How to Resize Pictures to 4X6

Resizing a picture to 4x6 lets anyone print it without fuss.
Image Credit: gorodenkoff/iStock/GettyImages

Resizing pictures before printing to a standard 4x6-inch size may be necessary to prevent distortion. Improperly sized digital photos don't always fit to scale, and the prints can be low quality. Controlling the aspect ratio to ensure the photo fits properly is important. Some programs won't even run the print if the sizing is off. Do your photo editing in advance to ensure everything fits as intended.

Resize a Photo to 4x6

To change the aspect ratio, you need software to resize images. Most standard photo-editing programs, such as GIMP, Paint and Photoshop, are capable of making the necessary changes. Open the photo in your editing program and locate the toolbar. Navigate to "Edit" and click on the "Resize" option.

Some software programs have this option as a shortcut, and others position the resize button in the toolbar. It is a common tool and is usually easy to locate. After opening the resize option, locate the pixel size and make a note of the current size. Unless it is already set to 4x6 ratio, adjust the width to 6 and the height to 4 or go with 600x400. This sets the photo to the correct dimensions.

Also, look for the fixed aspect ratio option and click the box to enable a fixed ratio. This way, you can enlarge or reduce the size, but the image always maintains that same ratio, which is the correct sizing format for printing as a 4x6.

Automatic Resizing

The photo printing service you use might offer automatic resizing. Many programs are set up to load digital photos through a mobile app or web browser, while others are loaded from a memory disk directly into a kiosk. The program automatically resizes the image to fit and offers cropping abilities to fit odd-sized photos into the frame. If the images don't fit and cannot be resized, the program alerts you and does not print the photo.

Most photos taken with a cellphone or digital camera rarely require resizing to fit a standard 4x6-inch photo format. However, shooting with a wide-angle or panoramic view may create issues. In these cases, resizing may not solve the problem. If you intentionally shoot wide-angle or panoramic images, a custom print may be necessary to achieve the desired effect.

If the photo deserves a larger print, look to 5x7 and larger options to blow up the image. Sometimes a 4x6 is too small to show photos with detail and depth. However, standard 3x6-inch photos are often the most affordable option.

Additional Photo Edits

You can conduct additional edits while resizing an image to 4x6. After setting the image size and locking the aspect ratio, crop the image as necessary to remove unwanted background. The sizing is locked, and it retains the correct dimensions for the 4x6 print. Also, consider doing a basic auto-adjust to the colors and saturation to improve the lighting.

After the photo is finalized and ready to process, save the changes and load to your printing service app or website. If you have plans to print bulk photos, run a test first to see how the sizing and edits perform. If everything looks good, place the bulk order for the prints. Some services have in-store pickup and home delivery options, and 1-hour photo printing remains available at many Walmart and CVS store locations.

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