag the crop box. Second, you need to make sure you do not resample the original photo file when cropping. Select the “crop” tool from the tools palette. In the crop parameter fields at the top of the screen, click the “clear” button. When setting the crop, the original photos resolution will remain unresampled.
Select crop tool > Clear crop parameters > Drag crop box to guide line corners >
Click check mark to set the crop. Your photo is now leveled and cropped. To save as a new image file, “flatten” the layers, Layers > Flatten then File > Save as.

Leveling digital photo step 6

This simple technique can be used not only for leveling photos, but also for making artistic changes to the basic orientation of any digital photo. This method will maintain the original pixel resolution of the image file. Any photo enlargement, photo enhancement or other applied functions should be performed after using this technique. You can visit the following link for further in-depth information concerning photo enlargement and digital photo processing.

Retreats and Training

Self-pace, enjoyable locations to photograph. Non formal instruction. 

Scheduled Retreats

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Knowledge of your camera

Designed to take a student from level 1 (point and shoot) to level 3 (understanding exposure and your camera capabilities). Most of the training is one-on-one in the field with a maximum number of six students. 

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Basic level will use our online calculators and other tools we provide, it requires no additional equipment beside your camera.

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Advance level will go more in-depth and may require photo editing software.

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Technical level provide technical information such as mathematical equations, in-depth photo editing tools.

Camera Resolution Settings

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Photo Printing Services coming soon

We are dropping the name Photo Art Imaging to simplify locating us on the web.

We do not own Photartimaging.com so this has caused some confusion for or customers trying to find us on the web.

The domain name of enlargephotos.com is the site we have own for over 16 years.

We feel this will help you are customers in locating us easier.

Pro Quality Enlarge Photos.

The Colorado Springs location has been closed for a few years and will drop the Colorado Springs phone number. Area code (719)

Our main phone number will be (575) 740-7468

415 North Date Street

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. 87901

Thanks for understanding

WxFireGraph LLC

Owns the following websites:

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Technical level of guide articles.

Level – Basic 

  • Basic guide will use our online calculators and other tools we provide, it requires no additional equipment beside your camera.

Level – Advance

  • Advance guide will go more in-depth and may require photo editing software.

Level – Technical

  • Technical guides provide technical information such as mathematical equations, in-depth photo editing tools.