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Please explain printing to me


Hi all,

Firstly I've read/watched a fair bit about this so I'm not entirely ignorant but I still have questions....

I have started to print my images with varying degrees of success (I use a local printing lab). The first set I sent I did blind without any appreciation of free cropping and the impact it has. I niaevely thought that in 2017 my digital photography wouldn't be restricted by the paper industry. Anyway, what is the best way to do this in Lightroom? I use a crop sensor Nikon which I believe uses 2:3 ratio. So if I lock my cropping to that ratio I'll be golden right? I can then order prints in any 2:3 ratio?? 4x6, 8x12, 10x15, 12x18, and so forth? Really hope this is correct. If I want any other size do I just set this as required? Do I keep PPI to 300?

In my most recent order I asked for a white border around my images but when it arrived it was uneven. I followed the above formula so why did this happen?
Also, which file format can I send them? The DNG or should I just send JPEG? It seems difficult to get clear info on this. Each video or article I read deals with every little element and not everything I need to know.

I'd really appreciate any help


Always on
Unless you're looking for 100% complete accuracy on things like calibrating your screen and matching print profiles and all manner of other things, in my experience it's much simpler and I've only had one difficulty once when trying to get a dark photograph printed. It turned out that printing dark photographs is not easy.

Your ratios are correct. In addition if you want a 10"x8" photograph then you'll notice this ratio is 5:4. If a printing company (or printer) has the option it doesn't present too much of a problem. If you save a file as a jpeg and with the colour profile sRGB then the printing company can usually make a good job of it.

The 300 DPI (dots per inch and not pixels per inch) is what you're aiming for but a few pixels will be missing because PPI (what one sees on the screen) and DPI (what one sees in print) are slightly different. To print a 12"x8' photograph you're looking for 12x300 by 8x300 which is 3600px x 2400px. With a 10"x8" the dimensions of the jpg would be 3000px x 2400px.

In my experience with my printing you can go down to around 150DPI and I've not noticed any image quality difference. So if your final jpg is only 2100px along it's longest side and it's a 10"x8" photograph you want printing then the DPI is 210 but you will still be able to print it without noticeable loss of image quality.

Re the white border, I put a border around one of my photographs and it came out not central and missed entirely on another photograph. There must be a formula for the EXACT size in pixels somewhere but every time I've searched I just see 300DPI. I also suspect it might vary from printer to printer.


What a brilliant reply thank you. I think I will order borderless from here on.
I've not even thought about frames just yet as that appears to open up even more variables....border, no border....

Ramble Vision

Mountain Climber
Super Moderator
I find it best to leave nothing to chance and make the border myself. all you need to do is size and crop the the photograph to the size you want, EG 15" x 10" or whatever size you want, doesn't need to be a standard ratio.

Then in photoshop its just a matter of changing the canvas size, for this I select the next standard size up i.e 18 x 12 this creates the border and leaves the image dead centre. then if you wish you can move image around or add a title underneath what ever. but when you send the image to printers and ask for an 18 x 12 print you will get exactly what you want, no surprises.


Always on
Premium Member
In terms of cropping, sites such as Photobox allow you to preview your prints, and thus you can see what (if any) cropping being applied will look like.


Thanks. I am starting to I understand it. I'm hoping to have some images for sale soon. I was worried about this printing minefield but I think that if each image is cropped to a requested/specific size prior to printing I can't go far wrong.....

Do you print jpep?


I guess this is all to do with the relationship between full frames cameras, printing and frames.