How do I choose a good image to print?

There are a few things to look out for when you are choosing an image for enlargement. First of all, if you are printing one of your own photos, you will want to make sure that you are working with the original size of the file. Taking the image directly from your camera or phone will be the full size original file. Often, when we email or text a photo, or post it on social media and save it from there, the image will be very compressed in size. Using a compressed version of an original image is best avoided because the small file will not be possible to enlarge at its best quality. This will lead to blurriness and pixelation in print. 

Next, once you have your full size file, you will want to take a good look at it to check for things that might not turn out so well once enlarged. These types of things can be tricky, because looking at the file size or resolution will not reflect more visual aspects of a photo. In this case, the most important things to look for are focus, brightness, and contrast. If an image is captured out of focus, it may look okay on your phone or computer screen when small, but when blown up, it will look foggy or blurry. The best thing to do to check for this is magnify the image on your screen. If details in the photo look foggy, or lines are not terribly sharp, you may want to choose a different image, or a smaller print size. When it comes to brightness and contrast, a handy trick can sometimes be to look at the image while squinting. Do all the contents begin to blend together or are you able to see the subjects well defined? If your image is bright enough and high contrast, you should still be able to make out the subject reasonably well while squinting.

Of course, photography and printing does not only come down to these points. File size, focus, brightness, and contrast are great places to start when deciding on images for print. If you are having trouble finding these elements in your photo, or could use a second set of eyes, you are always welcome to reach out to us by email and our skilled photo experts would be happy to help.

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