Your Definitive Guide to Photo Print Sizes

Photo Print Sizes

Printing of image is almost a lost art. Till the late 90s, this was an essential part of photography. Many years before when I started shooting with a small pinhole 35mm camera, there was no chance of viewing the result without printing or at least developing the negative. Digital imaging system changed the whole concept of photography, except some fundamental parts like framing and exposure. Today, how many of us really bother to print after taking a photo with a high-end smartphone or DSLR camera? Needless to say, there are still few people who really love photography and are in search of good printing lab. And undoubtedly, I’m one of them.

Printing images after a weekend tour is a charm mixed with excitement. For most people, 4X6 and 5X7 are pretty common sizes. Those who exercise photography and experiment with it use to print regular to poster size photo. To understand the concept of modern photo print, you must have a clear understanding of MP (megapixel), because we are dealing with digital photography and digital printing system. In my time, there was not any concept of megapixel. We could print any desirable sizes from the negative. Well-focused photo merely lacked information when printed in very large size. But in modern digital photo printing, the quality of image may vary with increasing printing size. Good to know that one million pixel makes a megapixel which is the basic unit of any digital photo today. Clarity and sharpness of digital photo increase with MP. Resolution of any photo in printing technology is measured in dpi (dots per inch). Normally 300dp i is used to maintain a standard resolution.Photo Print SizesPrinting a photo gets much easier than ever before. Even non-commercial inkjet printers are able to produce outstanding image quality. But, no one can imagine photo print without photo paper. Modern inkjet-compatible photo papers are different than traditional photo printing papers.

Varieties of Photo Papers

When I was a teenager, I printed many black and white photos in my own dark room with a manual enlarger. Black and white photo papers were cheap enough to experiment with it. Mostly, I developed photos at night in my darkroom. Varieties of papers were available on the market. Most black and white photo paper I handled were of 8X10 in size and were specially wrapped with a black plastic sheet inside a hard paper-made envelope.Photo Print SizesDigital era photo papers largely differ from old day’s traditional photo papers. Conventional photopapers were light-sensitive. Image on the paper was the result of reaction between light and chemical emulsion on the paper. Today’s photo papers are not light-sensitive, rather they are ink-sensitive. Images are drawn on the paper through a sophisticated ink flow technology. Inkjet printers are famous among amateur photographers and many quick service studios.

Major Properties of Photo Paper

Papers are divided in two major types according to the texture of the surface. The first one is glossy, which is widely used in printing, and the second one is matte, which has non-reflective surface. Metallic is another type of paper which is used for increased sharpness. In this article, I will focus on some famous photo paper brands. Size, shape, thickness,and surface finish vary according to the purpose of images. Printing a portrait on an envelope-shaped paper is not a good idea. Likewise, printing a panoramic view on a 4X6, which is also called post card size, is not recommended.

Different countries have their respective size names but in most cases sizes are the same. Like in the US, 4X6, which is a standard print size, is denoted as 4R, where the number 4 is the length of small side of a print in inches. The sizes are fixed, which means 4R always denotes 4X6 and the number can never be replaced with any other number.

5R size stands next to 4R. Most photographers choose 5R to be the best size for hinge-type photo album and suitable for marriage and birthday photography. As a photographer, personally I use 5R size very often.

After 5R, 8X10, which is denoted as 8R, is the most common size. This size is occasionally used for portrait and to make portfolio. This size is not suitable for photobook-type album.

Apart from these frequently used sizes, there are some other sizes papers that are available on the market. For your understanding, I am giving you a table of size.

Us Name English standard Inches Centimeter
Passport Passport 1.37X1.77 3.5X4.5
2R Wallet 2X3 5.08X7.62
4R Standard 4X6 10.16X15.24
5R 5X7 12.7X17.78
8R 8X10 20.32X25.4
10R 10X12 25.4X30.48
12R 12X15 30.48X38.1

Some Famous Companies and Their Products

There are a number of companies that produce photo printing papers. Among them, Epson, Kodak, HP, and Canon are famous for their quality products. They maintain international standard sizes. All these companies offer glossy, soft gloss, matte, and metallic finish paper. However,the quality of surface finishing material and thickness may vary from company to company. Most companies produce papers exclusively for inkjet printers, but there are some exception.

HP Photo Papers

The company produces superb quality photo papers that dry out very fast, exhibiting a lab grade image quality, which has extraordinary water and humidity resistance capability. Thickness of the paper is just excellent, which can last really long. They claim that their papers are fade-resistant for more than 60 years. Their papers are compatible with inkjet and pigmented ink systems.Photo Print SizesHP offers a range of sizes, from 4X6 in to 13X19 in. In most sizes, the thickness is 10.5 millimeters. Available sizes are 4X6 in glossy, 4X6 in borderless, 4X6in soft gloss, 5X7 in glossy, 8.5X11 in glossy and matte, glossy A, printable sticker 2X3 in, and 13X19 in glossy.

Epson Photo Papers

Epson is a renowned photo paper and printer manufacturer and has wide range of photo papers.At the same time, Epson is quite cheaper than other papers.The company is offering long-lasting and fade-resistant, instant drying papers in different sizes. The available sizes are 4X6 in glossy, 9.1 mil thickness, 5X7 in glossy, 10.4 mil thickness, 8.5X11 in, 10.4 mil thickness, 8X10 in glossy, 11.8 mil thickness, 13X19 in, 11.8 mil thickness, 11X14 in, and 10.4 mil thickness.Photo Print SizesOccasionally,I used some of these papers and got amazed by the result. They are of superb quality and very easy to handle. Plastic or fiber made frames are extremely durable than wooden ones.

Most Used Photo Frame Sizes

Printed photo can’t be displayed on wall or tabletop without a frame. The use of matching frame can highlight the theme of the image and increase the contrast. This helps blend the picture with the background. Proper framing can increase the life of the photo. These stuffs are made of varieties of materials like wood, plastic, fiber, and acrylic. Apart from common sizes, frames can be customized according to the size of the photo and display option. Many like designer square-shaped photo frame instead of rectangular one to display a portrait.My advice is to choose a frame that suits the image. Photo Print SizesSome knowledge of shape, color scheme, and interior designing would help to choose right photo frame for individual picture.

The size of frame basically gives the measurement of inside area of the frame. Original size of frame may vary frame to frame. For example, 8X10 in photo would fit inside an 8X10 frame, but if the frame has a 2-inch border, which is made of wood or plastic or other decorative material, the original frame size would be 12X14in. When purchasing a frame, always look for acid-free mark, as this would help to increase the life the photo. The size of inside area and outside area of a frame may vary according to border width and material used for the frame.

Mat opening of a photo frame is another thing to be considered when purchasing frame. Mat opening follows the shape of the image. If your picture is rectangular, you have to use a rectangular mat opening frame. Photo looks much beautiful in these types of frame, which leave some white space between the image and the border of the frame. This white space is actually a thick cardboard, in the center of which the picture is placed from the back. For your better understanding, I am giving you a chart of photo frame size.

Frame size in inches Frame size in centimeter
4X6 10.16X15.24
5X7 12.7X17.78
6X8 15.24X20.32
8X10 20.32X25.4
8.5X11 21.59X27.94
11X14 27.94X35.56
16X20 40.64X50.8
20X24 50.8X60.96
24X30 60.96X76.2

These are some common frame sizes available in art and craft stores.

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