What you should know about photo enlargements of digital photos.
Producing photo enlargements from digital photos that print with absolute original photo quality is all about the resolution in pixels of the original digital photo. The higher the initial resolution the larger the photo can be printed and still maintain the actual quality of the photo. Considering the megapixels of today’s newer digital cameras, original image quality prints can be produced in sizes that most people never thought would be possible.
The finest quality any digital photo can print is actually the original capture by the camera’s lens and photo detector at the capture resolution. This means, quality is still a matter of the camera lens and processor, available ambient lighting and the photographers camera settings and talent. When all these aspects are compiled into a digital file at a given resolution, you have the photo’s ultimate image quality. As soon as you consider photo enlargements of this original photo, certain parameters in terms of image resolution have to be maintained to produce actual original photo quality photo enlargements. The main issue is to not alter the original pixels values any more than necessary when increasing the photo size and resolution to produce photo enlargements.
To produce photo enlargements of digital photos, the image resolution must be increased. The key issue here is the processing used and software applications applied to build image resolution. Most “over the counter” (OTC) image editing software is very poor at building image resolution. Photoshop, for example, is an excellent image editing software but is very poor at building resolution. This software uses a simple bi-cubic resampling method which works fine for very low percentage enlargements, but will degrade the original visual quality of a photo. You may not notice the degrading of the original photo quality unless you zoom the photo to 100% view, or print the photo large. Believe me, when printed very large you will notice the difference in quality.
One very important point I should mention. Artificially increasing a digital photo’s resolution to a very high value through any OTC image editing software will not improve the detail, sharpness or any other characteristic of the photo. The truth is, it will have just the opposite effect. Remember, the photo will never have any better quality than the original capture at the original resolution. Boosting resolution with OTC software simply decreases image quality.
About the 300 ppi (pixels per inch) resolution printing standard.
About every customer that we talk with knows about the 300 ppi standard for printing digital photos. The real reason for this standard has to do with what the human eye can perceive in terms of detecting the actual pixel lines. At 300 ppi, the pixel lines are not detectable, but at lower printing resolutions the eye can begin to see the pixels, getting the pixelated look that most people have heard about with photo prints. In conclusion, all digital printing should be performed with image files with at least 300 ppi. Creating image files with excessive resolution, such as 500 or 600 ppi is just overkill and is of no benefit. This just produces huge file sizes, and as stated above, will most likely degrade the original image quality to a high degree.
About Professional Premium Quality Photo Enlargements.
Professional premium quality photo enlargements are produced using a very advanced and sophisticated system of software applications. The heart of this system is utilizing a state of the art RIP software (raster image processing). The core function of an advanced RIP software is to take a lower resolution input photo file and reprocess the file to a higher print resolution file and maintain absolute original photo quality before sending the file to the printer.
When you are considering photo enlargements of your digital photos, we highly recommend you check with any print service provider to make sure they are using a high quality RIP software to be sure you get the highest quality prints possible. Many print providers do not believe a quality RIP is necessary, or are not willing to pay the quite high additional expense for better quality.
The second software application needed for highest quality photo enlargements is an intermediate resolution building application such as Perfect Resize (formerly Genuine Fractals). This application builds a digital photo file to the target output print size with a standardized lower ppi resolution than the required 300 ppi for printing. This would be the prep file sent to the RIP software.
The third software application would be a professional version of Photoshop. The original resolution digital photo file should be sized to a standardized lower resolution file in Photoshop at whatever size in inches, using the image size window and making sure resample is unchecked. This will maintain the digital photo’s original pixel values for the best photo quality. This is the photo file to be processed in the intermediate resolution building application Perfect resize, to the target output print size in inches.
This is precisely the system of software applications we use to produce professional premium quality photo enlargements. Our system spares no expense when it comes to the finest print quality, but then again, professional premium quality photo enlargements is our only business and has been for the past 14 years. That is why we offer a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee on every print we ship.