Cropping is trimming an image to make it the same shape as a standard print size. For instance, a 4x6 image is oblong, but an 8x10 image is almost square, so an image must be trimmed differently to fill up the space in each size.
For the sake of illustration, let's say that you have a long, thin panoramic image that is 1" high and 6" wide. If you want to print that image on a 4"x6" paper, you can either print the image uncropped, which would show the entire image 6" wide picture and 1" tall with 1.5" of white space on the top and bottom, or, cropped, which would blow the image up to 4" high, but would only show the middle 1.5" of the original photo. Uncropped shows the whole photo and cropped trims the photo to fill up the printing space. If the photo has the same ratio as the paper, then an uncropped photo can show the entire image; if the photo and the image have different ratios, then an uncropped print will have some white space on two sides of the photo.
Typically, digital images are not the same shape as standard print sizes. This means the images must be cropped to fill the print paper. dotPhoto automatically crops images to fit the print sizes we offer. This is a common practice in the photo-finishing industry.
dotPhoto crops images according to what is called Top Center Cropping. Because most faces appear toward the top of a photo, our cropping window captures the area half way between the top edge and the center of the photo. This ensures that more photos include the faces.
You can choose to turn off cropping for your prints. If you select no cropping when you order prints, the image will not be cropped. However, if the image does not exactly conform to the standard aspect ratios of the selected print size, there will be white borders on two sides of the finished print. The amount of white space depends on how different the image's aspect ratio is from the print size. Please note all sides may not have the same amount of white space.