Are you considering offering gallery wrapped canvas prints to your customers for the first time? Not sure which are the most popular sizes to carry while evaluating the concept and opportunity? This article will help you get started…
Assuming that the subject of your prints will primarily be photography (fine art prints will largely be determined by the artist and based on the original), pixel aspect ratio will be the single best tool for determining the most popular sizes to offer.
Pixel Aspect Ratio: Describes how the width of a pixel in a digital image compares to the height of that pixel. For example, a traditional 35mm film camera has a frame that is approximately 36mm wide and 24mm high, which is best interpreted as a 3:2 ratio. Most professional cameras and Digital SLR camera’s these days also shoot in a 3:2 aspect ratio.
This means that most of the images that you will come across will be formatted in this 3:2 aspect ratio, especially if you are working with professional photographers. Therefore the 3:2 ratio will be your primary rule-of-thumb when choosing which sizes to offer as you will be able to print these images completely, without having to crop and lose some portion of the image. Examples of 3:2 aspect ratio are 8”x12”, 12”x18”, 16”x24”, 20”x30”, 24”x36”, 32”x48”, 36”x54” and so on.
There are also a handful of widely popular sizes that do not follow this logic as most consumer point and shoot cameras (PAS) use the 4:3 aspect ratio. While considering images that you may receive from those who are not professional photographers one must also take into account that images may be cropped before they are sent in to be printed. Here is a list of other sizes that are known to be very popular: 8”x10”, 11”x14”, 16”x20”, 24”x30”. These sizes fall very closely to the 4:3 aspect ratio, with minimal cropping required.
If you are just getting started with canvas prints, you may want to minimize your investment in this project while maximizing your potential to earn sales. Therefore, keeping your stretcher bar inventory low, while offering a wide selection of possible sizes, may be a goal of yours. In this case, you should look for multiple sizes that use the same width bar (in one direction). An example of this would be 8”x12” and 12”x18”, because you can use 12” bars to make both of these prints. Another would be 16”x20” and 20”x24”.
Here is a closer look at the popular sizes that fall into the 3:2 aspect ratio. If resizing your image is needed, you will be able to size it to match another frame size in the same ratio. The higher the resolution you have to begin with, the better the results will be when enlarging your file to print at a bigger size. For canvas printing, we recommend aiming for 200dpi at your final output size (If you have an 8”x12” @ 300dpi, scaling it up proportionally will get you a 12”x18” @ 200dpi. Let’s take a closer look at how this works with the 3:2 aspect ratio:
Figure A: Leave Resample Image Unchecked. This will ensure that the image is scaled proportionately. Figure B:Type the new width you need and the height/resolution will be scaled proportionately.
The diagram above illustrates what you can achieve with a 20”x30” image @ 200dpi. By simply adjusting the Image Size in Photoshop (make sure Resample Image in not checked), you can quickly size to other sizes in the same ratio. To set custom sizes you can create with this aspect ratio, simply type in the width you want and the height/resolution will be scaled proportionally.
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