If math wasn’t your favorite subject in High School, you may be confused by crop ratios. Not to worry, I will explain it all for you now! Okay. Let me back up a step. A crop ratios (or aspect ratios) is the relationship of the height to the width in an image. The reason this is an important concept to understand in photography is because professional cameras take photos at a 2×3 ratio (which is equivalent to 4×6, 6×9, 8×12) That means if you want to order a print in one of those sizes, it will come out looking exactly like it did in the camera (except retouched and much prettier!)
However if you wanted to order a 5×7, 8×10, or 11×14 (which are not the same aspect ratio as a 2×3) a significant portion of the image will be cropped out.
Check out the examples below. You’ll notice in the image of Jaimie and Brian against that awesome brick factory. Cropping it to a different ratio isn’t all that detrimental to the image. Yes, we still lose some of the building but all the important compositional pieces are still there.
Now check out this image below of Kate eating pasta. This image is particularly dynamic because of the elements on the very top and very bottom of the image. As we crop away to ratios that consume more of the image, you can see it loses it umph.
But not to fret… there is a solution. As I mentioned earlier, you can always get larger prints made to custom sizes to keep all the awesome pixel-ey goodness in.