Picture Perfect Playbook: Mastering Photo Sizes & Ratios

Whenever you’re using photos for a project, you need to have a good understanding of standard photo sizes. 

There are all sorts of standard sizes of photos for various purposes. But you’ll need to get it right or you could end up with weird, distorted images.

Before you print photos, there are a few things you need to know. Keeping these facts in mind will ensure you get the high-quality results you expect. 

If you’ve ever wondered what is a normal photo size, this guide is for you. It will walk you through the best photo dimensions for any use. 

There’s also a handy photo size chart you can reference at any time. It’s a quick way to double-check the best size of photographs to use.

Why You Need to Know the Standard Photo Sizes

When printing photos, knowing the correct resolution for your images is essential. 

If you drop the resolution too much, you could get grainy or blurry photos. They could even look pixelated, which is the last thing you want. 

This effect is most clear on the largest photo prints as it’s easy to see any areas that aren’t crisp. But it can even be visible on smaller photos, too. 

It’s not just for printing images that you need to have a handle on file size, though. If you’re posting photos to social media, you should know the right frame size, too. That will guarantee that your image looks as good as you want it to! 

You can also keep these photo sizes in mind if you’re designing graphics and other types of images. It applies to anything you want to print or post on social media and will help you get the right size and shape. 

What is the standard picture size?

Before we take a look at the various photo sizes, you might be wondering what the most common photo size is. The standard photo size is 4 x 6 inches, often known as the 4R size. 

One reason this photo print size is so popular is that it fits into many photo albums and frames. It’s easy to display and works with the standard photo paper size. So, it’s a safe printing photo size to choose from.

But it’s also just the right size. It’s large enough to see all the details clearly, but it doesn’t take up too much space.

On top of this, it’s become the regular photograph size as it has a 3:2 aspect ratio. Most cameras also use this ratio, including smartphones and digital cameras. As a result, your shots will look clean and natural. 

If you stretch an image to a different aspect ratio, it can look distorted and create a skewed effect. And that’s why the 4R photo is the most common and has become accepted as the standard photo size.

What is the aspect ratio?

Understanding the aspect ratio of your photos will help you to get the right image sizes. It may sound a little complicated, but it’s actually very simple. 

The aspect ratio is the width of the image compared to the height. For example, an image with a 3:2 ratio could measure 2 x 3 inches or 4 x 6 inches.

Here are some other common aspect ratios for photos:

  • 1:1 – this creates a square image
  • 4:3 – the size of many computer screens and some digital cameras 
  • 16:9 – a wider yet common size that’s used for certain social media posts and some computer monitors

Is there a standard wallet photo size?

You may have heard of a standard wallet photo, even though they’re less common than before. 

The regular size for wallet photos is 2.5 x 3.5 inches or 6.35 x 8.89 cm. It fits neatly into most wallets and purses, making it a reliable size. 

The Two Main Types of Standard Photo Sizes: R & A Series 

There are two common ways to measure photo sizes. It can be helpful to understand each one, so you know what people are referring to if they use the other system. 

So, let’s take a quick look at the R & A Series of photo sizes. 

R Series Explanation & Photo Size Chart

The R Series is the most common method used for photo sizes across the world. Photo printing labs use these sizes, and it’s pretty straightforward when you know how it works.

The sizes in the R Series have a number before the letter R, e.g. 2R, 3R, 4R. The number refers to the length in inches along the shorter side.

This size chart shows the different photo sizes of the R Series and their dimensions:

Print NameSize in InchesSize in CMs
2R2.5 x 2.36.32 x 8.89
3R3.5 x 58.89 x 12.7
4R4 x 610.2 x 15.2
5R5 x 712.7 x 17.8
6R6 x 815.2 x 20.3
8R8 x 1020.3 x 25.4
S8R8 x 1220.3 x 30.5
10R10 x 1225.4 x 30.5

As mentioned before, a standard photo is 4R. If you want a poster-sized print, you could go for 10R or 8R. 

The  chart of  standard photo sizes R series

For slightly larger prints, 5R and 6R work well. 2R or 3R make for nice business cards or mini photos. 

A Series Explanation & Photo Size Chart

The International Standard Organization (ISO) created this series of photo sizes. You may be familiar with these sizes as they’re also used for regular paper. So, you might have heard these terms at school. 

For example, you have the regular A4 sheet, the smaller A5 size, and the large A3. 

It’s a little confusing because as the numbers in the names get smaller, the photo gets bigger. So, the largest in the A-Series is the A1, measuring a whopping 23.39 x 33.11 inches. 

The series continues all the way down to A10, which is just 1 x 1.5 inches. 

Here’s a complete photo size chart for your reference:

Print SizeSize in InchesSize in CMs
A123.4 x 33.159.4 x 84.1
A216.5 x 23.442 x 59.4
A311.7 x 16.529.7 x 42
A48.3 x 11.7 21 x 29.7
A55.8 x 8.314.8 x 21
A64.1 x 5.810.5 x 14.8
A72.9 x 4.17.4 x 10.5
A82 x 2.95.2 x 7.4
A91.5 x 23.7 x 5.2
A101 x 1.52.6 x 3.7

With these charts, you can select the size depending on your needs.

The chart of standard photo sizes A series

Standard Photo Sizes for Social Media 

If you want to use your images on social media, you’ll need to know the correct dimensions. Here’s a quick reference guide for you! 

  • Instagram Posts: Square images with 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Instagram Stories: Vertical images measuring 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Facebook Posts: Images of 1200 x 630 pixels work best
  • Facebook Cover Photo: 820 x 312 pixels
  • Pinterest pins: 1000 x 1500 pixels works best
  • LinkedIn post: 1200 x 627 pixels looks best
the most common aspect ratios for social media, videos, and cinema

Facebook Aspect Ratios

Aspect ratio Recommended size
Facebook Profile Picture1:1 128 x 128 pixels
Facebook Cover Photo 16:9 820 x 461 pixels
Facebook Feed Video 9:16 to 1:1 1280 x 720 pixels
Facebook Feed Advertisements 9:16 to 16:9 1200 x 628 pixels
Facebook Carousel Advertisements 1:1 1080 x 1080 pixels
Facebook Live Video 16:9 1280 x 720 pixels
Facebook aspect ratio

Instagram Aspect Ratios

Aspect ratio Recommended size
Instagram Profile Image1:11080 x 1080 pixels
Instagram Feed Square Video1:11080 x 1080 pixels
Instagram Story Video 9:161080 x 1920 pixels
IGTV9:161080 x 1920 pixels
Instagram aspect ratio

Pinterest Aspect Ratios

Aspect ratio Recommended size
Pinterest Profile / Board Photo1:1600 x 600 pixels
Pinterest Optimal Pin2:3600 x 900 pixels
Pinterest Tall Pin2:3600 x 1260 pixels
600 x 1560 pixels
Pinterest aspect ratio

The Wrap Up

Knowing the right size for any image can be a huge game-changer. It will prevent you from searching around on the Internet every single time. (Instead, bookmark this page so you can come back to it!) 

You won’t have to waste time resizing your images because you got mixed up with the sizes. 

And wherever you use your images, they will look high-quality and stunning. 

The last thing you want is to upload or print distorted or pixellated images. But now you have a good understanding of the various photo sizes and when to use them. So, you’re all set! 

Let me know if you have any questions below! Then, follow me on Pinterest for more helpful resources for creatives and professionals. 

Standard photo size and aspect ratios


Outmane is the founder of Proactive Creative. He is an artist/designer.

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