What are minilabs?###
In modern photo laboratories, the bulk of photographs are printed on special machines called minilabs. This equipment is focused on printing small and medium formats – usually from 10 x 15 to 30 x 90 cm inclusive. The peculiarity of minilabs is the optimization of processes for mass photo printing of standard (not arbitrary) formats.
Using a special laser or LED head, the image from the RGB graphic file is exposed on photo paper with a photosensitive emulsion, then the print goes through the classic “wet” process. Modern minilabs, combined with technologies for working over a local network, make it possible to print 1000-1800 digital prints of 10 x 15 per hour or more.
When printing from photographic film, a negative or slide is scanned with a special built-in scanner, then work with the image is done in the same way as with a regular file. In small laboratories, where stopping production is not too critical for the business, there is usually one machine. In medium and large laboratories, less than 2-3 high-performance minilabs are rarely installed.
The photo printing operator makes color correction.
Over the past few years, the market for minilab manufacturers has narrowed to two giants – Noritsu and Fuji. According to unofficial data, at this time attempts were made to unite the relevant divisions into a single corporation, but the Antimonopoly Committee of Japan did not allow this.
As a result, today both companies produce almost identical minilabs, but under different logos. All other minilab manufacturers have ceased operations. Recently, Chinese manufacturers, in particular Sophia, have begun to appear on the market.
Despite the fact that their minilabs actually copy Noritsu, the quality of these machines leaves much to be desired, so such machines are used mainly in laboratories without any significant requirements for print quality. Apparently, the share of such machines in the world is still insignificant.
In addition to minilabs, there are printing machines for large formats. The leader of “large format” in our time is the Italian manufacturer Durst. In general, the printing technologies on these machines are the same as on minilabs. The main differences are the possible print formats, resolution and color gamut, which tends to be slightly higher for larger machines.
10 tricks for perfect photos
Do you like to take photographs? Then this article is for you. In it you will find 10 simple photography techniques that will improve the quality of your photos.
The outstanding French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson said: “The lot of a photographer is constantly disappearing things. And when they leave, no amount of ingenuity, nothing in the world will make them come back.” In order not to miss “disappearing things”, you need to hone your skills. Here are some tips to help you.
11 questions about digital photo printing (part one)
Envelopes with printed photographs.
Digital photography allows you to view the results of your shooting directly on your computer, so today we print much less often than in film days. However, precisely because of the “exclusivity” of the task, the requirements for the quality of hard copies also increase: having spent time selecting and processing the best photographs, we expect to see an equally high-quality result on paper.
- What methods of printing photos are there?
- What are minilabs?
- What is the maximum file size that can be printed?
- What is the difference between 10 x 15 and 11 x 15?
- Bleed frame or whole frame – how to set the print mode?
- How to control the sharpness of a print?
- Which paper should I choose – matte or glossy?
- How to make the print match the picture on the monitor?
- What is color correction in printing and why is it needed?
- How can I find out the color correction parameters made by the operator during printing?
- Is it possible to print real black and white?
If you shoot in RAW, you can adjust the white balance later. But if you want to use JPEG images right away and at the same time photograph in artificial or mixed light, then it is better to set the white balance manually.
Specific settings vary depending on the camera model. But the principle is the same.
Custom white balance can also be used to emphasize color tones in a photo. Use the technique described above, but the standard should not be colorless, but colored. For example, cold blue. It will give the frame a warm yellowish tint – what is needed for shooting the haze of dawn.
What is the difference between 10 x 15 and 11 x 15?###
Initially, print formats were calculated for the most common frame formats. At the dawn of the film era, most amateur cameras shot with 135-type film in a 24 x 36 mm frame format. The aspect ratio of such a frame is 2:3 – it was for this that print formats 10 x 15, 20 x 30, 30 x 45, etc. were created
With the advent of digital cameras, manufacturers began to focus on the format of computer monitors, which in most cases is close to the 3:4 aspect ratio. Today, both types of cameras are common: * with an aspect ratio of 2:
If you print a 3:4 frame in a 10 x 15 format, a significant portion of the image will either be left out of print or wide white margins will appear on the image (depending on the print mode). To eliminate this misunderstanding, photo laboratories began to actively offer clients a new print format – 11 x 15, the aspect ratio of which is close to 3:4. Today it has already become standard – photo albums, frames, envelopes, boxes, and various accessories are made for it.
If you print photographs without preliminary cropping, then to select the most optimal print formats you need to find out (calculate) the aspect ratio of the frame in your camera.
Below are some common print formats based on aspect ratios:
|Aspect ratio 2:3
|Aspect ratio 3:4
|10 x 15 cm
|11 x 15 cm
|15 x 20 cm
|15 x 22 cm
|30 x 45 cm
|30 x 40 cm
Many people are afraid to use a flash, whether built-in or external. But once you become friends with her, the quality of your photos will increase significantly.
The “bounce” flash built into the camera is often ridiculed. External flash really gives better results. But the built-in one can also be used to add sparkle to the eyes or highlight shadows.
Using the flash is easy. There are many external flashes that work with the camera’s built-in metering system to produce balanced exposures.
Once you start using flash, you’ll soon be enjoying fiddling with it and experimenting with manual controls. Flash is a great tool for everyday photography, not just for special occasions. Just try it!
Another concept associated with depth of field is hyperfocal focusing distance. You’ve probably seen landscapes where the background and foreground are equally sharp. To achieve this in your photos, you need to learn how to use hyperfocal distance.
Simply put, this is the same depth of field, but when focusing at infinity. Like depth of field, hyperfocal distance depends on the focal length of the lens and aperture. The smaller the aperture and focal length to the subject, the smaller it is.
There are apps that help you determine hyperfocal distance and depth of field. They will tell you the ideal focal length, the distance to the subject, and the aperture.
Depth of field
This is the range of distances at which objects appear sharp in the frame. This is one of the key parameters of photography, which, among other things, can cause a blurry picture.
A wide aperture (F/2.8) results in a shallow depth of field. Conversely, a smaller aperture (for example, F/16) increases the area of focus.
You can also control the depth of field using the focal length and the distance to the subject. The closer to the subject you shoot or the longer the lens you use, the shallower the depth of field – only a narrow strip of the image will be in focus. And vice versa.
Therefore, when choosing a lens for shooting, think about how it will affect the depth of field. If necessary, adjust the aperture and/or distance to the subject being photographed.
Document formats are measured in cm!
- For different types of IDs – 3*4 cm;
- For visas – 3.5*4.5 cm;
- For a passport – 3.7*4.7 cm;
- For personal use – 9*12 cm;
- For residence – 4*5 cm;
- For passes – 6*9 cm.
Available print sizes and aspect ratios
|Nominal print size
|Actual print size in mm
Other line of formats
The main thing is that the photo frame matches the photo. Therefore, manufacturers produce special paper with certain sizes:
- A8 (5*7 cm);
- A7 (7*10 cm);
- A6 (10*15 cm);
- A5 (15*21 cm);
- A4 (21*30 cm);
- A3 (30*42 cm).
Why do you need to choose the right paper? As a result, you won’t have to look at an incomplete, cropped image, or trim off white margins that turn out to be unnecessary. Typically, the photo studio presents printable formats with examples.
Bleed frame or whole frame – how to set the print mode?###
Since, in general, any file has arbitrary dimensions (arbitrary aspect ratios), when printing it in any standard format, the question always arises of how to crop it. Mathematically, there are only three options for placing a picture on the final print.
Let’s consider the operation of these modes in more detail.
How to calculate dimensions for high resolution
You can calculate the parameters in pixels, which will result in a resolution of 300 units or more.
Let’s take a closer look at the photo with parameters 10*15 cm.
- Linear values of these parameters (usually indicated in special tables) – 102*152 mm.
- Let’s multiply the width of the image (102 mm) by the resolution we want to achieve, in our case it is 300 dpi.
- Divide the result of the last step by the number of mm in one inch – 25.4.
- We get the number of raster points of the original image in width 102*300/25.4 =1205.
We will carry out the same algorithm for height.
152*300/25.4 = 1795.
So, we conclude that for any photograph, the size of which will be greater than 1205 * 1795 raster pixels, when printed on a 10 * 15 cm format, the resolution will be more than 300 units.
Sometimes it turns out that images with resolutions of 150 and 300 units look exactly the same. Why is this and what does it depend on? Depends on the genre of the picture and the distance from which it will be viewed.
What methods of printing photos are there?###
The most common technologies today: * photo printing in a chemical process; * inkjet printing.
In the first case, the picture is projected in the dark onto photographic paper; Then the print goes into a chemical process – developing, bleaching, fixing, washing. Everything is like the good old days, right down to the drying. Only now there are no glossers, and the reflective properties of surfaces are implemented in the materials themselves – these are matte, glossy, embossed paper, as well as metallic coated paper (metallic), translucent film (duratrans), etc.
Often we have to order a photo that is not a standard size, but a unique one – non-standard.
- 13*18 cm. Used extremely rarely. Printing is difficult.
- 40*50 cm or 30*40 cm. Pictures with these parameters will help decorate the interior, since they are quite large. Therefore, the quality must be high.
If you place an order online, then when you send an image, the system tells you which parameters will be more appropriate to obtain a high-quality image. If you choose a format of your own choosing and not one recommended by the program, then the administration does not take responsibility for receiving low quality.
It would seem that in the modern age of digital technology, why print photographs, since most photos are viewed in digital form. Knowledgeable people say that a photograph comes to life only when it is printed on paper, framed and hung in a room to decorate the interior.
Remember that before printing, you need to select certain parameters that will affect the quality of the printed image.
Rule of thirds
This is a compositional technique invented at the end of the 18th century and originally used in painting.
According to the laws of perception, a person cannot maintain attention on the entire picture at once. “Attention Knot” catches the eye and forces the viewer to concentrate. Therefore, the rule of thirds not only streamlines the composition, but also simplifies perception.
The viewfinders of many modern cameras are equipped with a grid based on the rule of thirds. In this case, all you need to do (for example, when shooting landscapes) is to make sure that the horizon is parallel to the horizontal grid line, and the key objects (trees, mountain, etc.) are at the intersection of the thirds.
The rule of thirds is simple and quite universal (even suitable for portraits). But don’t get carried away. There are shots where the subject just begs to be in the center; and sometimes it is better to place it at the edge.
Arranging a composition is one of the components of the photographic process. It should be thought through in advance. But if you don’t have time or ideas, then feel free to use the rule of thirds.
Let’s sort everything out
Before you start printing photos, you need to learn the basic concepts so that you can truly create a masterpiece. Digital printing will bring a lot of joy, if you consider not only the size in millimeters, but also in pixels:
Everyone has heard about pixels, but most cannot even imagine what they are. Pixels mean the totality of colors shown in a photograph. An image consists of pixels – small colored dots that together determine not only the color of the picture, but also its quality.
Raster dots (pixels are located throughout the image). The quality of the photo depends on their quantity. The more raster dots, the clearer the image will be. Of course, it is impossible to see the pixels without magnification. Looking at the picture we see the overall image. In fact, it is a huge number of small dots of different colors.
Not only a photograph is made of pixels, but also other images that we encounter every day. The screen of a TV, telephone, or video camera reproduces images using pixels.
If you think that pixels are a variety of different colors, then you are deeply mistaken. In fact, only a few colors are enough to perceive an image; these are mainly red, green and blue. Connecting with each other, they ultimately produce the desired color of the image.
- Linear size.
We’ve dealt with pixels, now it’s worth paying attention to size
in millimeters. Here you need to know certain rules in order to ultimately achieve high quality photos. Print size also depends on the number of pixels.
If you choose the wrong ratio, the photo will turn out blurry, blurry, stretched, ruining all the intended actions. You shouldn’t print your photos right away; you can always correct them and make sure that you have chosen the right option and selected the correct sizes.
Photo paper comes in a specific standard, and incorrect fitting can ruin the final result. If the proportions of the paper do not match the linear size, you will not get a high-quality image. As a result, you will have to do everything again, but this is a waste of time and money.
A very important indicator affecting the printing of images and their quality. The abbreviation means the number of dots (pixels per inch). The more so-called points, the better and better the photo. Not only the quality, but also the print format for photographs depends on the DPI indicator.
To get a high-quality photo after printing, you need at least 300 DPI. Please note that many people make the mistake when finalizing a photo by stretching the photo to convert the original to a larger size.
In this case, quality is lost until there is no image. If a photographer wants to recreate the largest possible image and make a whole large picture out of it, he must initially set the desired option on the camera.
Modes for automatically cropping photos when printing
- When printing photographs, photos are usually cropped because the print size does not always match the original frame size. For example, if the aspect ratio of your camera’s matrix is 3:4, and you ordered a 10×15 print (aspect ratio 2:3), then a small cropping of the image inevitably occurs during printing.
When an order is received, the print operator looks at the image, and if important elements of the photo fall into the cropping zones, a decision is made to crop manually to avoid cutting off important elements of the photo. In other situations, cropping is done automatically when printing.
In the figure, dark stripes indicate parts of the frame that will be cropped during printing.
The photo was taken with a Canon PowerShot G5 digital camera, image size 2592×1944 pixels. A 10×15 print with a print resolution of 300 dpi has a size of 1795×1205 pixels. Accordingly, if the original image was not previously brought to the required size, then the print will only produce a fragment of the image relative to the center.
The light area in the photo is the part that will appear on the print. The area highlighted in dark will be cropped.
Frame aspect ratio
Usually photos look good at their native aspect ratio (usually 2:3 or 4:3). But an alternative ratio can have an unexpected effect and significantly improve the picture.
Instead of leaving thinking about the aspect ratio and playing with crop to post-processing, it is better to take a closer look at the subject of the photo and decide which aspect ratio is suitable at the shooting stage.
Many cameras allow you to set the aspect ratio in-camera, but if you shoot RAW and JPEG at the same time, you will still have the source to crop during editing.
The main advantage of this is that you will see the picture in the selected aspect ratio and move the camera or subject to improve the composition.
It is not recommended to crop images arbitrarily; when cropping, it is also better to maintain a certain aspect ratio.
Gradually you will learn to see which aspect ratio best emphasizes the composition.
Standard color correction
When printing photo images, the color gamut of the photo is corrected. When correcting, several basic principles are used:
- If the main subject of the photo is people, correction is carried out to obtain the most correct skin tone, however, the overall color scheme may change and some colors may not be displayed accurately.
- When correcting landscapes, the basis is the correct display of the greenery of plants, or the color of the sky, if the main content of the image is the sky. For winter landscapes, the basis is to obtain the whiteness of the snow.
If you want to color correct your photographs yourself, when ordering you must indicate the option “without correction”, but you must remember that the image you see on your monitor may not match the print due to inconsistency in color reproduction characteristics Your monitor and printing machine.
What photo formats are there? Let’s find out.
- The most popular print size is 10*15 cm. It is used to create a family archive.
- The next one is 15*20 cm or A5.
- A4, 20*30 cm or 21*29.7 cm. Used to decorate walls with photographs. Since A4 is the size of office printing paper, printing will not be difficult, since printers are mainly designed to produce A4.
- 30*40 cm – complex format. Has two other names: A3 or A3. Why complicated? Because there is confusion. The A3 size has parameters of 297*420 mm, but such photo frames cannot be found, they are not on sale. The closest photo frame to this photograph is 30*40 cm. Be careful when ordering. Photo frames are made with glass.
Photo size chart for printing. standard photo sizes. Photo size table. centimeters (cm), inches, pixels in 300dpi resolution. – tables
Table of photo sizes for printing. Standard photo sizes. Photo size chart. Centimeters (cm), inches, pixels in 300dpi resolution.
The main = most common sizes are marked in color.
|Size in inches
|Photo paper actually, mm
|Pixels at 300 dpi
|3,543 x 5,117
|3.937 x 5.907
|5,117 x 7,087
|5,907 x 7,873
|5,907 x 8,267
|5.907 x 8.66
|5.907 x 11.81
|5.907 x 14.96
|5,907 x 17,717
|7.087 x 9.45
|7,087 x 9,843
|7.873 x 9.843
|7.873 x 11.81
|9.843 x 14.96
|11.81 x 15.747
|11.81 x 17.717
|11.81 x 35.433
Exposure metering is an assessment of the brightness of an image based on the amount of light entering the camera. It allows you to avoid darkening or brightening your photos. There are three types of exposure metering: center-weighted, matrix and spot.
With spot metering, brightness is usually determined at the center of the frame or at the active focus point. Spot metering is used when the brightness of the subject is very different from the brightness of the background, and also when there are very light or very dark objects in the frame.
Spot metering is typically used to take photographs with the main subject properly exposed. The brightness of other objects is ignored.
The more you use spot metering, the more you will understand about exposure.
Photo formats and sizes for printing. comparison of photo formats with A4
We are often asked: “Can you print A4 photos?”
Of course, we can print photos in almost any size, but this issue requires clarification.
Photo paper formats differ from international ISO formats, but most often in everyday life we operate with terms and sizes that are familiar to us, such as A4, Whatman paper, etc. Although photo paper formats and regular paper formats are quite similar, they are still different from each other.
Major photo formats have aspect ratios similar to those of modern digital cameras, 1:1.5 (2/3) or 1:1.33 (3/4). Standard international paper sizes have an aspect ratio of 1:1.4142, meaning they are not the same proportions. When printing on Noritsu minilabs, photo standards are used. The familiar photo frames and photo albums for storing photographs also meet photo standards.
This table shows the ratio of the photo formats that we print to standard paper.
|Photo format we print
|Photo size in px
|Photo size in mm
|ISO size in mm
Now let’s look at each of the photo formats in detail. The popular 10×15 format is 2 mm smaller on one side than standard A6, and 5 mm larger on the other. Therefore, if you need exactly A6, you should order a 15×21 photo and trim off the excess manually.
Below you see how the 10×15 format compares with the well-known A4.
A 15×21 photograph will be slightly larger than an A5 sheet. On one side by 5 mm, on the other by 1 mm. Therefore, if you need A5, feel free to order a 15×21 photo, you will cut off the excess.
Below you see the ratio of 15×21 to A4.
The 20×30 format is almost A4, but the photo is 6 mm smaller on one side and 9 mm larger on the other than A4. 20×30 and A4 are disproportionate.
Below is the ratio of a 20×30 photo to A4.
If you need A3, then choose a 30×40 photo. 30×40 is 9 mm on one side and 1 mm on the other more than A3. Feel free to order and cut it yourself =).
Below you see the ratio of 30×40 and A3.
Photo 30×45 larger than A3. This can be seen in the picture below.
A 30×60 photo is difficult to compare with regular paper. 30×60 is significantly smaller than A2 (whatman paper) and significantly larger than A3. But this does not prevent 30×60 images from being popular among photographers.
Below you see the ratio of a 30×60 photo to A3.
Below is the relationship between photo formats.
Photos for documents
Photography is produced not only for family archives or interior decoration, but also for a number of documents. For this, not only quality is taken as a basis, but also certain sizes:
- 3×4 – this format is standard for many documents. If you decide to get a driver’s license or medical record, these are the pictures you will need.
- 3.5×4.5 – despite minor differences in size, this format is only suitable for a national or foreign type passport. Also, when applying for a visa, you will need a photo exactly 3.5×4.5 cm.
- 4×5 – when applying for a residence permit, a package of documents is required, including the applicant needs to provide several photographs 4×5 cm.
- 4×6 – as we know, when applying for any job, a personal file is opened on the employee with his personal data, additional information and a photo as proof. To confirm your identity, you will need to provide a photo 4×6 cm.
- 6×9 – work at an enterprise requires constant monitoring of its employees. For this reason, in many organizations you need to go through control by presenting a pass. When preparing the treasured document, you need a photo of the employee in 6×9 cm format.
- 9×12 – depending on the type of organization, if you have a personal file, the HR department may request a completely non-standard format 9×12 cm.
This article presented standard photo parameters for printing, listed popular photo formats, and also outlined a convenient formula for calculating the optimal dimensions of the sides of a photo. I recommend sticking to the formats I have given, this guarantees the quality of the printed photographs, and therefore the visual pleasure of viewing them.
Dear friends, you don’t need to be a professional to take pictures depicting your favorite landscapes, dear people and capturing facts. It is enough to familiarize yourself with certain rules and study what DPI and linear dimensions are.
Today, few people print photos themselves; most often they turn to specialists. If you decide to make a personal album in the studio, you don’t need to deal with dimensions, pixels and other nuances; it’s enough to know what size the photo should be for further processing.
It’s also not worth relying only on the skill of the photo editor and other specialists. If the photo is significantly smaller in DPI, and you want a larger photo, it will be impossible to do this. The image in the photo will be blurry, of poor quality without clear outlines.
Beautiful and high-quality photographs and a great mood! Write your ideas about this in the comments, and did the calculations for printing help you? Did you learn anything new? And that’s all.
Svetlana measured everything for you!