How to Print in Large Format

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Printing large-size photos can be tricky, especially if you begin with a small file size. Always take photos in the largest size possible (highest resolution) on your camera and in RAW format to allow for possible large-scale printing. After the camera, the only possible way to set the photo for large scale printing is through a computer editing program such as Photoshop. The actual printing of the photo will require the services of a photo printing center as large expensive equipment is necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Photo
  • Photo editing software
  • Print shop
  • Change (if needed) the resolution of the photograph to 300 digital pixels per inch (dpi). Print shops generally recommend between 240 and 360, but 300 will ensure that you have the clearest image, free of both blur and grain. Altering the dpi is a different procedure for every photo editing program but is usually done through an "image size" application.

  • Set your photograph dimensions to the exact width and height you desire for print size. After changing the dpi, set the dimension to your preference. This may or may not require you to crop the image. If you want the photo to print as 24 x 36 inches, set it using the "image size" application on your photo program. When doing so, set the measurement increments to inches or you will end up with centimeters.

  • Save the file as a Photoshop (.psd) file or a TIFF (.tif) file. These file formats will give you a much better result than a JPEG (.jpg). A JPEG is a compression of pixels in the image, sort of like a "squeezing" of pixels in order to create a smaller and more manageable photo. When the image is compressed, it loses clarity and details. In small images seen only on the computer this is alright, but for large prints, the difference is substantial. For best results, take your photos in TIFF format (also called RAW on many digital camera models).

  • Find a print shop or online boutique to print your photo through. It is impossible to print large photos at home. Unless you are willing to invest in a large-scale printer (costing anywhere between $1,500 and $10,000), a professional print shop is the best solution. Many online shops allow you to upload your photo directly to the website and then send the print to you in the mail. Other printing shops such as Xerox locations or small independent stores require that you bring the file on a flash drive.

Tips & Warnings

  • Only print photos that you hold complete rights to. Printing a photo that does not belong to you, even if only for your
  • in-home use, is copyright infringement.

References

  • Photo Credit la photo image by richard villalon from Fotolia.com
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