Selecting Print Size - Stover Photo

Yes! You did it. You either got the place you wanted, found a print that you loved, or have taken a picture you just have to get up on the wall! Now what. How do you take that big blank wall and have the picture take up just the right amount of space? 

Start with the easy stuff. Is it going over a bed, couch or another type of furniture?If it is not a blank wall only measure the open wall space, from the top of the furniture to the ceiling rather than from floor to ceiling. Then you can measure the width. You are going to want to account for what is on the wall already when deciding on a size. A a picture that is hung over your furniture should be less than 70 percent of the width of the furniture. So say you have a 7 foot or 84-inch-long sofa, you picture should be no more than 60 inches wide. When working with an empty wall follow the .40 rule or 3/8ths rule (.375). You want to leave empty space in the amount of .40 of the width of the picture on each side. This means that you can determine the perfect size painting by multiplying the width of the wall by 0.40 So lets say you have a blank wall that is 8 feet or 96 inches wide. This requires a picture that is between 36-38 inches wide. (96" x’s .4 =’s 38.4”) or (96" x’s .375 =’s 36”)  

The next thing you need to consider is what are standard sizes? Your photographer, local gallery, or print company can easily help you figure this out. For this example you would have the following size options


18x36

24x36

19x38

28x38

38x38


As a photographer we try to work in “standard” crop sizes. What does that mean typically?


1x1

2x3

5x7

8x10

11x14

11x17


These sizes easily scale into larger sizes. If you see a 8x10 you like that can be very easily printed as a 32x40 or have a 5x7 become a 30x42. 

Another option to consider is rather than have one large print you can do a collage of 2-3 smaller ones. Then you need to calculate the space between pictures if you’ll be hanging more than one. For example, if you need to cover 40 inches of the wall with the print to meet the .4 rule, subtract the space you plan to leave between each picture. So say you want 3.5 inches between each picture you would target 11 inch wide prints (40 inches - 7 inches =’s 33/3 =’s 11) The final thing and part of why I love metal and canvas so much. Is you do need to factor factor frame size into your choice. Even a moderate 2-inch frame will add 4 inches of width, altering the ratio. If you have a thicker frame make sure to calculate that into your layout. As always if you have any questions please let me know!

Powered by SmugMug Log In