Photos are an excellent keepsake for remembering any special occasion. Weddings, birthdays, and even family road trips are all worthy of photo ops. But sometimes, a small photo print just isn’t enough to truly express how important a captured moment was. In some cases, you want a larger photo to show off your artistic vision. However, before you go searching for ‘photo enlargement near me’ to get your print, you’ll want to make sure that your image is properly formatted for large photo printing. Otherwise, that special memory you want to remember can come out looking blurry, faded, or discolored.

Photo Enlargement Quality

Before the marvels of modern technology, you’d have to go through leaps and bounds to enlarge your photos. You’d first need to take them on a high-resolution camera and use specialized photo printing equipment to get them to the right size. These days, thankfully, even the lens in your phone is strong enough to take a quality photo that can quickly be enlarged.

Making sure that your photo enlargement project comes out right is all about DPI (dots per inch). DPI is the measurement that tells computer screens and printers how many dots, or pixels, are in one inch of your image. The more dots you have, the better the quality will be, especially at a larger size.

DPI Basics

Typically, images that you see on the internet are small. Even Instagram posts are rarely that large of a file. In fact, low DPI is commonly used for many internet images (such as logos and banners) to help prevent copyright theft. Typically, an internet image is set to 75 DPI. This way, when it’s shrunk down to fit the confines of its display area, the new size is perfect for the DPI, creating a beautiful image. However, if someone were to copy or download that image right from the website, it would become distorted and blurry, making it unusable. 

However, if you were to try and print an image at 75 DPI, the image wouldn’t come out right at all. Computer screens can compress images to make smaller DPIs still look acceptable, but printing equipment cannot. The general rule of thumb is that the larger the surface area of the image, the higher the DPI needs to be for it to print properly. Some images can create photo enlargement prints at 150 DPI, but it’s recommended that you don’t use anything less than 300 DPI when enlarging a photo for print.

What Size Can You Print?

Not all images are the same. Some of your photos will print out just fine at 20X20, while others may start losing quality once you hit 10X10. To know how much you can enlarge your photo, follow these steps:

  1. Open your file in your computer’s preview program
  2. Go to the menu bar and click on the “tools” option (Mac)/Click on the ellipsis on the top toolbar (Windows)
  3. Under the drop-down menu, find the “adjust size” option and select it
  4. Make sure the Width and Height options are set to inches, and your Resolution is set to pixels/inch 
  5. Set the resolution to 300 pixels/inch. The options for your height and width should then automatically be set to match the resolution. (Mac users: be sure to uncheck “resample image” before doing so)

The height and width that your image sets itself to are not what you are confined to when printing. You can certainly print smaller if you’d like, but you can also print bigger. It’s important to note, however, that the larger you make your image, the less clear it will be. You can typically go up to twice as large as the normal settings allow before your image becomes too distorted to print.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

Enlarging Printed Photos

Ever come across an old family photo that you’d love to have a large print of? Now it’s easier than ever to enlarge them. Most photo scanners on the market have a scanning setting of 1200 DPI, meaning the image it creates is four times larger than what you’d need to enlarge a photo. By scanning old photos on a high-resolution scanner, you can resize and print them on a larger scale.

Preparation for Photo Enlargement Shoots

If you know you’re going to be taking photos that you’ll want to enlarge one day, there are some steps you can take to help ensure the file is large print-ready once you go to the printer.

Digital Camera

Smartphones have high-quality lenses and can capture some high-resolution images. However, using a digital camera is still your safest bet for getting a good print. If you’re buying a new camera for the occasion (or are choosing between two or more you already have), make sure you use the camera with the higher megapixel lens.

Shoot Size

Some cameras allow you to set the mode of your camera to configure your files differently. For example, you can set your images to save as jpegs right as you take the image. If you are doing this, however, make sure the camera’s settings are set to the highest quality.

Digital Noise

The grain that you often see in photos is known as digital noise. To avoid a grainy look, make sure your camera’s ISO setting is low. You may need to lower your shutter speed to help brighten certain photos when using a low ISO setting.

Photo Enlargement with Guru Printers

At Guru Printers, we’re dedicated to helping you with any print job you have. We provide high-quality photo enlargement in Los Angeles and can ship all over the world. If you want to print a photo in large format, our file upload and editing process can help you ensure that your image is set to print at a high resolution. That will make your photo enlargement project pop. You can start your project online or give us a call at (213)-320-4865 if you need assistance with your order.