I ordered a bunch of prints from a shop i've been using for a number of years. This time however I ordered a bunch of regular 8x10" prints. When they arrived I put them all in a cello bag and on top of rigid 8x10" backing board and noticed that all the prints are a little smaller. When I measured them all the prints are 1/16 to almost 1/8 of an inch smaller in each dimension. Is this normal or should the prints be exactly 8x10"? I am worried that when people purchase 8x10" frames (which is why I decided to crop and print at this size) the prints will not fit.


Within production of paper based products such as photo prints, there are inaccuracies that are hard to avoid. If the prints are exposed on photo paper usually paper rolls are used which may already show these inaccuracies. Here you can find tolerances that are acceptable within an usual international paper size standard. I would guess, if your deviations are in the same range (about 1/10 in for comparable sizes) you have little arguments for a claim, but I would guess at least with local printers you could at least define some lower tolerances in advance.

There is even a bigger problem if the sizes are derived from a different unit system. In Germany we have a usual size of 10 cm x 15 cm, which may or may not be 4 in by 6 in, dependent on the manufacturer of the paper. In the latter case, it is a deviation of more than 2 mm on the longer side.

Usually the picture frames should be constructed with a bit smaller exposed area such that the border of the print is entirely hidden, but from my experience you can never be sure and have to measure in every single case. Disappointing.

  • my 8x10" prints are almost exactly 2mm smaller on both the short and the long side which is the maximum tolerance based on the link you provided. However I did some reading and it seems that most 8x10" frames and mats have an overlap from 1/4 - 1/2 inch so I should be good. Dec 2 '15 at 19:06
  • The link is only for the ISO paper standard and not for photographic print sizes, so it is just something similar you can take as a rough reference. The German version of the Wikipedia entry about photographic print sizes (en: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photo_print_sizes) mentions a cutting inaccuracy of 1 mm of usual photo production, so what you get is much more inaccurate. Maybe the company tells you the reason if you ask them.
    – Chris
    Dec 2 '15 at 20:57
  • Europe commonly calls 8x10 inch photo paper to be 20x25 cm. But if actually cut 20x25cm, it will be 3 and 4 mm shorter than 8x10 inches. That is near 1/8 inch.
    – WayneF
    Dec 3 '15 at 3:47
  • 20x25cm would be around 7 7/8 inches by 9 13/16 inches. But I believe even in Europe the actual standard is supposed to be 8x10 inches, and 20x25cm is just their approximation in a more familiar unit. In other words, it should be 20.32 by 25.4 cm. Dec 3 '15 at 4:26
  • This may be true for printing companies. I do a lot of inkjet printing myself and buy paper from 4 different companies. From them I get 5 different 10 cm × 15 cm variants (differences in the range of 4 mm). Another aspect is that the printing companies may cut the paper rolls to suit your image aspect ratio. That may introduce another source for differences, especially since they usually use an around 2% larger exposure area to do borderless printing which may distort the aspect ratio and introduces further tolerances.
    – Chris
    Dec 3 '15 at 8:55

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