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What are the common aspect ratios, image sizes and photograph sizes? How are they related to each other? Using the right sizes and aspect ratios for your photography is important to help you create your next project in line with what you have envisioned. When you are posting on Instagram and other social media it’s also crucial to get your photos correctly sized using the correct aspect ratios to allow your work to express its full qualities for the audience.
Everything you need to know about Aspect Ratios.
The Aspect Ratio on a picture measures the proportional sizes of the image’s width and height. It’s usually written with the two numbers being separated by a colon, for example 3:2. In this example, the image would have a width of 3 compared to its height of 2 meaning that a 3:2 aspect ratio would be a rectangle.
It’s important to be aware of the aspect ratio of an image because it will be displayed differently on different devices, such as a computer screen or mobile phone. This is critical to consider for all types of web design and content creation so you would want to use a different aspect ratio for mobile phone content or a blog, social media or content designed to be displayed on a desktop computer monitor. If you use the wrong aspect ratio the images can become stretched and distorted with lower resolutions; all of which will take away from the image quality and make the work look amateur.
Aspect Ratio and Image Size.
- 1:1 Aspect Ratio. This is an image that has equal width and height which means that it is a square. Profile pictures on social media are 1:1 and it’s a ratio that is often used for mobile phone screens, a whole host of social media platforms including Instagram, print photography and more. However, it’s not used for TV and rarely in videography. An example of an image with an aspect ratio of 1:1 would be a 1080×1080 pixel image, or an 8×8 inch print.
- 3:2 Aspect Ratio. This classic aspect ratio has its origins in 35 mm photography and film and is still very commonly employed for standard print photography. A pixel image size of 1080×720 has an aspect ratio of 3:2. If we want to work this out for ourselves we can by simply dividing 3 by 2, in which case we get an answer of 1.5; and then dividing 1080 by 720, where we also get an answer of 1.5. This is how we can tell that they have the same aspect ratio because the ratio between the two numbers is identical! A common photograph print size that has the aspect ratio of 3:2 is a 6×4 inch print. Notice too, that 6 divided by 4 also equals 1.5.
- 4:3 Aspect Ratio. The 4:3 aspect ratio is sometimes used for TV displays as well digital cameras and computer screens. An image that has the pixel size of 1024×768 also has an aspect ratio of 4:3. When it comes to photos an 8×6 inch print has a 4:3 aspect ratio as well.
- 16:9 Aspect Ratio. This is an aspect ratio that you usually see on more modern computer screens, widescreen TVs and also on presentation pages and slides. The 16:9 recently became the generally accepted international standard for monitors and TVs. You can tell this because it is a slimmer rectangular shape than the older 4:3 aspect ratio. An image with a pixel size of 1920×1080 has an aspect ratio of 16:9, as does a 1280×720 pixel image.
Common Photograph Sizes for your Reference.
If you’ve ever wondered what size you should be printing out your photos then here is a helpful guide to give you an idea of what other people tend to do. You can of course print your image at any size you want it to be however, depending on what you are trying to achieve, sometimes a smaller print out is more effective than a large one as is the case with flyers for instance. When selecting what size to use in your printouts, think about the environment that they will be in and how they can have the most impact on your potential audiences.
|4×6 inches and 5×7 inches||This is commonly used for high street photo prints. Also used in physical portfolios or display small art work.|
|8×10 inches||Often used in standard portrait prints and larger art pieces.|
|8.5×11 inches||Usually used for commercial flyers.|
|12×18 inches and 18×24 inches||Ideal for use in advertising posters and on the wall art displays/photo exhibitions.|
|24×37 inches||Perfect for outdoor poster advertisements or large art prints.|
What Aspect Ratio Should You Use for Landscape photography?
Traditionally landscape photography is done using a 3:2 aspect ratio. This goes back to the old 35mm cameras that helped to launch photography into the consciousness of the world as it started to be seen as a valid art form. Although, that said there are no strict rules that you must follow but it can be worth bearing in mind the older traditions of photography when you are making decisions.
How to adjust the Aspect Ratio on your digital camera.
There are many digital cameras on the market that allow you to change the aspect ratio before you take a picture. Sony and Canon digital cameras usually have a mode setting where you can select from 3:2, 4:3, 16:9 and 1:1 aspect ratios. This great flexibility allows you to create the correctly ratioed pictures for your various needs, for example the 1:1 aspect ratio is best for Instagram and other social media while 16:9 is ideal for videos. Having this flexibility on your camera will reduce the amount of post production work you will need to do on your images before sharing them and using them online.
Common Photo Sizes and Aspect Ratios.
It can be daunting to take in all the information surrounding the details of the various common photo sizes and the different aspect ratios that you can use to get the most out of your work on different platforms that are available. However, just learn about it bit by bit and trust that in time it will become second nature to you!
Which aspect ratio do you like when shooting photos and videos?
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