TWiP Family 039: February Q and A

In this question and answer episode, we talk about cropping, photography at theme parks and how to simply light indoor family events.

First, Vickie asks why she always has to crop her photos when she gets them printed. We talk about different aspect ratios and paper sizes. I recommend she leave some space around her subjects if she thinks the photo will be a print someday.

Then Erika Thornes answers a question from Christina about what camera, if any, she should take to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Erika recommends using a smaller DSLR like a Canon Rebel with a 40mm pancake lens. Better yet, she says, get a little mirrorless camera like her Sony A6000.

I talked to Christina after her trip to Harry Potter’s World of Wizardry and asked her what she ended up doing. She didn’t have time to get a new camera. It was a spur of the moment trip. She took her Canon 5D Mark II and two lenses. She took her DSLR the first day she was at the park with her family. She found it hard to get photos because there are so many people everywhere. It’s hard to get a photo of your kids without also getting some guy in a bright orange shirt eating pizza. On the second and third day she was at the park, she only had her camera phone and loved it.

Our listener tip is from Roger Dallman. Roger uses photo bulbs in his home for occasions like Christmas when family will be gathering in his home. He wrote a great post about his lighting.

If you have a family photography question for the next q and a show, a favorite photographer you’d like to hear on TWiP family or a topic you’d like to hear about email me. I’m at

I’m doing a 365 Project this year. That’s taking and posting a photo every day all year long. A talented and friendly group of TWiP family listeners are also doing the project along with me. (I love them for it.) You can see the photos in our Flickr group: TWiP Family 365 Project 2016. Join us!


  1. Great topics!

    To crop in Lightroom, folks can also use the Print module, which allows users to change the paper size (eg 4×6) and shrink to aspect ratio (eg 4:3). These settings can get saved to the exported jpg, and allows folks to get an uncropped image on any chosen paper size. For example, you can print an uncropped 4:3 ratio from a micro43 camera onto a 4×6 paper size by utilizing the Lightroom print module.

    Also, our family takes regular trips to Disneyland. If your goal is to take portaits, and blurring out the background to separate distractions, then using a 50mm prime on a full frame camera is the way to go. The key is to have a comfortable adjustable strap, like the Peak Design Slide, which makes the camera feel like a small purse. For more flexibility, we also take a Sony RX100m4 for 24-70mm the zoom, and 4K/Slow-mo capability. It’s much easier to get good video results on the compact cameras, rather than trying to get video on a DSLR. Lastly, for folks who don’t want to bring a camera, Disney has their own photographers located all around the park, which allows you to download or order prints online.

  2. oh yes, aspect ratios…. ;-D

    Film was/is an aspect ratio of 3:2. That became the standard because everybody and his mother was shooting 35mm. In the old days of analog photography there were a bunch of different formats (5×7, 6×6, etc., there was even landscape – I think Jeff Bridges, yes THE Jeff Bridges, shoots a native wide-angle camera).
    So, if you shoot mFT which is 4:3, you have to crop, if you want to print to 8×10.

    Jennys tip, if you have to print to many different formats, is the best way to do it. My Lumix actually shows me different aspect ratios on the screen/view finder, so I can compose for the aspect ratio in camera. DSLRs don’t let you do that thru the view finder, but maybe you can find a setting in your camera that gives you the aspect ratio in live view on the screen.

  3. Thank you for your comment. I never use the Print module so I appreciate you chiming in about it.
    And, your recommendations about Disneyland are great too.
    Thanks for listening,

  4. Hi Florian,
    It does some times feel like the joke’s on you when your want to print something in a certain size and it doesn’t work! I also like what you say about different aspect ratios telling different stories.
    I always appreciate your thoughts. Thanks for listening,

  5. Yay! Glad to contribute. The Print module is also the place where you can embed ICC printer profiles into your jpg’s. I use Costco’s profiles, available from drycreekphoto. I’ve found colors to be richer and less shifted/washed out when applying their ICC profile. With the ICC profile embeded, the exported jpg might look a little strange, but the actual prints that you get look great. Thanks!

  6. Hello! There was one other thing I meant to mention about using phones as cameras at the amusement park and battery life. Erika is very right that batteries drain quickly.

    I had a solution for this, though. I’ve found that it’s not the camera that drains the battery, it’s all the internet and phone functions the phone is trying to use all the time. So, I put my phone in airplane mode. Once in a while I would turn the wireless services back on if I needed to look something up. But one of the things I love about vacations is being disconnected from the rest of the world. I’m at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – do I want to be interrupted by Muggle phone calls and texts? Merlin’s Beard, no, I don’t!
    By leaving my phone in airplane mode, I never had a battery issue at all.

  7. Great idea about airplane mode. Additionally, there are some awesome compact power bricks available now that you can use to continually charge your phone when not in use in a bag. You can never have enough power if you utilize photo + 4K video on vacation.

    Also, there are a great set of add-on compact lenses available to give you an 18mm or 60mm FOV when you might need it on your mobile phone…. I think the best ones on the market right now might be made by Moment.

    Lastly, there are great apps that enable you to use manual functions to control shutter speed, iso, and focus. I use ProCam for my iPhone to get complete control if I need it. Manual control can be essential for iPhones because they tend to choose slow shutter speeds.

    Hope I didn’t restate any of your tips! I don’t have the time at the moment to replay the podcast. Thanks for sharing!