Answers to Common Printing Questions:
1: How large can my digital photograph be printed?
This is a common question. For printing on an Epson® ink-jet printer, we recommend the resolution be at least 150 pixels for every physical inch of print. If you want a print that is 10", ideally the digital files should be at least 1,500 pixels in length (10" x 150 pixels = 1,500 pixels).
This means you need to know the actual pixel dimensions of your image. To find the pixel dimensions, place the unopened image file on your computer's desktop. On a Mac by default the pixel dimensions are displayed beneath the file name. On a Windows PC, hover your mouse pointer over the unopened image icon (see examples, right).*
Once you know the pixel dimensions, divide the numbers you see by 150 to get the maximum number of (rounded off) inches of both sides. Using the top example, 3,744 pixels / 150 = 25" and 5,420 pixels / 150 = 36". Bottom example: 1,174 pixels / 150 = 8" and 980 pixels / 150 = 6.5".
*NOTE: If neither of these options work, you need to open the image in an image editing program such as Picture Manager on a Windows PC and Preview on a Macintosh. In Picture Manager, select 'Picture' > 'Resize' and a pallet will open showing the size settings summary. On a Mac using Preview, select 'Tools' > 'Inspector'. This will bring up a pallet showing the pixel dimensions.
2: Can my print be made larger than recommended by the number of pixels?
Yes, within reason. We use both Adobe® Phtoshop™ and OnOne® software's PerfectResize™ to "up-res" (increase the ressolution) of an image. We charge $10 per image for this service. Which software is used and the amount an image can be enlarged depends on the image and how much you want to 'push' it.
A high resolution image can most likely be increased by another quarter to a third without loss of image quality.
However, there are limits. For example, look at these three pictures:
The first is a low resolution image from the Internet, only 72 pixels per inch. As it is enlarged it does not look sharp and clear, and "artifacts" (extraneous pixels that look like small checkerboard patterns) begin to appear. The higher the resolution (pixels per inch) your image is to begin with, the larger it can be printed and the more satisfied you will be with the enlargement.
3: Can you scan and enlarge an existing photographic print and how much can it be enlarged?
Yes, we have an Epson® Expression™ 10000XL scanner that can scan flat items up to 12" x 16" at very high resolutions. We charge $10 per scan. Items larger than 12" x 16" must be scanned in pieces and digitally reassembled. There is an extra charge for this service.
As to the second question, it depends on the quality of your original print. A sharp, clear 3.5" x 5" photograph can be scanned and enlarged up to 2, possibly 3 or 4 times the original size. Keep in mind, however, if the image is not sharp and clear, not taken with a good camera with a good lens or if it is damaged with age, any imperfection in the original will be bigger and more obvious in the enlargement.
Look at this extreme example:
The original photograph is quite small (2" x 2") and very badly damaged with age. Less obvious than the creases and scratches is the the photographic emulsion which has cracked creating innumerable crevaces that when enlarged, become increasingly obvious. Moreover, the lens of the camera used was good enough for a snapshot but not a portrait. Upon enlargement the girl's features look blury. At the very least this photograph would need serious digital restoration before it could be enlarged and printed.
4: What is an "Aspect Ratio" and what does it have to do with enlarging my photograph?
The aspect ratio of an image describes the proportional relationship between its height and width. To keep things simple, you can use the aspect ratio calculator, below. Measure your existing photograph and put the numbers in the left hand column. Type the desired height or width on the right and the calculator will show you what the corresponding height or width will be.
The aspect ratio is always consistent along the image's diagonal (see chart below). If the aspect ratio of the desired enlargement differs from that of the original, cropping will be necessary. In other words, you can't enlarge a 5x7 photograph to an 8x10 without cropping because the aspect ratios, 5:7 & 4:5, repectively, are different.
Clicking on the chart will download a PDF file that you can print for your reference.
5: What is the best way to get my digital file to you for printing?
You can now upload digital image files directly from your browser!
More Questions? Send us an e-mail and we will be happy to answer your questions. You may also call us and ask for Mike or Kirstie for details on our printing program.