How do you decide what size to print your photos?

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Posted 10/5/2013 by Lizzi97 in General Scrappin'

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PeaNut 563,168
August 2012
Posts: 144
Layouts: 9
Loc: Athens, GA

Posted: 10/5/2013 6:20:10 PM
In the past, I've always ordered batches of 4x6 photos online, but recently, I've fallen in love with the look of many smaller photos or mixed and matched sizes on layouts. Since I have no idea, plan, or sketch for any layout, I'm having difficulty choosing what sizes to order of each picture.

Do you have layouts in mind when you order? Do you have a default size? Or do you have some other method? TIA!


PeaNut 439,705
September 2009
Posts: 1,822
Layouts: 4
Loc: DFW, TX

Posted: 10/5/2013 6:28:53 PM
I primarily scrap 2 page LO's so I will choose 1-3 4x6's as the focal points and then several others that I print as 2x3. Works well for me. If I am doing a single LO with only 1-2 pics, I may print the main photo as 5x7. I like my LO's to have several photos if it's an event but 1-2 may be fine if I'm capturing a particular quality about someone or say, a school/milestone portrait, etc.
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gluemore girl

PeaNut 276,447
September 2006
Posts: 423
Layouts: 6
Loc: New England

Posted: 10/5/2013 6:33:25 PM
I don't decide ahead of time but should, esp if I have a lot of photos.
The 2x3 size are fun to play with and I thank you for reminding me to do that next time!

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ca angel

PeaNut 400,602
November 2008
Posts: 2,455
Layouts: 36
Loc: So Cal

Posted: 10/5/2013 6:34:02 PM
To me the beauty of digital prints is not being confined to standard print sizes straight out of the camera. Because of this I always find a sketch before I print photos (but after I know which photos I want to use). I base photo sizes on the sketch. I print contact sheets (Picasa) of the photos I'm going to use for each LO and use that to pick a sketch and make notes on sizing and orientation.
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Ca angel

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PeaNut 114,614
November 2003
Posts: 22,668
Layouts: 499
Loc: Ontario, Canada

Posted: 10/5/2013 6:43:03 PM
I do what you are probably trying to avoid -- print multiples in different sizes! I am no where NEAR organized enough to pre-plan pages and actually follow through, so I pick a few photos from each set that I think I might potentially want to use in smaller/different sizes, and make up collage sheets on 4x6 prints, using PhotoSheet (great, free programme).

So far I've been putting my extras aside and will eventually give away to family members or let my older girls use them for scrapbooking.

I usually pay around 14 cents a print, so even with printing the same photo in different sizes, it is still cheaper than when I used film.

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PeaNut 439,654
September 2009
Posts: 1,583
Layouts: 265
Loc: NC

Posted: 10/5/2013 7:07:28 PM
Lately I'm very partial to cropping my photos 3x5 and then printing that on a 4x6. Sometimes I do 2 3"x4" on one 4x6 print. I don't know exactly how I'm going to arrange them but I have an idea how many will go on a page and whether they can be larger or smaller.

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50 Peas in a pod.

PeaNut 563,168
August 2012
Posts: 144
Layouts: 9
Loc: Athens, GA

Posted: 10/5/2013 7:18:08 PM
@biochempea: That's definitely what I'm trying to avoid! I've thought of ordering one size, then printing a different size at home if I change my mind, but then the photo quality is quite different, and I can't stand having that on the same page. Maybe I'll print some favs in multiple sizes.

@ca angel: Planning in advance is super smart and may work for me in the future, but I'll be ordering 500ish photos in this batch, so the planning would be quite intensive. I guess I should make smaller orders! Maybe I'll pick focal point photos for 4x6s for now, and get smaller prints of the others.

Thanks for all the input so far!


PeaNut 553,267
May 2012
Posts: 939
Layouts: 31
Loc: Ontario, Canada

Posted: 10/5/2013 7:19:49 PM
I don't preplan my pages.....I just look at how many photos I have for any particular topic and decide how many photos are going to end up on my layout!
If I have 5 or 6 good photos that I think I'll want to use, then I print maybe one at 4x6 or 3x5 and the rest at 2x2 or 3x3....
If I only have one photo, then I'll print it at 4x6 or 5x7....
If I know I want to do a graph type layout, then I'll print all at 2x2...
I'm never sure exactly the design of my layout when I print pictures, I just go by how many pictures I'm going to want to put on the page....IYKWIM?


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PeaNut 487,485
November 2010
Posts: 275
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Loc: New York

Posted: 10/5/2013 8:01:56 PM
Wow, you ladies are all way better then I with preplanning your LOs. I don't have the time to so that, so I just print almost all 4x6 photos and crop them down to a smaller size if I want. Sometimes if I have a ton of one event, I will make some of them 2x3, but not often.


Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 210,654
June 2005
Posts: 5,221
Layouts: 207
Loc: Connecticut

Posted: 10/5/2013 9:32:13 PM
Usually I base it on two things.

1. How good is the photo.

2. How many shots did I get.

If its a great photo I will print it up a normal 4x6 or larger. If I have a lot I create collages in Picasa (2 3x4s or 6 2x2s) and use those like that. If I find I don't like the size, I will reprint it at a one hour place.


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PeaNut 118,945
December 2003
Posts: 3,174
Layouts: 144
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden

Posted: 10/6/2013 9:30:09 AM
I usually order 4x4 or 4x6 photos, but if there's an event with a lot of photos that I'd like to cover, I also make photo collage to print and cut out smaller pics (3x3 or 2x2). That way, I can fit about 7 photos on a single 12x12 page. I do the same thing when I print at home.

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PeaNut 280,931
October 2006
Posts: 532
Layouts: 0

Posted: 10/6/2013 10:16:53 AM
I just started playing with the smaller sizes too. Mostly I have a layout in mind first. Sometimes I dont decide until I am making the layout. Then I run the prints thru PhotoUtility to get the smaller size and I print at home on the Epson PictureMate.

In thinking about it, it seems like when I have planned ahead I have chosen smaller prints because I had a lot of photos of the same event.

For example, one was a picnic where I took a bunch of scenery pictures. I used 4x6 for people photos and added 3x4s of the scenery shots. Then on vacation this summer my nephew wanted me to document the new t-shirts he bought for vacation so I took a new photo each day. Those I decided to make all 3x4 right from the beginning but I havent decided on the layout exactly. Another example was an idea I had to compare shopping for my niece and nephew when they were little to where they shop today. I have a lot of store signs for the layout but I am not sure yet how the layout will go - I just imagine some kind of grid. So I printed those 2x3.

So far its more about volume and mostly not people shots. I still have to try other things.

Hope this helps!


PeaNut 422,247
May 2009
Posts: 4,784
Layouts: 316
Loc: Queens NYC

Posted: 10/6/2013 6:10:35 PM
mostly 4x6 collage

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PEAceful Pea

PeaNut 14,521
April 2001
Posts: 37,572
Layouts: 31
Loc: Washington State

Posted: 10/6/2013 6:39:37 PM
I am not organized enough to pre-plan in order to know what size photos I want. I print almost everything in 4x6. If I have a great photo I know I'll want to make a focal point, then I will do a larger size of that.

Sometimes when I am scrapping a layout I will figure out a smaller or bigger size would work better. I'll put a placeholder there and then order those prints.



PeaNut 417,751
April 2009
Posts: 748
Layouts: 40
Loc: Chesterton Indiana

Posted: 10/6/2013 8:47:02 PM
I print all my photos in 4x6 and if I want to make a layout with a bigger size I pick the photo that I want to use in that layout and reorder them in a bigger size. I am working on preplanning but so far this is what I do.

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PeaNut 110,614
October 2003
Posts: 9,115
Layouts: 326
Loc: Ã…rhus, Denmark

Posted: 10/7/2013 8:26:32 AM
I scrap 8.5x11, but I vary between single and two page layouts. My go-to size is 3x4 inch prints, but I do also scrap 4x6 and 2x3. I used to print a lot of 5x7s but I moved and have a hard time getting that size without it costing an arm and a leg.

My criteria:

4x6 -- Usually for when I have only one photo for the story. Or something really stellar. About 3% of the photos I print will be full 4x6s. However, if I scan older photos I'll usually print them as close to 4x6 as possible (again, because I'm likely to only have one photo on the page).

3x4 -- Pretty much my default size, and great if I want to include multiple photos, which is more often than not. I also use this size in pocket pages... I just cut them down to 2.5x3.5 so they fit the standard 9-pocket trading card sheets.

2x3 -- I use this size for things where I have a lot of photos, especially when the visual is important to the story. I also print a lot of my everyday non-story photos in this size as I like to use photos from a span of time to tell larger stories.

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PeaNut 427,211
June 2009
Posts: 3,068
Layouts: 53
Loc: in my scraproom in PA

Posted: 10/7/2013 8:31:58 AM
I am all about 4 x 6 photos this year. My 2013 goal was to print and get it done. When I do want a another size I use my Fuji Instax Camera or print two 2 x 4 on a 4 x 6. Or I just cut down my 4 x 6 print.

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PeaNut 574,604
December 2012
Posts: 3,746
Layouts: 0

Posted: 10/7/2013 9:37:04 AM
I use very few 4x6 photos in my LOs because I use multiple photos per page and am trying to tell a story (I tend to journal a LOT), so I can't use up the room with photos of that size. I print most of my photos at home and am satisfied with my photo printer.

I generally use 3.5 x 5 for my largest size and start playing with that size and my paper and embellishments, as well as a mock up of my journaling. Sometimes I'll print up B&W photos on plain paper (quick setting) in potential sizes just to see how it will work. I play around with moving the "pieces" until I decided what size photo to print at home, then I do so.


PeaNut 260,218
May 2006
Posts: 2,153
Layouts: 31
Loc: Missouri

Posted: 10/7/2013 9:39:41 AM
I scrap both 12x12 and 8.5x11. So first I decide what pics I want to tell the story, then I decide if it will be 12x12 or 8.5x11. From there I decide 4x6 or 3x4. I never print 500 pics at a time. the most is probably 30. If I were doing a big batch, I would probably do all 4x6 and crop down when it came time to scrap.


PeaNut 198,947
April 2005
Posts: 2,088
Layouts: 0

Posted: 10/7/2013 3:41:58 PM
I have the same problem of liking a mixture of sizes, not starting with a sketch and not knowing where to start. I ended up cutting out some chipboard into the most common sizes that fit on a 4x6 photo.
It helps me to physically layout those templates on my paper to figure out what size photos would work best.


PeaNut 422,247
May 2009
Posts: 4,784
Layouts: 316
Loc: Queens NYC

Posted: 10/8/2013 7:54:14 AM
i like to keep it at 4x6 unless there is a sketch im following that requiers small pix

Love Peace Health and Happiness to you...Rosey

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PeaNut 40,561
June 2002
Posts: 9,023
Layouts: 106
Loc: Lehigh Valley, PA

Posted: 10/8/2013 12:11:05 PM
I pretty much rate my photos - the best get printed in 4x6 - I want these to be the focal point of my page, second best 3x4 - I use them as accent photos or save them for my yearly summary pages or another project (like cards for the grandparents ).

If I have a lot of pics from the same event, I may make a collage.

I should add, I scrap PL style (pocket scrapbooking) and do very few traditional LOs.

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PeaNut 251,919
March 2006
Posts: 5,411
Layouts: 19
Loc: Toronto, Ontario

Posted: 10/8/2013 4:09:20 PM
Boy after reading these response I am definitely on my own with photo printing ... I don't print anything that I'm going to scrap until I'm going to scrap it because I never have any idea of what I want the layout to look like until I pick the event or photos to scrap. For example, DH is away for a couple of days so my evenings will be dedicated to doing nothing but scrapping! Last night it finished up a double page layout so tonight I have to decide what picture(s) I want to work with next. At this point I honestly haven't a clue so once I find something I'll start planning the page and probably won't print the pictures for a day or two because I won't know until he planning process is well under way. Do I want a collage, large photo, 4x6??? No idea! But then again, there is a photo processing store in the building where I work so picking up a couple at a time is no big deal. When I first started scrapping I tried printing everything at 4x6 or 5x7 but found that I was reprinting constantly so this seems to work well for me. Plus I'm a dreadfully slow scrapper so if I printed off even 100 pictures at once I'd never get them all done!

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California Dreaming

PeaNut 153,156
June 2004
Posts: 12,226
Layouts: 39

Posted: 10/8/2013 6:01:05 PM
I edit and order pictures in big batches. It takes a long time but then I have many, many layouts to scrap before I have to do it again. I scrap 8 1/2x 11 so I know I can't fit more than two 4x6 pictures on a single page layout. I can comfortably fit 3-4 3x4 pictures one page. Or 4-6 2x3 pictures. If I want to scrap that many pictures, though, I usually figure I might as well do a two page layout. I will scrap 5-20 pictures on a two page layout. If it's closer to 5 I will most likely order one or two as 4x6 and the rest 3x4. When I scrap more than 10 I will most likely choose all or most 3x4. If it's closer to 20 I will mostly likely make a grid or use all 2x3.

I don't have a sketch in mind when I'm ordering pictures. I just know what works as far as how many pictures to fit on a page. You could check out page maps to see how many pictures in what sizes will work for you.

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PeaNut 550,384
April 2012
Posts: 657
Layouts: 11
Loc: New Zealand

Posted: 10/8/2013 9:07:31 PM
I print in 6 monthly batches and have just discovered photo sheet, a program that makes collages for you. If I have more than 3 photos of an event they get resized to 3x4 so I get two per 6x4 page. If it's less I print 4x6. HTH.



PeaNut 161,947
August 2004
Posts: 593
Layouts: 75
Loc: Midrand, South Africa

Posted: 10/9/2013 11:18:56 PM

I am also a pre planner. I will sort the photos and then choose which ones I want on the layout. I then choose a sketch for that many photos and then use photosheet to prepare my photos in the correct sizes. I print when I have about 100 photos ready for printing as here you get a massive discount when printing volumes. I usually have about 20 kits ready for scrapping at a time. When these run low, i start the process again.

Having said that,I have just printed only 6x4 photos for a holiday album I am doing. I have not planned any of the pages and the spontaneity is kind of fun


PeaNut 10,888
February 2001
Posts: 1,504
Layouts: 23
Loc: Adelaide, Australia

Posted: 10/10/2013 4:20:21 AM
Depends on how much I like the image, if I have a sketch already planned for it or how many more smaller pics I need to fit on a page before printing.

Hooroo! & Happy Scrapping !!
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PeaNut 3,602
April 2000
Posts: 14,291
Layouts: 376
Loc: Massachusetts

Posted: 10/10/2013 7:02:02 AM
I always use sketches as my starting point.

When I'm ready to order prints I pull out my sketches and pick one to fit my photos and story. Then I resize the photos and order.

I make notes on the sketch about which photo goes where. I often change the sketch around as I plan so I note that on the sketch too.

Then I pull some papers and store it all together. When the photos arrive I am ready to scrap with my kits.

Christi in MA
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