Photograph something at 100%?


TPF Noob!
Oct 21, 2007
Reaction score
Orlando, FL
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Okay, so I was requested to shoot a sign at the front of our building...its a vinyl sign on a window. I was asked to shoot the sign at 100% so that it shows actual size once printed without any sort of editing.

I have the following lenses at my disposal.

Nikkor 50mm 1.8
Nikkor 24-70mm 2.8
Nikkor 70-200 2.8
Sigma 50mm 2.8 Macro

Will any of these lenses do that? There is probably an easy answer that I just don't know.

Problem number one, the sign you are shooting probably uses a different size ratio then your lenses...kind of like standard tv and widescreen tv. Problem 2, this is just a silly unreasonable request from someone who doesn't understand cropping. Yes, you should get as close to the final product in camera, but when the size ratio doesn't work out it is ok to do some cropping.
Thanks! It did seem a little ridiculous but figured I would ask. The person that asked is a graphic designer that knows PS very well, but they think they know photography and they like to test me...
In photography....1:1 usually means that the size of the object is the same as the size of the image on the film (or sensor). To get this, you usually need to be very close...hence the need for a macro lens etc.

To put this into perspective, something about the size of a dime would just fill the frame at a 1:1 ratio.

If you want a PRINT that is life size, then that is up to the size and resolution of the digital image and the resolution at which it will be printed.
Also, You're using a D300 so cropping won't lose a lot of detail anyway...pretty capable camera that one. If they're really anal there, get as much of the image in the shot and just chop off the edges by changing your canvas size...this way you're not technically cropping in the traditional sense and you won't lose any quality at all. This should appease the graphic heads.
I'm a graphic designer by trade and I'm trying to understand the need for such a request. What is the deigner's finished piece going to be? Is he making another sign? If that's the case, then he should use whatever you give him, and re-produce it using Adobe Illustrator. Vector files can be enlarged as big as you want without any quality loss.
It has to be a pretty small sign for you to photograph it 1:1...

But from what it sounds they want a life sized print. Then you just have to take the picture, measure the sign, and then adjust the size in PS so that the sign gets the same print size.

BTW: never let any designers tell you how to do things. Let them tell you what they need, and you decide how to do it...
if its vinly banner logo with just some graphics designs on it you could take a photo of it then bring it into Adobe Illustrator and re-draw in vector format so you can make a print out any size without loosing quality, But then again im not sure what your working with so it may not work.
What? Nobody going to ask?

How big is the original sign?

If it's 10", you can make a 100% size, from the original photo, "without enlarging" if that's what they meant.

Otherwise read what Mike wrote again. If it's 10" and they actually want 1:1 you'll need an 8x10 view camera. :mrgreen:

I think there's something wrong with how they are describing what they want. If not, it's a pretty strange request. Life size on the sensor is roughly the size of a postage stamp.

For a life size digital image, you would have to stitch together 11 or 12 images wide and 7 or 8 images high. The final image would be over 100 megabytes, as a compressed JPG. It just doesn't seem logical?
Okay, so I was requested to shoot a sign at the front of our building...its a vinyl sign on a window. I was asked to shoot the sign at 100% so that it shows actual size once printed without any sort of editing.

This is not making sense to me as is.

If you print it on a 7"x5" it'll be that size, if you print it on a 20"x16" then it'll be that size and so on.

Then we can take into account the output dpi. You need to ask him what will the output dpi be. So if he knows he's going to output at 300dpi and your camera makes an image of say 3000px X 2100px (10 inches X 7 inches @ 300dpi) and the subject is 5inches tall then the subject should fill exactly 1/2 of the frame on the long side. In this example 10inches is the biggest the subject can be, if the subject is bigger than 10 inches then it can't be done at this output dpi.

Last note: Triple check everything before you pass it over and make sure you have it exact just to out do him ;)

Most reactions

New Topics