Important notes about photo enlargement tips:
This section is designed to provide you with some basic pointers on how to produce the finest quality photo enlargements and digital photo printing possible from your original photographic images. As with any technical science, there are usually a number of methods available to produce an end result, and digital photo processing is no exception.
The photo enlargement tips we provide here are designed for use with the advanced digital photo processing and enlargement software we utilize. The tips we offer here may not yield quality results with other digital photo processing labs or printing services that use standard processing and printing systems.
Photo Enlargement Tips- Digital Photos:
Digital Photo Resolution
Digital Photo Sharpening
Digital Photo File Types
Photo Enlargement Quality
A Word About Monitors
Photo Enlargement Tips- Film Photos:
Film Photo Prints
Photographic Negatives and Transparencies
Photo Enlargement Tips for Digital Photos:
Digital Photo Resolution:
The original resolution digital photo from the camera should be used for photo enlargement and printing. Do not resample, resize or interpolate the original digital photo before photo enlargement and printing.
Finest quality photo enlargements and prints will be produced from the original resolution digital photo from your camera. Of course, the highest quality or resolution setting should be used on your camera at all times for the best quality prints. The higher the original photo resolution, the larger the digital photo can be printed while maintaining the same image quality as the original photo.
Many people believe resampling, resizing or interpolating the original digital photo file to a higher resolution (DPI), say 300dpi, will produce a better quality print. This is actually not the case. Each time a digital photo is resampled, the image pixels are rebuilt through the editing software. The original image and color data are “averaged” to produce the new image, and are not the true, original image. This will produce a slightly degraded appearance which may not be visible when printed small. When the image is enlarged, it will become very visible.
Our photo enlargement and image resolution building is processed through very advanced enlargement software. This software is much more refined than the bicubic resampling method used by Photoshop and other image editing software. After we process a digital photo through this software, the file is sent to the large format printer by the RIP (raster image processing) software. This highly advanced image processing and color management software then processes the digital photo file to a resolution of 360ppi for print at a resolution of 2880dpi.
As you can see, the photo enlargement of your digital photo should be left to us for the finest quality photo enlargement possible…and why not, it’s FREE!
Digital Photo Sharpening:
Do not sharpen your digital photo before photo enlargement.
Sharpening a digital photo has the same effect on the image pixels as resampling the photo. You do not want to sharpen the image before photo enlargement processing as this will cause the digital photo to create an “edgy” or even slightly pixelated appearance after the photo is enlarged. The greater the enlargement percentage, the greater this effect will be.
Sharpening a digital photo should be the very last function performed on the file before printing. We can sharpen a digital photo enlargement before printing. To get the very best results requires a certain degree of experience. The effects on various elements of the image need to be weighed to determine the proper amount of applied sharpening. The image sharpening function should always be performed while viewing the photo at 100% magnification to display the true pixel optical quality. Then apply any sharpening to see how the photo is affected. Just edit>undo to remove any sharpening that appears to degrade the photo.
Digital Photo File Types:
Which image file type is best to use for photo enlargement?
The file type of the photo you would send for photo enlargement does not really matter, although any standard image file type such as .jpg, .tif or .psd is recommended. We can accept any standard image type file and always convert the file to a workable file format as soon as we download the photo file.
There are a couple points that should be mentioned here. You should not resave the same .jpg digital photo file more than 4 or 5 times before sending for photo enlargement. Each time a .jpg photo file is saved the image color bit depth can be slightly compressed which will produce a very slightly lower color gamut, or a little less original photo color.
If your digital camera has the feature of capturing photos in the RAW or .tif file formats, I would recommend using this option. RAW file type would be your best choice. RAW photo files will capture a wider range of color, or color bit depth. Different file types will not change the pixel resolution of the photo. You can send us a RAW digital photo and we can convert this file type to a workable and printable file format, but it may be best if you convert the RAW file to a .tif file before sending for enlargement and printing.
Photo Enlargement Image Quality:
What are photo enlargements and prints with original image quality?
Original image quality is the precise appearance of the original photo. To view your photo’s precise appearance, you should open the digital photo in an image editing program like Photoshop, and zoom in on the photo to 100% magnification. This would be like viewing the photo from a few inchs or so away, and will be precisely how the photo enlargement will print when the photo enlargement maintains original image quality.
When processing photo enlargements of digital photo files, the image will maintain original image quality up to a certain size determined by enlargement percentages applied to the original photo. Processing the file to sizes larger than we recommend will cause the photo to begin to soften, or become slightly less detailed. The photo will not become pixelated. This occurs when the photo is printed at low resolutions (minimum of 300ppi recommended). Our advanced RIP software will always print the photo at 360ppi, so it will never print pixelated.
We will process your digital photo to the largest recommended print size while maintaining original image quality at no charge. If you are requesting a print size that is out of this recommended photo enlargement range, we will send you our recommendation of the largest print size possible within this range. If you still want the photo printed larger than our recommended photo enlargement, we will inform you of the degree of image softening. This way, you have a good idea of whether or not to order the print of your photo.
A Word About Monitors:
What you see may not be what you get.
Probably the most important element in digital printing, and the least thought of, is the computer monitor. Unless your monitor has some sort of calibration and color profiling applied and used with an image editing software color management system, getting prints that look like they did on your monitor is like throwing dice. They may be close, but then again, they may not. Even ambient temperature, humidity and lighting conditions can affect how color is displayed on monitors. So when enhancing and editing digital images, a certain degree of care should be taken.
Most digital cameras and standard printing systems use the sRGB color space. It is possible to set your monitor to this color space, which will help to display images more correctly when working with and enhancing your digital images. If you need assistance with setting your monitor, feel free to contact us.
Our digital photo printing system is professionally color managed. Our monitors are calibrated and profiled to work with the color management policies enabled in the color management software. What we see on the monitor is precisely what is printed. We personally review ever photo we print to look for any issues with the photo adjustments. We will adjust and enhance your original digital photo for the very best print presentation possible at no charge.
Photo Enlargement Tips for Film Photos:
Photo Enlargement of Film Photo Prints:
The quality and size of photo enlargement possible from film photo prints is directly related to the size and actual quality of the original photo print. The larger the original print, usually the better the photo quality, so the photo can be enlarged to much larger print sizes. We can produce larger, better quality photo enlargements from an 8×10 print than a 4×6 print, in most cases. The printed enlargement will appear precisely as the original photo, only much larger. We can scan photo prints up to 8×10 in size.
The actual quality of the photo print will determine the quality of the photo enlargement. You should take a very close look at the photo you want to enlarge. If it appears to be grainy or hazy in detail, the photo enlargement will look exactly the same way, only much larger. Best results are obtained with newer, clear prints that appear very clear in detail. Gloss finish prints usually yield the best enlargements. Textured or e-surface prints will maintain the photo’s surface appearance in the scanned digital file, and sometimes scanning a textured print will produce white spots or dots from the texturing.
Most film photo prints also have very small spots and dots in the image that cannot be seen by the human eye on smaller prints like 4x6s. When enlarged, these defects will be apparent. It’s possible to digitally edit or retouch this defects, although an additional retouching charge may apply. We include some minor photo retouching with the photo scan.
Photo Enlargement of Photographic Negatives and Transparencies:
As with photographic prints, photo enlargement sizes possible from negatives and transparencies is directly related to the actual size of the original photo. Again, best enlargement results are obtained with newer originals that have been cared for properly and are not damaged.
The quality and clarity of negatives and transparencies is hard to judge before scanning. If you are considering enlarging a slide, viewing the photo with a slide projector will help determine the quality of the photo. Although we offer minor retouching included in the scanning charge, usually negatives and transparencies will require additional retouching and editing to produce a quality print. Extra charges apply here and the amount of time that may be required working on any particular photo cannot be determined before scanning the original negative or transparency.