Processing Question

dostagamom

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I have been taking pictures for friends recently and just burned them to a CD so that they could print them whenever they wanted. Some of the them required cropping so I just cropped them to a 4X6 ratio. They were mainly wanting these pictures for Christmas cards. One of them wants to enlarge on of the prints to an 11x14. I guess my question is how do I crop and save the pictures initially so that when I burn them to a CD they can print what ever size they want and still get a clear sharp image. Oh BTW...I have Photoshop Elements.
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Big Mike

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I would suggest that you leave your images at the size that your camera gives you (and you should always be using the biggest size & highest resolution settings).

Any photo lab will be able to crop the image to the correct aspect ratio.

If you know the size that they will be printing at, then you can crop to that ratio and resize the image accordingly.

I think the crop tool in Elements is similar to the Photoshop crop tool. You should be able to input the dimension and the resolution setting. The tool will lock the ratio and you just crop as you see fit. If you have entered a resolution, it will up or down size the image. 300 PPI is the standard value for printing images.

When I do this, I save a copy of the file with the size. 4589-11x14-print.jpg for example.
 
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dostagamom

dostagamom

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Thank you so much Big Mike...your explanations are GREAT!!!
I do have the option of choosing the no restriction on cropping. Is that a good idea to use or would some of the picture be lost when they went to have the prints made? Like heads being cut off or feet being cropped above the ankles, etc.
 

Big Mike

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I do have the option of choosing the no restriction on cropping.
I'm not sure what you mean by that :scratch:
 
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dostagamom

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I am not at my computer at home but I believe that it says "no restriction". I would assume it means that I do not have to specifiy the ratio that I want to crop to.?. Is that OK to use when you know that the person will want reprints?
 

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I guess that would be fine. Really though, If you are giving them one file, I would suggest that you leave them room to crop...by not cropping it yourself.

For example, if you crop it to a 4X6 (2:3) ratio, it might look good...but further cropping to somthing like an 8x10 (4:5) might cut something off. If they want an 8X10, it might have been better to crop from the original, not after you had already cropped it once.

Also, when you crop, you are basically throwing away pixels...and the fewer pixels you have, the harder it is to make an enlargement look good.

Sometimes, when I give someone a disc, I will have the images saved in different ratios. 4x6, 5x7 and 8x10. If I do this, I will also resize the images to the correct resolution for those size prints. I might also give them a copy that is low resolution, which they can use for web or E-mail. It's a bit of extra work to make all those different copies...but some people have no idea what they are doing when it comes to digital images...so I take the guess work out of it for them.
 
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dostagamom

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Thank you so much for the explanation. I will do that...when I name them I will just add 4x6,8x10 etc. to the file name so they can see what they are printing right?
 

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That's what I do.

The only problem I've found with this scenario...is when you/they take the files to the lab to be printed. Most labs have kiosk stations now, where you upload and select your files to be printed. Some of them don't show you the file names, just the thumbnails. It may be hard to tell which file you need for the size of print that you want...although if it's wrong, the computer will usually ask you to crop it, in which case, you probably have the wrong file selected.

It's much easier on systems that show you the file name.
 

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You want to be careful when dropping off odd-sized pictures to be printed. Walmart, especially, is bad about letting their computer do the cropping. When I first started with digital photography my camera took pictures at 4.5 x 6. It took me a while to realize why my prints were messed up. I had to learn to crop my pictures to the correct ratio before dropping them off to be printed or they'd crop them all wrong, cutting off people's heads, etc.

If I think that someone might want sizes other than 4 x 6, I'll do what Big Mike suggests...adding extra files, cropped to the correct ratio. That way, they don't have to do the cropping and the picture will look the way you intended it to look. HTH.
 

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