Choosing print sizes: Don’t be fooled by the number

Choosing print size can be challenging.  Don’t be fooled by the numbers!  Yes, even me, it happened to me!   I was raised with the mindset that 10×13 was HUGE.  We mostly had 5×7’s and 8×10’s.  My mom does have 2 16×20’s in her house, but that is it and they are VERY old.  When I started my photography business and started ordering sizes over 8×10 frequently, I was always surprised at how small they actually were when they arrived.  I always expected them to be larger.  It’s ok though, I am here to help you in choosing print sizes best for you.

So, when you think 11×14, 12×12, 16×20, what do you think?  “Whoa, that’s huge”?  Or “meh”?  Or “I’m so confused”?  I am not here to tell you that the biggest size is always the best size.  Absolutely not!  But there is a perfect size for you.  There are a few things you must consider.

This is an IKEA Expedit shelf.  I’m sure many of you are all familiar with it.  It is 58″ long.  A typical couch is longer.  I would definitely not go smaller than a 16×20 in this space.  As you can see, the 22×30 is definitely more suited.


1.  How large is the space where you will be displaying?  This is so important.  If you have a large space, going too small will make those images look really small.  You may think that 16×20 is going to be plenty, but in a large room, it will look very small.  You do not want to invest money in a size that doesn’t feel worth what you spent in a large space.  I know going larger costs a bit more, but you will be happy and it will feel worth every penny.

2..  Will it be framed or a standout/canvas?

Framing:  If you are getting a wall print for framing, you will need to decide if you want it matted or not.  Framing adds overall size to your print.  So if you have a large space, you can still go pretty large with your print and won’t have a problem when adding size with the frame.  If you have a small space, you will want to be sure to not go too large.  Typically, 16×20 is a great size for most spaces.

Standout/Canvas:  With these options, you will not be adding any additional size.  Odds are you can go a bit larger than what you are considering.

3.  Will you be creating a grouping of multiple images or showcasing 1 image?

If you are doing a grouping/cluster, you want to keep in mind overall size with spacing.  You can get away with some smaller sizes when doing a grouping.  But you definitely don’t want an 8×10 standing alone as a canvas on your wall.  Unless it’s a small transition wall space.

TIP:  One tip I always make for those who are unsure is to use wrapping paper or tape sheets of paper together.  Make this paper the size you are considering and then tape it to your wall.  This will give you a good in room feel of that size.  It is one more step, but it’s an important one.  Again, every space is different and you don’t want to waste your hard earned money on too small or too big. 🙂

 Most importantly, I am always here to help!

Add a comment...

Your email is never<\/em> published or shared.


Hello Friends

Welcome to my blog! I love sharing images from weddings and sessions with you all. Grab a cup of coffee or kill some time between commitments while enjoying some beautiful people!

Scranton, PA photographer

follow me on Instagram!

Scranton newborn photographer

scranton wedding photographer

nepa photographer