Print Size in Photoshop

Alot of times people try to print an image only to discover the dimensions they choose to print did not quite match the dimensions of the image they are using. This is referrred to as the image aspect ratio versus the print aspect ratio. Fortunately with our ordering system you can adjust this online to match but many times you can find setting up your image in Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop elements gives you more control. If you are one that prefers to setup your image dimensions like many professionals, then these tips are for you. If you do not have Photoshop but want to use it, Adobe offers a free fully functional 30 day trial you can download of either Photoshop or Photoshop Elements on the Adobe website. The difference between the two is Photoshop is the professional version and Photoshop Elements, is a simplified version with an more user friendly interface.

Image Size

The first thing is to make sure your file is at a suitable resolution for printing. To do this you would check the "document size" of your image in Photoshop by going to "Image > Image Size". Make sure you uncheck the box that says "Resample Image" then set the size to as close to the final print size as possible. The resolution will also show and for professional quality should be anywhere between 150 – 300 dpi. We find that most pros average at 200 dpi since it keeps the file a little smaller than it would be at 300 dpi without noticeable quality loss. From our own experience with prints you can not tell the difference in the final print much past 150 dpi on a textured surface and 200 on any sort of smooth surface.


If the image does not quite match the dimensions you want to print, Photoshop has a very simple but effective cropping tool. Look for the cropping icon in the tools panel. Once selected you can enter the dimensions you want your image to be cropped to. After that it is siimply a matter of dragging over your image with your mouse to select the area you want to crop.

Solid Colored or Decorative Sides for Canvas

If you plan to make the sides a solid color other than plain white, you will want to create a border around the image containing your content. The width of the border should be the same as the mounting thickness you choose. For instance if you choose the thin mount which are 0.75 inches deep, you would add a 0.75 wide border going around your entire image. For the thick mount, you would make it 1.5 inches since the thick mounting bars are 1.5 inches deep. Very Important: If you plan to keep the sides just plain white then you do not try to create any sort of solid side border since our system is already programmed to do this.

Image Wrap on Canvas

This is sometimes referred to as a canvas wrap or gallery wrap. For a thin mount you should make sure your image is sized to take into account what wraps around the sides without loosing your main subject matter which you want to display on the front of the canvas. For canvas mounted on the thin bars which are .75 inches thick you would need to make sure 0.75 inches goes all the way around. This means if you were to order a 16x20 then you would want your image dimensions to be 17.5x21.5 (0.75+16+0.75) x (0.75+20+0.75). For thick mounting, in which the bars are 1.5 inches deep you would add 1.5 inches to the image so the overall image would be 19x23(1.5+16+1.5) x (1.5+20+1.5).

Bordered Paper Prints

Do not try to add your own border prior to uploading your image unless you really know what you are doing. At FineWorks we offer the ability to select from several different border sizes. This means if you want your printed image to be an 11x14 but the sheet size to be 13x16 then you would simply choose the 1 inch border option then setup and order a print which is 11x14.

Custom Size Borders on Paper Prints

If you really know your way around sizing images in Photoshop and want to create your own custom margins around your image, go ahead. Just keep in mind that any border you create is seen by our system as part of the image. Exact measurements are very important as well so also make sure your document size in Photoshop is set to the size you want to order otherwise you might be prompted to adjust the zoom and placement of the image on the print preview when you are setting up the print. If so, this will effect the margins you created around your image. Finally, make sure you choose borderless as the paper option otherwise you will also have the addition of a plain white border.

A few things to be aware of when printing your work through us:

Do not try to add additional bleed to your composition. Even when you use Photoshop, you will still go through our ordering process and setup your print. Any bleed you add will throw of the dimensions so you might not get an exact match.

If printing on canvas, canvas does stretch therefore a fraction of an inch of any image will still stretch past the sides. This cannot be avoided. Don't try to correct this by adding a fraction of an inch of margin to your image. The stretching and mounting we do is by machine and may not be precise enough. Plus the natural elasticity of canvas is hard to predict.

Additional Tips

Tip for Printing

Should I Scan My Work or have it Photographed?
Now photographing your own artwork sounds simple. But then again, having a professional photographer handle the work for you sounds even easier - something about the word ‘professional’ puts our minds at ease. But unfortunately, ‘professional’ doesn’t guarantee anything these days; especially when a large number of photographers prefer to rely on the naked eye for color matching rather than proper software and hardware calibration.