Getting a non-standard size photo printed

kudzu9October 21, 2013

I have a photo I took that is in 9:16 ratio that I want to have printed up and I don't want to crop it to fit, say, a 16 X 20 standard print size. If I have it blown up to 20" wide, the height would come out to 11-1/4" high. What I want to do is add a 4-3/4" band to the top or bottom so that it has a 16 X 20 format and I can get it printed cheap. Then I can trim off the filler I added to get a clean image in the original format.

What's the simplest (free) program I can use to do this?

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Many of the photo printing services provide cropping/editing/special effect tools. Have you checked out the one you're planning to use?

Otherwise, many are available - FastStone, Picasa, etc.

I trust you understand how resolution degrades as the image size increases, be sure to start with a high enough resolution image.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 1:27AM
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I was planning to use Costco ($6 for a 16X 20), but they don't have any cropping or editing services. They simply print the full length of the shortest side and the longest side gets cropped if its aspect ratio makes it too long for the standard format. I don't have any concerns about losing quality as I took the picture at a very high resolution.

If I used Picasa, where would I look in the sub-menus to do what I described?

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 3:07AM
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Richard (chuggerguy)

I'm sure there are many tools that would work but since I have Gimp and am sort of kinda half way familiar with it, that's what I'd use.

(1) Open the photo
(2) Upsize the canvas(Image>Canvas Size)... unlock the aspect ratio and increase the height, you'd need to do the math.
(3) Create a new layer(Layer>New Layer)... by default it should be the size of the canvas, which is what you want.
(4) Use the paint bucket to fill the new layer with white.
(5) Move the new layer behind/underneath the photo layer. (Drag it down in the Layer dialogue)

If all goes well you'll have the original photo with white padding (only) at the bottom and it will be proportional to the 16x20 paper.

There might be an easier way but that seems to work.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 4:49AM
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kudzu, don't just walk by the storefront and look in the window, you need to walk in and see what's offered.

Costco's site offers an array of digital photo editing options, including simple cropping. Explore what's there to see if it will do what you want, that's the simplest approach. An uploaded image that you processed with other software may not give you quite the result you want, your first choice should be to use the tools offered at the site where you're ordering the prints.

Here is a link that might be useful: Costco photo tools

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 12:45PM
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Thanks, but I checked Costco, and there were no tools that allowed me to add space along only one or two borders, which I need to do to avoid the automatic cropping they do. I don't want to lose any part of the photo.

I've heard of Gimp, but never used it. Thanks for the tutorial. I'll try that.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 12:52PM
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Did you log in, upload the image, and try USING the tools to see the result?

You need to help yourself here, I'm not going to do it for you.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 1:12PM
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I didn't expect you to do it for me. I was just asking to get pointed to the right tool. I did try online at the Costco photo center and it looks like there are no options that allow me to get the entire photo printed. That was confirmed with a phone call to their tech support for the site. If you have info to the contrary, I'd be happy to try again.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 2:36PM
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I have used Zazzle a few years ago to print some cards and posters. I believe I could make my photo any size and they would print it. I think you can add spaces or borders. Its been at least 5 years so I don't remember.

What I do remember is they won't enlarge your photo if they feel the quality will be poor when enlarged. You upload your photo, set it up the way you want, then they run a test and will tell you if it will print well.

Take a look at their site. I don't remember them being expensive.

Here is a link that might be useful: Custom prints

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 12:01AM
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