Shooting and cropping for prints

As my wedding print orders are coming in from clients (hurray for clients who know the value of professional lab prints), I wanted to touch upon cropping in frame, and remind you that if your clients want to blow up one of their images to an 8×10, they will have to lose part of the image, so you should try to keep enough negative space.

So my tip is this – take a step back.  I also take this tip with shooting editorial shots for magazines since images tend to bleed over the page.

A true size is 4×6, but I always encourage my clients to order at least a 5×7 because prints to display always look better bigger, never be afraid to go big!  So keeping that in mind, especially while taking family portraits, have plenty of room on both sides of the frame for cropping purposes.

  • If a client orders an 8×10 that I think squeezes the image too much, I order a complimentary 5×7 in the same print so they have another option as well.
  • I do think it’s important if not mandatory to offer your clients places to order their images for the sake of quality control (because no one gets rich off print orders), or at least direct them to a lab.  Your job shouldn’t be over once you give them the disc, help your clients get the best out of the beautiful images you worked so hard to capture and edit, which is also part of your branding!
  • If a client orders a print larger than an 8×10 such as an 11×14, I always mount it on matboard so it avoids any wrinkles of any sort when they do frame it.  It’s only 1/16″ thick and definitely worth it!

Happy shooting!

Diana Elizabeth always gets happy when she sees print orders from clients because it means they fully understand the value of professional prints and she knows that what is being displayed is the absolute best quality!  

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive antique shopper. You can typically find her in her garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party.


  • J. Weinland

    First off, I admire you as a photographer and really appreciate your tips! I always have issues with printing companys do you have any suggestions? They always seem to over crop my photos… Any advice or places to print from is appreciated! Thank you! :-)

  • Mailinh Nguyen

    Always love your tips! I also love the little tidbits about yourself that you share with us below. ;)

  • Tam Nguyen Photography

    I always refer my clients to print from Bay Photo lab, if they so choose to print on their own. The price is 3-4x more than their local printer, but the final results are worth it, and I’ve never had anyone come back not happy after Bay Photo.


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