I used to mat and frame square prints in square mats and frames, but lately I've been matting them in a rectangular format. Frequently I will print 11x11 and mat on 16x20, vertical orientation, with the print equidistant from the edges on top and sides, and with extra space on the bottom. I really like the look.
Originally Posted by jovo
Yes. What I meant was a square mat opening, not a square mat necessarily. I, too, mount square 'graphs in rectangular frames, but choose more the optical center than equal top and sides.
Originally Posted by eddym
Thanks for all the responses--you all have given me some things to think about. More thoughts if you got 'em.
Chuck, I think the most important thing is how you want the print to be experienced.
Originally Posted by Chuck1
If it is an intimate subject, I will aim for an intimate (small) print e.g. an LF contact print. If it is a vast subject with lots of important details then I will plan upfront to print it large and compose with that in mind e.g. paying particular attention to technical aspects associated with critical sharpness.
Two examples, both 5x7" captures... but totally different print destinations:
This one is in my opinion best contact printed. Whereas this one has no simple overriding theme but has tons of colourful details e.g. curious little bugs in the foreground, and it really only opens up in a ~40" print. I think I have to feel like I can reach into it. I tried smaller prints and it didn't work at all, and I suspect the image doesn't work on your screen either! It's very hard for me to come up with landscapes that look decent on a computer screen- I just can't think that way because that's not how I plan to look at them in print.
The point is, both are 5x7" captures that are critically sharp where they need to be and could easily go to mural size. But what can be done shouldn't dictate what should be done!
Much is said about previsualizing a composition. But we should go even further and imagine how the print will be experienced. This philosophy extends further than mere format or print size selection- it is about optimizing the entire workflow (BTZS) backwards in time, from the print to the capture.
Last edited by keithwms; 01-01-2008 at 09:04 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Here's another example - http://www.apug.org/gallery/showphot...749&ppuser=124
At the small size presented here, the building is the subject. move up to moderate size (24x30cm or so), and the small group of people in front of the building are the subject. Go up again to HUGE (more than 30" on the short side), and the white-clad woman immediately draws the eye and becomes the main subject.
Some pictures "work" only at one size, others at any size, and a few (like this one) change completely as the print size changes.
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
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personally i don't go lower than 8x10. that being said, i usually print my 35mm prints at 8x10 or 11x14. i print my medium format at 16x16 usually, but i did find some 10x10 paper on ebay and really wish i had of bought his whole stock.
i find that 11x14 and 16x16 are the most ideal sizes because it's pretty much as big as you can go before you start drastically noticing the quality diminish (in my opinion with my film and subjects). this is just my opinion as i shoot mostly 125 plus-x and 400 tri-x, which are grainy films by nature. i have shot tmax 400 and printed 20x20 medium format prints that have less grain and look less "blown-out" than my plus-x 125iso film.
what goes through my head when i make prints is "how big can i make this pictures before they start looking blown-out?". i've seen guys stretch 16x20 prints and 20x24 prints from a 35mm negative that look like crap smeared on a page. i try to keep my prints as big as they can be, but still maintain their quality.
it really depends on the type of film you use as well. when i make 11x14 prints of my 400iso film, it's about a 50/50 shot i'll like what i get. when i don't i'll go to a smaller size. it also depends on the lighting you use, the lenses you use, the subjects, the tonal range, etc. lots of things come into play. lots of photographers blow up silhouette shots bigger because of the high contrast. with my high contrast photos i can usually go one size bigger than shots that have more various tones (in the same format of course). lenses are also a factor given that some are obviously better than others. the aperature you use when you shot the negative and the aperture on your enlarger lens will determine how sharp your photo is from edge to edge and will play a factor in how big you may or may not want to go. i could go on and on about what i look for when i make the size of my photos, but it came with a lot of trial and error and my own personal taste, so be prepared for some frustration and some surprisingly pleasant results.
although, don't be scared to push your limits and the boundaries of your photographs -that's what a lot of photography is about. plus, they make small quantity packs of paper, so you don't get all wasteful. if you buy it too big, just ship it to me and i'll make good use of it.
Here's a rather extreme example ....30x30 or 38x38....of work that, imho, should never have been enlarged to these dimensions. But, the gallery in which they are currently displayed is a prominent one and must be selling them or they wouldn't remain on the walls. I visited this gallery last Saturday and saw grain big enough to fit in a salt shaker. I surmise they are enlarged from 6x6 negatives. Go figure...