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The 16:9 printing dream


George
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I've been shooting 16:9 for a couple of years now. The world has been 16:9 since forever. Televisions are 16:9, monitors are 16:9, phones are 16:9, and I shoot 16:9. The kids are growing up with 16:9. The whole world is 16:9 and everything looks good at 16:9. I've been producing images at 16:9 but the print labs don't print 16:9, they are still printing 3:2 and 2:1. Here is Carbisdale Castle and the Kyle of Sutherland at 16:9. I think it's a beautiful print and looks very natural at 16:9.

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However, my 16:9 strategy requires a rethink. I've chatted with 3 professional print labs now, 2 in the UK and 1 in the States, and 16:9 isn't happening with any of them. Dunno, the whole world is 16:9, televisions are 16:9, phones are 16:9, monitors are 16:9, cameras are shipped ready to shoot 16:9, but the print labs don't print 16:9. Someone needs to wake them up. Anyway, I've been forced to rethink my prints strategy and have no alternative but to go the 3:2 and 2:1 route, otherwise I won't be able to make panoramic prints available in the shop.

Here is Carbisdale Castle, which was 16:9, cropped to 2:1. A 16x9 print won't happen, but a 16x8 print will. I'll go through my library and sort out some 2:1 prints later this week and get them uploaded to the shop.

210613-carbisdaleweb.jpg.5a45b152f74dbaead882b6f0358c8a8f.jpg

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I'm still deliberating over ratios. My head hurts. I've been knocking my head against a brick wall here for days with this, but this morning I had a moment of clarity. I realised that if I were to buy prints for my wall in my house I would not buy 3:2 prints. Ideally I would want 16:9 prints, but 16:9 prints are not available because the print labs don't print them. So, if I wouldn't buy 3:2 prints, and 16:9 were not available, where did that leave me? After thinking about it all morning and all afternoon, and well into the evening, I thought I'd take a look at 2:1 and did some cropping. Here are two of my prints cropped to 2:1. Although I would prefer them 16:9, these 2:1 crops are much better than 3:2 in my opinion, much more pleasing to the eye. I could quite happily hang these on my wall. Comments?

nest21.jpg.db83064bfa22ae85a26826e6d739e62f.jpg

sunset21.jpg.bec9a8400de14da6f5a111d25eee56fa.jpg

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Here is another example. This is 2:1 ration, which means it is twice as wide as it is deep. If you were to buy a 16 inch print, it would be 8 inches deep. If you were to buy a 24 inch print, it would be 12 inches deep. I much prefer this to 3:2, but is that just me? The old televisions I vaguely remember were 3:2, but I haven't seen one of them in decades. Am I right in thinking 3:2 is quietly sailing into the sunset of memory? The more I look at 2:1, the more I like them. I could still shoot 16:9 and simply allow for a crop to 2:1 when composing the image. Which would you prefer?

sunset.jpg.72f3c5f64946282447925e74883d436a.jpg

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One final example, this time Ardvreck Castle on the shores of Loch Assynt. This one was shot 3:2, I've cropped it to 2:1 and you can see them side by side. Which one would you prefer? Me? I really like the panoramic look, it's just more natural to my eye. Heck, even movies these days are panoramic. Perhaps it's time the Print Labs considered moving to 16:9.

lochassynt21.jpg.37120f8ccb7169a6137804e6c7a47fb4.jpg

lochassynt.jpg.8f8ebf5bdcfb32d9d4ec6466fadeddb8.jpg

 

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I'm going to find a way to print @ 16:9. I shoot 16:9, I like 16:9 and I'm only going to produce 16:9 prints. I'll keep searching until I find a solution. Here are the above photos at 16:9. I'm not going to compromise.

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blackbirdsnestns.jpg.76b8f2665074aae62a509d5d4899b8f1.jpg

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lochassynt.jpg.1e6613655a0ca9a711f01620842921f5.jpg

moundsunset.jpg.bdedacf6f8453d1c305d9eb2428c2ae3.jpg

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I have a solution, a way forward. I have a ton of photos at 3:2 as it is only in the last 3 or 4 years that I've switched to shooting 16:9. So, my brochs library images will be offered as 16:9 royalty free digital downloads, and I can offer prints at 3:2. When I can print at 16:9 I can make the changes to the galleries then. In the meantime, I'll be stocking the prints gallery with 3:2 images. Here's one of my grey seal friends coming ashore.

sealwave.jpg.759c5b0848a6b02624d198a8f94849ab.jpg

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I've heard back from Loxley, one of the world's top print labs which is based right here in Scotland, and they tell me they can print any size, including 16:9. If the Print Labs can print 16:9 then it's the photo hosting sites like SmugMug, ShootProof and PixieSet that are holding things back by not offering 16:9 through their print fulfillment services. Perhaps I should be thinking about taking orders and arranging the prints to be produced and sent out myself. More thinking required. I love Loxley by the way, they've done a few prints for me in the past and they are excellent.

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Right, we have solutions. It isn't the Print Labs at fault, they do print 16:9, it's Smugmug and PixieSet that refuse to offer 16:9 prints even though they use Loxley to fulfill orders. Go figure. Anyway, I've binned both of them and closed my accounts and opened a Gallery for prints with Fine Art America. They have labs in 7 countries around the world, offer a money back guarantee, and have an excellent reputation. I can't put into words how I feel now that I've found a way to work exclusively with 16:9. Sometimes life fights you and you just have to fight back. Doesn't this seal look amazing at 16:9. If you'd like to view my work, there is a link in the main menu here and at the website, both linked in the menu at the top of the page.

seal.jpg.7c6fa821c4f513c03ecf362ecdaeb565.jpg

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