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Monday, 07 March 2011


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Would be helpful to see (roughly) equivalent international sizes there unless you want to make this a US-only poll.

Personally, I think it at least partly depends on price as well, as generally bigger prints have bigger prices. And there are some amounts that I can't justify spending no matter how much I like too.

That said, I do generally prefer the smaller sizes anyway. :D

I checked off "It depends on the image", but wanted to say here that in general I'm getting tired of super sized prints. A 16 by 20 print or larger had better have a lot of detail in it or I'm not interested. I don't need to have my photos painting sized.

In general 5x7-6x8 "intimate holdable size" and 11x14-17 for display. Much larger and they get too big when framed for the amount of wall space I can steal. Oh, for a house with more wall space and better light!

It would be interesting to see the results of a poll asking how much individuals are willing to spend on a print. As already pointed out by Nicol the size choice may depend upon the price. Of course, price, like size, may depend upon the image too.

I just bought a 4x5 Platinum from a photographer in Canada (by exchange), and a 16x20 from Clyde Butcher (paid for it on layaway for nearly 3 years), so clearly "depends" is the right answer for me.
In general I think that 11x14 is the minimal effective size to hang on the wall (unless it's a Weston).

As a 3-2 aspect ratio fan, I am challenged by your mostly stodgy dimension choices.

Mike, would you do many of us a favor and write the sizes in cm as well?


We have a lot of 8 by 10s, thanks to my husband's grandfather's love of printing. They're very small tho in comparison with the scale of everything else in our apartment, and they tend to get visually lost. I'm gradually adding some prints of my own, but it's likely to be some time before I've got photographs that really make sense at larger sizes. I don't do a lot of art with large paper, and I suspect that's why most of my bigger stuff doesn't look right to me.

So larger sizes are definitely something lacking in my collection, and looking at larger art would have a lot of value for me. But I also recognize that you can't just scale an image up and down willy nilly. And larger images do cost more.

I subscribe to Ctein and found that I would like to hand hold them instead of hanging them on the wall. Hence, 8x10 is ok for me.

The TOP survey result so far is a bit surprise , as "everyone" seemed to tell that people buying 20x24 or larger. Hence, I think I must be in the minority. But the majority is not much larger in size. 60% is A3 size only.

Seems the TOP reader is different from that "everyone". Interesting!

The poll doesn't show up on my iPad.

The Turnley sale really drove home for me the idea that if something is printed right it doesn't need to be the size of the side of a bus. I understand why some people might like big prints, but beyond 12x18 doesn't do much for me.

I voted 11x14 and, in fact, just purchased both of the Cramer prints in that size. I'd love something larger, depending on the print, but in all honesty the price starts to become more prohibitive, as does wall space.

11x14 feels like a good option, being large enough to appreciate the photograph, without being prohibitively large for framing and hanging, and (possibly) prohibitively expensive.

I prefer 6 1/4 x 8 1/4.

Dear David,

Mike already knows, from previous sales, that you folks, collectively, will support a very wide range of prices.

What we don't know is how people care about print size. Some folks care a lot.

Given the variety of artists and media Mike is offering, there's not much of a match between size and price. E.g., I can easily imagine an artist offering a 17x25 inkjet print for less than what I'd be offering a 10x12 dye transfer for. But, if 80% of the potential buyers don't want to be collecting 17x25 prints, then that sale may be well in trouble before it starts.

Hope this makes our intentions clearer.

pax / Ctein

Dear Edi,

Almost all Mike's stable of artists operate out of the US, so prints are most likely to be in American sizes. If you're looking for matching-sized frames, sleeves and storage boxes in a metric country, that can present a problem.

If you just want the rough sizes, you can do it in your head. Truth! Take the inches. Divide by two. Add a zero. Don't sweat the small digits. There you are. Close enough, anyway.

Being a physicist by training, and a crank by nature, I've tried to write my articles with metric units. Mike and my other editors are inclined to first convert the units to "american' and then gently chastise me for making them do the work.

They are just no fun at all.

I still try on occasion [wicked grin].

pax / Ctein

It would be interesting to know also if a person would buy a print. I would like to buy one but probably won't right now because of other priorities. If I did I wouldn’t want to spend too much so I chose a small size. Would this skew your data if enough people who weren’t going to buy prints are inputting to the poll?

Can't get button to work Mike - Firefox (latest version) on a Mac running Snow Leopard. Either of the largest 2, btw.

Those are just paper sizes, not image sizes. The convention is to give the paper size and assume an "as fits" image size--for example, a 6x9 image on 8x10 paper.


It's a little problematic to give cm equivalents, because what should I give--exact translations, which would not equate to European paper sizes, or the nearest European standard paper size, which would not be literal translations of the sizes? I decided to go with the American paper sizes and let people translate for themselves, because more of our sales are likely to be on American sized papers. Nothing's perfect.


Andrea B.,
Sorry, TOP is not yet iPad-friendly. That will be a high priority if/when I do an overhaul of the site, but that task is at least half a year away--I have to finish my novel first.


Sorry, I forgot to add the direct link to the poll page. And I can't modify the poll page, because for some reason opening the page in HTML messes up the poll code. (Vizu polls and TypePad pages are not quite compatible.)

Here's the link.


I selected the "depends on the image" option, because, well, it does. A panoramic landscape looks much better in a larger size, while one that's of a single, well-defined subject (say, a single tree outlined against the sky, or a pebble), would be lovely as a pocket-sized image. A portrait would probably fall in between, for me.

Hmm. I guess I like my print sizes to correlate with the size of the subject. *amused*

Print size depends on the content of the image and on the intent of the artist. I don't think it makes sense to poll preferred print size in general. And no, bigger is not necessarily better or has to be more expensive. Again, it depends. When we start to measure quality and impact of an image by the square footage it covers we might as well just pack in and give up on the project.

Depends on purpose - i print 8x10 for my office or friends, 11x14 for home, or 5x7 for album prints

standard metric sizes would be my choice ... makes it easier for mattes and frames ...

While I selected the "I don't care..." option to me the last 2 are kind of the same..."I don't care, it depends on the image"

This prob just confuses, but, I felt I needed to clarify.

As someone who has never (yet) bought a print from TOP my vote should count accordingly. However, I voted for 11x14, courageously managing to convert that into centimetres all by myself and without blog help. The poll additionally allowed me to choose "depends on the image", which is self-evidently also correct.

There may be a cultural aspect at work in my head. All through my life, I have looked at photographs as either hand made prints from everyday enlargers (so normal paper sizes), or in books and newspapers. In either case, not too big. The current fad for enormous enlargements does nothing for me, and I find I "look" at big enlargements rather less than smaller ones. The largest painting in my house is 8 feet by 5 feet, and I find it uncomfortably large to look at in a normal room (but then I don't live in a gallery, which is probably where the artist intended the picture to be viewed). I like to look at pictures from about 2 feet, so anything wider than 18 inches can't be taken in at once.

@ Ctein: "Divide by two. Add a zero." Do you not mean divide by four?

Anyhow, I spent some time working on building sites in England, where all dimensions on the drawings (plans) are in millimetres, but I can only visualise in feet and inches. 3,658 mm means nothing to me, but tell me instead that it's 12 feet and I can visualise it immediately.

This makes problems when cutting and bending electrical conduit to measurements from another electrician who works in inches or centimetres according to whatever's nearest on the tape measure.

'If you just want the rough sizes, you can do it in your head. Truth! Take the inches. Divide by two. Add a zero. Don't sweat the small digits. There you are. Close enough, anyway.'

So I take 10 inches, divide them by 2 = 5, add a zero, and the outcome is 50 - while 1 inch is about 2.5cm. Don't you mean divide by 4? (Or, take half of the inches, divide by two, add a zero ...)
Or am I plain silly?

Although it's not necessarily true that a larger print is worth more than a smaller print simply because of its size, it's certainly true that a larger print represents a greater expense for the buyer when it comes to matting and framing. It's not unusual for framing to cost at least as much as the photograph itself.

This pushes large prints, especially by established photo-artists, into the luxury goods category. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Someone who owns a million-dollar house(not that unusual here in the U.S.) could see placing a $150 print over the mantlepiece as lowering the perceived value of the home, while placing a $5000 print there would raise the value. (And how would their guests know the price of the print? Why, the guest would ask and the owner would tell them, of course.)

Bottom line: In the TOP print sale marketplace it's not just the size of the print that matters but its perceived quality and value. When it comes to marketing art, perception is reality.

Dear Hans, et al,

Heheh. What I originally wrote was "Divide by two. Divide by two. Add a zero. Don't sweat the small digits."

(Why that instead of divide by four? Because most people who can do arithmetic at all without pencil and paper can divide by two in their heads.)

Mike, who never signed up to edit "The Journal of Extemporaneous Mathematics," thought I'd accidentally repeated myself and edited out the second factor of two.

pax / Ctein

Never larger than 20x16 inches.

"Mike, who never signed up to edit 'The Journal of Extemporaneous Mathematics,' thought I'd accidentally repeated myself and edited out the second factor of two."

Guilty. And it's not the first time I've introduced an error into Ctein's copy by assuming he'd made a mistake when he hadn't. [g]


... 'course you *do* catch more of mine than you introduce.

pax / fallible Ctein

"Small" is what disappears in the hand of the beholder.

My hands are enormouse; at age 65 can still pick up a regulation properly inflated basket ball with ease.

Sorry for this late comment, out of town and just "taking the survey" now. Both of my parents were (Dad is gone) and are (Mom at 97 is still painting many watercolors) artists. They alway felt, and I have read from others that the size of the picture is and should be dictated by the subject matter... that is, if the picture ends up being a strange size, say a 13.2 inch by 16.4 inch, then that's perfectly fine, for an artist, and whoever looks at it, appreciates it, buys it just accepts that. We as photographers somehow feel (perhaps justifiably) that our photographs need to match up with standard frame sizes, and that if they do not, perhaps no one will buy them, having to pay extra for custom framing. What does this say about how we value our work?

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