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Choosing the Right Size of Your Favorite Photos

3 canvas photo prints hang on a wall. They are different size ratios to show how an image is cropped differently depending on its ratio.

Choosing the Right Size: A Guide to Printing Your Favorite Photos

Some people make it look so easy. In every room of their house, every photo print fits the space perfectly. Don’t despair. With a little understanding about factors like photo resolution and aspect ratios, and by following a few basic interior decorating rules, you can easily determine the ideal size for your photo print and decorate your home like a pro.


Resolution Determines Size

The resolution of your photo determines its quality, clarity, and sharpness. The general rule is the higher the resolution the sharper the picture. Resolution is measured in pixels per inch (PPI). Any image with fewer than 300 ppi is considered to have a low resolution, and one with 300 ppi or more is determined to be high resolution. A low photo does not mean your picture won’t look terrific, only that it should limit the size of your photo print. If the pixel count is 460 x 310 or lower, consider going with an 8”x8” or 8”x12” format for your print.


As a rule of thumb, follow these recommended picture resolutions for mid-sized to large photo prints:


16”x20” photo print

760 x 610 px

20”x30” photo print

1200 x 760 px

24”x36” photo print

1400 x 920 px

36”x48” photo print

1900 x 1400 px


Fortunately, an image with a lower resolution can look better on canvas than it would as a framed photo or acrylic print, and Photography.com has the knowledge and tools to convert low-resolution images to high resolution to give your picture a crisper look regardless of size.


Apply Aspect Ratios To Get the Whole Picture

The aspect ratio of your photo can play a role in determining the shape your photo print will take. The aspect ratio is a fraction that describes the relationship between height and length in your image. An image with a width of 500 pixels and height of 1,000 pixels would have an aspect ratio of 1:2. Conversely, if the width is 1,000 pixels and the height 500 pixels, the aspect ratio would be expressed as 2:1. The goal is to match the image to standard print aspects without the need to crop out parts of the image and leave your print looking incomplete or unbalanced.


Here is a list of the aspect ratios of the most common print sizes:


Aspect Ratio

Photo Size


3 x 4;  6 x 8; 9 x 12; 12 x 16; 18 x 24; 30 x 40; 36 x 48


5 x 7; 10 x 14; 20 x 28


8 x 10; 16 x 20; 24 x 30


10 x 12; 20 x 24


11 x 14; 22 x 28


6 x 6; 12 x 12


6 x 12; 8 x 16; 12 x 24


7 x 9; 14 x 18; 21 x 27; 28 x 36

2 :3 

2 x 3; 6 x 9; 12 x 18; 16 x 24; 20 x 30; 24 x 36



Match Print Size to Space and Style

When it’s all said and done, the most important factor for choosing the right size photo print is how great it will look on your walls. The rule of thumb for photo prints is that they should fill 50%-75% of your available wall space. If you’re hanging it behind furniture, the print’s width should not exceed the furniture’s width, and if you have any doubts, go big to fill large spaces.


Here are a few tips on best ways to display your print based on its dimensions.


Photo Size

Best Positioning

8”x10”; 11”x14”

Ideal for creating a wall gallery or if you’re placing prints in a small space


Wonderful for creating symmetry and adding a sense of balance to a space

16”x20”; 20”x24”

Looks great when displayed in pairs on walls

20”x30”; 24”x36”

Perfect behind a couch or in a large space where they command attention

30”x40”; 32”x48”

For really large areas in dens, living rooms and bedrooms


The size of your photo prints can dramatically impact the way that you and your guest feel in your home, ranging from impressions of spaciousness to intimate moods. A print that is too small can seem lost on a large wall and one that is too large can intimidate and create a sense of imbalance. Contact Photography.com today for help finding the perfect size for your photo and with all your photography questions.

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