Cropping photos for printing

by Artbloc on 26/02/2010

If you want to offer a service of printing people’s photos onto canvas, you’ll need a quick way of preparing your images for printing. Time is money and sizing/cropping images can take an age if not thought through properly.

You are sent a photo that you need to print on your canvas roll. Your customer wants it printed using 38mm Gallery Stretcher bars, at say, 60×45cm. Where do you start?

It will be the wrong shape usually so how’s best to crop it? What will happen to the edges that need to be wrapped? You need to crop it to size, but you don’t want to lose part of the image if it can be used as part of the wrapped edge.

The simple answer is a pre-sized template. You can make these up in advance. One for each size you offer. Now when you get a photo to print, all you need to do is drag it onto the template and straight away you can get an idea of how it’s going to work out.

Your templates should already be set at your printing resolution. (see our other article about that). Also you should add guidelines that indicate where the front of the canvas will be and how much you need to allow for the wrap. 38mm gallery stretcher bars would need 4.6cm whereas 18mm standard stretcher bars need only 2.6cm of image for the sides. Also allow some blank space top and bottom. 3.7cm each end will do. This is important if you are printing multiple photos on your canvas roll. Without this blank space the photos will be too close together and won’t leave enough canvas for you to grip when stretching.

When you drag your photo onto the template you’ll see how much you need to enlarge the image to fit. You can decide at this point if you need to contact your customer and request a better quality image.

Cropping your photo. Example 1

In this first example, the image has just been dropped onto the template. You can see that it’s quite small compared to the size you need to print, but it’s acceptable. Now enlarge the image a bit…

Cropping a Photo, Example 2

You can easily see now that the photo is the wrong shape and will require some cropping to make it fit. But now you’re not guessing,  you can see how you’ll need to crop it and see what part of the image will do for the sides. You might even decide at this point that you’re going to have to print it with white sides.

Just slide the photo around resize it, while all the time you’re seeing how it will look when printed.

There are several methods for fixing awkward photos which will be covered later.

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