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How Big Can I Print My Image?

Written By Bianca On 30 Dec 2021

We get many questions about image size. Although we are always happy to asses your images for you to determine their max print size, we thought you may appreciate the following information.

If you enlarge any image past its native print size, interpolation will occur (pixel inventing) resulting in a loss of quality. This loss of quality may be very slight and is directly affected by the following factors:

  1. The megapixel size of your camera
  2. The sharpness of your image (is it in focus?)
  3. The subject matter (is it an arty/abstract image that will not suffer from loss of details)
  4. Your camera’s exposure settings can also have an effect on print quality. An ISO 800 image will look better printed smaller than the same image on ISO 100
  5. The amount of editing and effects you have applied to the image

Generally the bigger the original image file the better it will look when printed as you can see from the following guide.

Jpeg File Sizes

(a rough guide for well exposed, in focus images)

 

  • 0kb to 500kb – Up to A2 (Image quality will suffer at larger sizes)
  • 500kb to 1mb – Up to A0 (Image will lose sharpness and quality at larger sizes)
  • 1mb to 2mb – Up to A0 (Image may suffer from sharpness and quality loss at A0 and above)
  • 2mb to 3mb – Up to A0 and above ( There should be little loss in quality)
  • 4mb and over  – Up to A0 and above, comfortably.

For our more advanced users you may want to set up Photoshop to accurately show you how your image will look at a given size.

First you need to know the following:

  1. Your monitor resolution in Pixels ( if you do not know this go to www.whatismyscreenresolution.com)
  2. You will need to find out your monitors PPI , you may be surprised to find out that it is not 72dpi. Go to DPI Calculator. Enter the resolution you determined in the previous step as well as the size of your monitor (20inch, 24inch etc) Your PPI will be displayed.

 

  1. Now in Photo Shop go to Preferences (Ctrl K for PC and Cmd K for Mac)
  2. Go to “Units and Rules”
  3. Now in “Screen Resolution” enter the PPI you determoned in the previous steps.
  4. Hit OK to close.
Now when you select  VIEW / PRINT SIZE in Photo Shop it will do some fancy calculations and display, very accurately, how your image pixilation will look when printed.  (It is worth noting this is not 100% perfect but is very close.)
 
Remember, if you are unsure if your image is big enough contact us  and we will be happy to help you.