Borders on prints v.s. cropping to a full bleed aspect ratio

kkamin

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My freelance business has just launched, and my first clients are parents of dancers at a dance school.

Let me know what you think of my current "white border default policy".

I consider what I do art prints, and recommend maintaining the integrity of the image by not having the image cropped (the composition altered) to accommodate the variety of aspect ratios of standard print sizes.

I explain in person that having white borders of varying sizes is a standard for art prints and that if the image is cropped in order to become a full bleed print, parts of the image will be clipped and it could be parts that they like.

Also I state that an uncropped image with a white border gives the image some breathing room, gives the colors within the print a neutral, tonal reference point and visually allows the image to sit comfortably in a defined area. Plus it sets the prints up nicely for matting.

After my hard sell, I do offer full bleed, cropped prints as an option.

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1. This is the norm right? All professional prints I have seen have borders. I thought I might have encountered some resistance or confusion since I am guessing a lot of my clients normally deal with borderless snapshots processed at their local Target or drugstore. But everyone has been cool and understanding.

2. What are your policies for printing?
 

KmH

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Welcome to the world of retail photography.

Just 'shoot fat' so you have room to crop.
 

JCleveland

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I have never seen a professional give bordered prints as the default, personally. I think that's kind of odd, although I do understand where you're coming from. (So if someone were to want a standard 5x7 and looking for frames, they would have weird white edges peeping through?)
 

FrankLamont

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Er... no, not quite.

Bleed is more preferable. Besides... You can always offer 8x12 instead of 8x10, for instance.
 
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kkamin

kkamin

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Well, I've been offering bordered prints as a default to maintain an uncropped image. Full bleed prints are by request only. A few clients are confused after getting their prints.

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I shoot digital but my experience comes from darkrooms where we would use 4-blade easels to print, and having a border on art prints was a standard. I never saw a full bleed print in the classroom or in an art gallery. I think 8x10 and larger, full bleed prints look retarded and smack of Walmart. I think anyone printing that large should matte them and they'll have some room to work with if there is a border.

But I've been printing 4x6 and 5x7 with borders to maintain the uncropped image and it seems to sit on the fence between kind of weird and kind of cool. They are nicely set up for instance, if someone wants to frame the 4x6 in a 5x7 frame with a fitted matte. But if the 4x6 is going in a 4x6 frame, I can see how people will not like the white border. But doesn't the white border look nice in way?

Idk.

I don't want to shoot fat. I shoot at a variety of focal lengths and I think if I had to be concerned about having enough room surrounding my shot for different crops, it would take me out of that creative place where I am really trying to hone in on all the elements and actions in front of the lens.

here is a sample from a recent shoot with the borders I am giving them. I feel if I had to crop some of them images, especially to the boxy, 8x10 standard size, a lot of the compositions would suffer.

border_example.jpg
 

FrankLamont

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Hmm... a 6x4 is small enough as is.
 

Dwig

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I agree that from an art print standpoint the aspect ratio of the image should be determined by the subject and not the paper. I do find the tight fit to the paper distracting on some of the images. They really need a larger set of borders, either on larger paper or with a smaller image.

The top image is the original and the lower one is more to my taste:

border_example2.jpg
 

Derrel

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I prefer a border with a 1:1:1:1.5 ratio, ie, if the top if a one-inch border, so are the two sides, and the bottom is a one and one-half inch border. Same with mattes. Equal borders do not look as visually appealing as having a larger border at the bottom on the print as a visual "base".
 

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