3 Things You Need to Know About Custom Size Photo Prints
- Aspect Ratios
- The Need for Custom Size Photo Prints
- What Type of Photos Can Be Custom Size Photo Prints
- Processing for Custom Size Photo Prints
- Displaying Custom Size Photo Prints
- Artbeat Studios for Custom Size Photo Prints
- Recommended Photography Gear
Seeing our photo art printed as large-size photographs hanging on a wall or being delivered to a paying client is a real thrill. The common sizes for enlargements are simple from a cropping standpoint, but sometimes our photos would look better processed as custom size photo prints.
Our friends at Artbeat Studios are experts at printing special requests, offering custom size photo prints as high-quality paper prints and as the specialty finishes of acrylic, metal, and canvas prints.
Let’s see what’s involved in making custom size photo prints.
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Illustration by petrroudny via iStock
The common print sizes have been around for a long time, some predating the use of film, going back to when cameras used coated glass and metal plates. What makes a print size usable for many subjects is more about aspect ratios than actual sizes.
Photographically, an aspect ratio is the relationship between an image's height and width. This exercise works in digital imaging as well as film photography. Ratios usually are expressed as a notation of the numbers involved, such as 3:2 for an aspect ratio of 3 to 2.
The 3:2 aspect ratio is common for film and digital photography and is used for Full Frame format and 135 format 35mm film. You can test the aspect ratio by looking at the dimensions of the image. A 24mm x 36mm image area can be reduced to a 3:2 notation.
The Need for Custom Size Photo Prints
Photo by carloscastilla via iStock
Aspect ratios determine what sizes are made as enlargements if using the entire image area captured or wanting to keep the same dimensions. A Full Frame file or 35mm negative will print directly to the snapshot size of 4x6”, and enlargements will be 8x12”, 16x24”, and so on.
Some other well-used and familiar aspect ratios in photography are 4:3, the aspect ratio of Micro 4/3rds sensors, which is also used in video as 1.33:1 as the standard TV broadcast format for years. 16:9 is the aspect ratio of modern widescreen TV and a common format in videography. All of those 8x10” and 16x20” prints we got as enlargements are the 5:4 aspect ratio, introduced early on as 4x5” film.
To get a 3:2 image to fit into a 5:4 print ratio, they will need to be cropped to fit. We can crop into almost any aspect ratio we want. We’re not constrained solely to full image area or one of the common sizes. And with digital photography, we can stitch together multiple frames into a panoramic image that can be virtually any size.
What Type of Photos Can Be Custom Size Photo Prints
Photo by thitivong via iStock
This leads to the thought of what type of photos should be made as custom size photo prints. The short answer is that any photo could be resized into a custom size or aspect ratio.
Creating panoramic images by panning across the view of a scene, taking multiple images, and then stitching those image files together in one larger image results in some very odd and non-standard aspect ratios for the resulting finished photograph. A panorama may be printed out in a 10x30” print for a 3:1 aspect ratio, but any size is possible, depending on how much stitching is done.
Other image files could be made into a wide range of sizes as the aspect ratios are changed in post-processing. One reason to change to a custom size could be to accommodate an odd-sized subject or to enhance a subject through creative cropping.
Processing for Custom Size Photo Prints
Photo by Vertigo3D via iStock
Like all common sizes, custom size photo prints look best when printed from high-quality image files.
For Artbeat Studios, custom size photo prints, a resolution of 150 ppi is preferred, though they can print anything from 100 ppi to 300 ppi. A good rule of thumb for the maximum size to print an image is to divide the number of pixels in a file by the ppi. A 3600x5400 pixel image divided by 150 ppi gives a result of 24x36” as the maximum size for extreme sharpness, though a larger size is certainly doable.
In the post-processing program you use, there will be a control for cropping that lets you specify a size or is unconstrained. Choose whatever function lets you constrain the aspect ratio to a specific size to achieve a specific aspect ratio.
Then adjust as much as you want, checking the finished file size for the targeted ppi. For Artbeat Studios, you’ll also want to save it as Adobe RGB 1998 color profile. Save as a JPEG or TIFF (LZW compression) and upload the file. They can handle a file up to 500MB or larger if you email or file transfer a link.
Displaying Custom Size Photo Prints
Displaying the custom size photo prints you have made is where the real fun is. Depending on what type of print you've made, paper, metal, acrylic, or canvas, you have all sorts of display options, including framed and unframed.
Artbeat Studios can make huge enlargements, paper, canvas, and acrylic can be printed up to 48x96 (4x8 feet!), and metal prints can be made up to 40x60” for awe-inspiring displays of wall art.
Artbeat Studios for Custom Size Photo Prints
Artbeat Studios is a great source for creating your custom size photo prints out of their fine papers and specialty materials of HD acrylic, metal, and canvas.
Watch this video from the Artbeat Studios YouTube channel to see the unboxing of a 30x82” custom size photo print:
In addition to superb quality, they offer fast turnaround times, affordable prices, excellent customer service, and various professional services. Try them out for all your printing needs and for custom size photo prints.