Scaling Aspect Ratio

What print sizes are the same aspect ratio as an 11x14 print?

It seems like aspect ratios of photographs continues to be an issue for many people. I’ve written about it before (and again, here), but recently had someone ask a question that I don’t think I covered. They wanted to know how to find other print sizes that are the same aspect ratio as an 11x14.

One quick way to do this is in Adobe Photoshop. Open a new Photoshop document and set its size to 11 inches x 14 inches at 72dpi (the resolution is actually irrelevant here, set it to whatever you want). Once you have this new blank document, go to Image > Image Size (or press Cmd-Option-I (Mac) or Ctrl-Alt-I (Win) to open the Image Size dialog box. Set the measurement in the dialog box to inches (if it isn’t already set). Click your mouse in the Width field (it should currently say 11), and use the up or down arrow keys to scroll through equivalent sizes. The arrow keys by themselves move the number is 10ths of an inch. If you hold the shift key while tapping the arrow keys the number moves in units of 1 inch.  Now you can read off various sizes that fit the same aspect ratio.

By scrolling down, you can see that 11x14 is the same aspect ratio as 10x12.727 or 9x11.455 or even 8.4x10.691. Want larger sizes? Scrolling up gives you sizes like 14x17.818 or 16x20.364.

Create a new document in Photoshop and set it to 11x14 inches

Create a new document in Photoshop and set it to 11x14 inches

Open the Image Size dialog box and set it to inches if not already set.

Open the Image Size dialog box and set it to inches if not already set.

Changed from Pixels to Inches

Changed from Pixels to Inches

Image scaled down to 10 inches on the short side

Image scaled down to 10 inches on the short side

Image scaled up to 16 inches on the long side

Image scaled up to 16 inches on the long side

It should go without saying that you can scale up or down any print ratio. Just open a new document and plug in the aspect ratio you want to scale. 2x3 (or 4x6) is a good starting point for standard dSLR files to find sizes you can print at without cropping. Or maybe your camera makes images at 3:4, so start with a new 3x4 document. What does 5x7 scale to? Start with a 5x7 document. You get the picture.

If you don’t have access to Photoshop, but you have a big sheet of paper and a ruler, you can do an analog ratio scale. Using a ruler and T-square or triangle or other favorite mechanical drawing devices, draw a rectangle to the size you want to scale from. Then draw a straight diagonal line between two opposite corners of your rectangle. Now you can draw other rectangles who’s corners line up on the diagonal. Each of the color rectangles in this illustration have the same aspect ratio as the original black outline.

Any rectangle that has its corners meet on the blue diagonal line will have the same aspect ratio as any other rectangle with its corners on the blue line.

Any rectangle that has its corners meet on the blue diagonal line will have the same aspect ratio as any other rectangle with its corners on the blue line.

I hope this adds to and helps in your understanding of aspect ratios and why you might need to crop your images differently or have uneven borders or margins for different size printing papers.

Thanks for reading!
John