Standard Photo Sizes in Inches

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The days of dropping off film at your local pharmacy or drive-through photo booth are long gone, as digital cameras and home printers have simplified photo processing. A few new challenges arise, such as knowing what size to print a picture from a family vacation you want to frame. Many standard sizes will allow you to find the right frame.

Standard Sizes

  • Pictures can be printed in all dimensions and sizes, but the easiest way to find a stock frame for your photo is to print it in one of the traditional standard sizes. These are, in inches:

    3 1/2 by 5

    4 by 6

    5 by 7

    6 by 8

    8 by 10

    11 by 14

    16 by 20

    Printing in these sizes allows you to find a frame in a photography, art or framing shop as well as department stores.

Suggestions for Sizes

  • The clearest, sharpest photos have the highest resolution. The more you increase the resolution, the more you improve the detail. Today, most digital cameras offer a choice for resolution in megapixels. The number of megapixels you use to shoot may help you decide on the best size. Some maximum size guidelines are:

    2 megapixels: 4-by-6 prints;

    3 megapixels: 5-by-7 prints;

    5 or 6 megapixels: 11-by-14 prints;

    8 megapixels: 16-by-20 prints.

Aspect Ratio

  • Be careful when sizing photos to keep the aspect ratio of height and width. You can't just stretch a photo to make it wider without making an adjustment to the height, or your photo will look distorted. A square photo would have an aspect of 1 to 1, meaning the height and width are the same. Digital cameras produce an aspect of 1.33 to 1. A 6-by-4 print (commonly referred to as a 4-by-6 print) has an aspect of 1.5-to-1. Print with a white border around the photo or crop the picture to adjust a different aspect ratio.

Pixels

  • When you download pictures from a digital camera, they will be in 72 pixels per inch (ppi). To print a quality picture you have to increase the ppi, but be careful not to enlarge the image too much or it will become distorted. For pictures up to 8 by 10 inches in size, follow these guidelines for quality:

    100 ppi: Poor to fair;

    150 ppi: Fair to good;

    200 ppi: Good to very good;

    300 ppi: Excellent.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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