Should You Enlarge That Picture?

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Should You Enlarge That Picture?

Digital photography may save you money on film, but prints - especially enlargements - are still an expense. Whether you're printing at home (usually 8-1/2" x 11" or smaller) or using a lab or online service for your digital enlargements, you still have to pay for the materials... and who can afford to pay for an enlargement they can't use?

But there's an easy way to avoid disappointment - and wasting your money - when you want an enlargement from your digital photographs.

Open the picture in your image editing software and reset the image size to the enlargement size you want. Then reset the number of pixels per inch down until the file size is the same as the original. For example:

If you have a digital image that's about 10" x 6.7" at 300 ppi (pixels per inch), and you want a 36" x 24" poster, resize the shorter side to 24" (being sure your "Constrain Proportions" box is checked).

Your original file size should have been about 17.2 Megapixels (Mp). Lower the resolution from 300 until you have approximately the same file size. In this case, resetting the resolution to 83 ppi yields a 17.1 MP file.

With your picture resized, tell your imaging editing software to show the photo at actual print size. Yes, only a portion of it will be on the screen, but you can scroll to see the rest.

Scroll all around the resized photo. Is the image on your screen acceptable? If so, then your enlargement probably will be, too. But if not, you've just saved yourself the cost and frustration of enlarging a photo that won't look good as an enlargement.



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Carma Spence-Pothitt