Don't play with your Pixels (Tips for printing high quality photos)
There’s something special about printing your own photos. You can share thousands of your quick selfies, travel shots or family photos via emails, on Facebook or Instagram, but over time you may lose them in cyberspace. No photos are as special as ones you print and frame to hang on the walls in your home.
But how do you save disappointment when you discover your digital file is not large enough to print at the size you would like?
- Make sure your phone or camera settings are taking decent size photos.
- Don't crop (too much, if at all) when using the Love it Frame it design tool.
Quality prints can be achieved with a little knowledge and understanding that starts at the moment you click the camera. Done. Your photo has been taken but was it the right size to get that print? Read on to unravel the mystery of file sizes and the power of PIXELS.
HOW BIG CAN I PRINT - Pixels are King!
Taking photos to flash around on social media is quick, easy and requires very little file information. However, to take an image to print as a quality print requires a larger file and a little knowledge on how best to treat your digital files.
It's all to do with the Pixels.
When you take a photo, the camera collects all the information that you will ever have (photo quality can only ever go down hill once the photo is taken).
The information gathered is in the form of many tiny dots that all fit together to create the picture (these are the 'pixels')
The possible size of your print is determined by the number of pixels in your original file. The more pixels, the larger the file can be printed.
If you take a photo with a small amount of pixels then print it too big, you will get 'pixelation' where you start to see the tiny squares of pixels appearing. Your photo may be blurred with the image unclear.
HOW DO I MEASURE MY FILE SIZE (PIXELS)
There are two ways photographers express resolution using pixels. The first is the height and width of an image, e.g. 2048px x 1536px.
The second method measures the total numbers of pixels in an image. So if we use the example above, 2048 X 1536 = 3,145,728 pixels. This would be expressed as 3.1 megapixels (MP).
You can find your image size (resolution) by looking for the image properties directly on your smart phone, tablet or computer.
HOW MANY MEGAPIXELS MP OR MB DO I NEED FOR AN OK PRINT?
To give you an idea on the file sizes you need, these are the minimum recommended file sizes for the Love it Frame it uploads to achieve an OK print, and the BEST print. Larger file sizes result in a better quality print so the bigger your file size, the better. The maximum file size to upload with Love it Frame it is 20MB. Upload the largest file you have for any of the frame choices.
30cm x 30cm OK 1500 x 1500pixels 3MB BEST 3600 x 3600pixels 10MB
42cm x 42cm OK 2000 x 2000pixels 4MB BEST 4800 x 4800pixels 16MB
A1 42cm x 60cm OK 2000 x 3000pixels 6MB BEST 4800 X 7200pixels 20MB
Our canvas and frame design tool will let you know if your file is too small.
SMARTPHONE RESOLUTIONS - Inbuilt capabilities
Smartphone cameras have improved dramatically over the years. These days, the majority of new smartphones all boast impressive capture quality when it comes to their cameras. Here’s a table of the latest smartphone capabilities:
Go into general information on your smartphone, you can find the inbuilt capabilities of your camera.
For the best print quality, retain your original files.
FILTERS AND EDITING
Every time you edit a photo, you risk dropping the image quality. Adding filters to photos can add noise and, in some cases cause pixelation.
Certain smartphone photography apps produce larger and better quality images than others. So it’s important to check in the settings that your edited images are being saved in the highest resolution possible. ie save as a TIFF file.
If you crop a photo, you are taking out information from that file. The cropped portion of your image will be a smaller size of the original image in terms of pixels. If you then enlarge that smaller image, you are stretching the pixels beyond its capability for a quality print. Pixelation and blurring may occur.
HAVE FUN WITH YOUR SMARTPHONE
If you are serious about getting quality images to print, google your camera make and learn how to use the camera settings to their best advantage.
I'm loving the PORTRAIT mode on my new iPhone, however, I've had to practice to get the right distance, (depth of field), subject movement and light adjustments to get great shots. Learn to read the pop up instructions as they appear on your screen. Portrait mode is not for taking a quick shot, moving subjects or long distance subjects. It's fabulous for still life, portraits close up and subjects with lots of detail to get the focus/blur effect. Practice for perfection!
SUMMARY TIPS FOR QUALITY PHOTO PRINTS FOR PRINTING
- Upload original digital files only
- No cropping of images prior to uploading them into your frame choice
- Refrain from putting filters and apps on your original files unless they were very large to begin with and have adequate pixels for printing. Check the file size prior to uploading.
- Ask your friends for original files if you are wanting a photo posted on social media. Files on social media such as Facebook and Instagram have been compressed and are usually too small to print.
So, to wrap things up..
Fine art prints can be easily achieved if you follow the basics.
- Know your image resolution
- Avoid cropping or filters
The most important thing is to get your setting right prior to taking photos. That way you can just shoot images and have confidence in selecting your favourite images to upload. Enjoy as you create your own masterpieces for your wall in the Love it Frame it online store here.
Jen Hutchison © 2019