Understanding Aspect Ratio: Photos and Frames

Understanding aspect ratio is an essential part of understanding why some photos work better on your website than others. But, if you aren’t familiar with working with images, it can be a difficult thing to understand.  To demonstrate, let’s go back to the classic picture frame and printed photo. Our picture frame represents the slideshow that we need to fit our image into. 


The first step is to upload your photo. What if you upload your image and you find it is too small for picture frame, your slideshow or image gallery proportions? Your photo will have some blank space around the edges.

Not good, right? The best solution here is to find a different, properly sized image to use instead.

However, most of the time, when you are using a digital camera and the image hasn’t already been resized or dramatically cropped, it will be too large for your slideshow or image gallery proportions. You could just cut some off the sides.

But, you could also make the photo a bit smaller and literally “reframe it” to fit the proportions of your picture frame. If this was a physical picture, you’d have to go to the printer and have it scaled down to fit. Fortunately, in Site Manager, it’s a bit easier! You can use the cropping tool to drag the crop box out at the corners to fit your image and the system will automatically make it smaller.

What if your image is a portrait orientation instead of a landscape? Well, let’s try to put it in our picture frame!

Again, we could move the frame up or down to make it look how we’d like and then cut off the rest. We’re losing quite a bit of the image that way.

What happens if we try to shrink it down vertically to fit into our frame?

Again, a lot of blank space which is a big “no-no” for your slideshow tool.

It’s generally best to put a landscape-oriented image into a landscape-oriented slideshow or image gallery tool. However, if you do have to put a portrait-oriented photo into a landscape-oriented slideshow(or picture frame!), you need to be aware that you will be cutting a lot off on the tops and sides.

That’s how aspect ratio works. If you’re ready to dig and learn more about aspect ratio and the details of cropping your photos in Site Manager, check out  The Crop Shop: Preparing Photos for Web by Josh Feit.

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