Sizing Your Images

If you are new to image sizing, it can be daunting and confusing about what to do to size your images ready for competition.

The key concept to understand is that the competition size of 1400 px wide x 1050 px high is a crop ratio of 4:3 (that’s shorthand for every 4 pixels wide your image is, it will be 3 pixels high in landscape format. It’s reversed, 3:4 for portrait, or for every 3 pixels wide to will be 4 pixels high).

If you use a micro four-thirds camera such as the Olympus EM10, EM5 or EM1 then the camera sensor is 4:3, so your images straight out of the camera are already the right aspect ratio. For cameras with different sensor sizes and this is all new to you, consider cropping your images to the 4:3 format in your editor of choice. Then when you size them to 1400 px x 1050 px you will not have to deal with those confusing black bars.

As you get familiar with the concepts of aspect ratios, sizing, cropping and exporting as finished jpeg’s, you can start to experiment with more creative cropping.

Sizing Tips

Sizing Instructions For Common Editing Programmes

If you are new to sizing your images for competition and you are a Lightroom Classic user, then using the export feature in Lightroom is the easiest place to start. However, there are a couple of caveats.

The standard export function cannot generate a new canvas size, necessary if your image is smaller than 4:3 (4 x 3) format. Requiring the addition of black bars to either the top & bottom or left & right of the image to maintain an overall canvas size of 1400 px x 1050 px.

The video tutorial below walks you through using the export feature in Lightroom. This is not specifically tailored to LBPC competition requirements, so here are the settings for a club photographer to bear in mind as you are watching:

  • For Client think LBPC
  • Ignore the advice about using Photoshop for a single image, you are nearly always going to be doing this for a single image. Or your two comp images simultaneously (note multiple images need to be the same aspect ratio and orientation (landscape or portrait) otherwise you are going to get some seriously weird and confusing results). Best to do it one at a time till you get familiar with the process.
  • Choose a specific folder and put them in an LBPC Competitions folder, choose  `Add to this Catalog’. Make it much easier to find them later.
  • Rename your file to `TITLE by Your Name S2′
  • Choose jpeg as the file format, DO NOT apply compression, make sure the jpeg quality is set to 100%, choose sRGB as the colour space.
  • Select `Resize to Fit’: For Landscape select the long edge and enter 1400; If your image is portrait this is where you will run into the limitations of using Lightroom for creating competition images. The need to add those dreaded black bars to fill the empty space so that the overall images size remains at 1400 x 1050.
  • It limits your creative options, but stick with landscape orientation in 4:3 (4 x 3) aspect ration for now.
  • Make sure `Output Sharpening’ is set to `Screen’. Until you understand output sharpening, choose `standard’ as the amount.
  • To make it easier in the future consider Creating an LBPC competition preset.

How to deal with adding those black bars

First, we need to understand why they are required.

  • A little recap. Competitions require your image is 1400 pixels wide by 1050 pixels high, which happens to correspond to an aspect ratio of 4:3 (4 x 3)
  • Now the confusing bit. Think of your image as being made up of two elements. The canvas and the photograph. To make this easier to understand, let’s step back to the analogue world of Print. Remember those 6 x 4-inch photographs we all have of holidays and weddings etc, that’s your photograph. Place it on a sheet of A4 paper, that’s your canvas.
  • Now, assuming you have a 4:3 aspect ratio photo and you resize it as described above, the canvas size and the photograph size are the same. Think of your photo as being the same size as the A4 paper.
  • So you have this great landscape sunset shot, but its got too much sky and creatively it would be much more dynamic if it was cropped into a letterbox format. So, maybe its now 2:4 (2 x 4) ; 2:5 (2 x 5)  or 2:6 (2 x 6).
  • When we size it as described above and choose 1400 for the long edge, it will not be 1050 high. So now we have a photo that is not as high as the canvas needs to be. Remember after all this you need a jpeg 1400 x 1050. So we have to add that missing canvas, aka the black bars.
  • This is where we hit the limitations of Lightroom. The export feature does not include the ability to specify the canvas size or canvas colour.
  • This is where the Lightroom plugin  Mogrify2 comes to the rescue. However, this is only compatible for Microsoft Windows Users, Mogrify2 is NOT compatible with Apple Mac OS.

Now I will be honest, if your computer skills are basic, at first look this is going to be like repairing your engine using a Japanese instruction manual. But, we have some step by step instructions and if it’s still too much, we are here to help you. You just have to ask.

So why would you want to do this

If you have Lightroom then you probably have Photoshop. Photoshop has a big learning curve and can be daunting and be intimidating in its own right. This is an option if you want to be able to create those properly sized competition entries that require black bars and/or adding a `key line’ a thin light border to help distinguish the image from the canvas. This is usually when parts of the edge of the image are so dark its difficult to see where the image ends.

  • Remember, this is only compatible for Microsoft Windows Users, Mogrify2 is NOT compatible with Apple Mac OS.

LR/Mogrify 2 Summary

LR/Mogrify 2 is a post-process plugin for Lightroom 2 and higher. Although Mogrify2 is no longer being actively developed it still works. It has been installed and used successfully with Lightroom CC 2015.12 release with Camera RAW 9.12 on Windows 10 (fully patched as at 01/10/2017).

LR/Mogrify 2 provides extended features and functionality during the export process in Lightroom. Key features for LBPC members are:

  • Ability to size and apply a black canvas where the image does not natively meet the 1400 x 1050 pixels competition size requirements.
  • Easily add either an outer or inner key line to the image
  • Add output sharpening to the resultant JPG

Additionally, watermarks and text annotations can be added to the exported image.

For Full Instructions and Everything You Need Click HERE

The rules for Projected Digital Image (PDI) competitions require images to be a standard size. PDIs submitted to accompany a Print entry must also conform to this standard.

The rules for LBPC internal PDI competitions state that:

“Images must be 1400 x 1050 pixels and in landscape format (ie, 1400 pixels wide and 1050 pixels high).  If necessary, the surrounding area must be filled with a pure black background to meet these dimensions.  Images sized differently may be distorted by the projector.”

1400 x 1050 pixels is also the standard size for most inter-club competitions.  However, a new standard size of 1600 x 1200 pixels (with the same 4:3 width-to-height ratio) is being introduced.

The step-by-step method below for sizing images in Photoshop CC can be used for any size – just change the numbers as appropriate.

Sizing your image

  1. Open your image in Photoshop CC.
  2. In the Image menu, go to Image Size (or use shortcut Alt+Ctrl+I).
  3. The Fit To box should show Original Size.
  4. Dimensions may be shown in Percent, Pixels, Inches, Centimetres, Millimetres, Points, Picas or Columns. Select Pixels.
  5. Enter the width as 1400 pixels. The height will adjust automatically to reflect the current shape of your image.  If the height now exceeds 1050 pixels (because, for example, the image is in portrait format), enter the height as 1050 pixels and the width will automatically reduce.
  6. Tick the Resample box. (The box beside it should show Automatic.)
  7. Click OK.

If your image is now exactly 1400 x 1050 pixels, you can save your file to finish here.  (But see below about saving your file.)  Otherwise, you must add some black background to make the overall image (or canvas) the right size.

  1. In the Image menu, go to Canvas Size (or use shortcut Alt+Ctrl+C).
  2. Again, dimensions (in the New Size boxes) may be shown in Percent, Pixels, Inches, Centimetres, Millimetres, Points, Picas or Columns. Select Pixels.
  3. Enter the width as 1400 pixels and the height as 1050 pixels.
  4. Ensure the Relative box is NOT ticked, the Anchor is in the middle (for images in landscape format you can instead have the Anchor at the top if you wish), and the Canvas extension colour is Black.
  5. Click OK.

Your image now has two black edges and (overall) is 1400 x 1050 pixels in size.  (Or one black edge at the bottom if you had your Anchor at the top.)  Save your file.

Saving your file

You may want to use your original image for other purposes.  So, to preserve the original file, use “Save As” to create a new file, rather than simply “Save”.

For your new file, use the file naming convention appropriate to the particular competition.  For LBPC internal competitions this is as follows.

TITLE IN CAPITALS + “by” + Author Name in mixed case + S1 or S2 to denote which section + “.jpg”

Eg, SLEEPING TIGER by John Smith S1.jpg

The rules for Projected Digital Image (PDI) competitions require images to be a standard size. PDIs submitted to accompany a Print entry must also conform to this standard.

The rules for LBPC internal PDI competitions state that:

“Images must be 1400 x 1050 pixels and in landscape format (ie, 1400 pixels wide and 1050 pixels high).  If necessary, the surrounding area must be filled with a pure black background to meet these dimensions.  Images sized differently may be distorted by the projector.”

1400 x 1050 pixels is also the standard size for most inter-club competitions.  However, a new standard size of 1600 x 1200 pixels (with the same 4:3 width-to-height ratio) is being introduced.

The step-by-step method below for sizing images in Photoshop Elements can be used for any size – just change the numbers as appropriate.

Sizing your image

  1. Open your image in Photoshop Elements. (It does not matter whether you use Quick, Guided, or Expert mode.)
  2. In the Image menu, go to Resize, then Image Size (or use shortcut Alt+Ctrl+I).
  3. Dimensions (in the Pixel Dimensions boxes) may be shown in percent or pixels. Select pixels.  (Ignore the Document Size boxes.)
  4. Enter the width as 1400 pixels. The height will adjust automatically to reflect the current shape of your image.  If the height now exceeds 1050 pixels (because, for example, the image is in portrait format), enter the height as 1050 pixels and the width will automatically reduce.
  5. Tick the Scale Styles, Constrain Proportions, and Resample Image boxes.
  6. In the drop-down menu select Bicubic (best for smooth gradients). (Feel free, though, to try one of the other options if appropriate.)
  7. Click OK.

If your image is now exactly 1400 x 1050 pixels, you can save your file to finish here.  (But see below about saving your file.)  Otherwise, you must add some black background to make the overall image (or canvas) the right size.

  1. In the Image menu, go to Resize, then Canvas Size (or use shortcut Alt+Ctrl+C).
  2. Dimensions (in the New Size boxes) may be shown in percent, pixels, inches, cm, mm, points, picas or columns. Select pixels.
  3. Enter the width as 1400 pixels and the height as 1050 pixels.
  4. Ensure the Relative box is NOT ticked, the Anchor is in the middle (for images in landscape format you can instead have the Anchor at the top if you wish), and the Canvas extension colour is Black.
  5. Click OK.

Your image now has two black edges and (overall) is 1400 x 1050 pixels in size.  (Or one black edge at the bottom if you had your Anchor at the top.)  Save your file.

Saving your file

You may want to use your original image for other purposes.  So, to preserve the original file, use “Save As” to create a new file, rather than simply “Save”.

For your new file, use the file naming convention appropriate to the particular competition.  For LBPC internal competitions this is as follows.

TITLE IN CAPITALS + “by” + Author Name in mixed case + S1 or S2 to denote which section + “.jpg”

Eg, SLEEPING TIGER by John Smith S1.jpg

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