Big prints

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    I would like to make a big, odd-sized print and I have a couple questions.

    First of all, I took the photo with my old 4 megapixel camera as I was out fishing and wasn’t even sure I would be shooting anything but snapshots. The original file is 1.7 MB. After cropping the top and bottom it is only 727 KB. I’d like to print it at 48″ x 15″. If I enlarge the photo on my computer so that it is 15″ in height it still looks OK. But does anyone with experience think that the file is too small to print at that size?

    If it is possible, where can I get it done? Any idea how much it would cost?

    By the way, the photo is the one I submitted for the Daybreak contest in Sept. Not a super great pic but it has a lot of meaning for me as the place holds years of memories.


    If I remember right, the biggest recommended size for a 4MP shot is like 11×17. past that, there’s just not enough data in the image to blow it up that big very well. What you could try to do to simulate the effect and see if itll work well is take the picture, chop it up into sections, and print all of the sections on a cheap inkjet. Then tape them all back together to get a 48×15 image. It won’t be your final cut, but it might get you a better idea of what it might look like blown up that big, and whether itll be worth the money to try getting it printed that big or not.

    Good luck!


    Late to the party, so I hope this is still of some use.

    I have a 3.2megapixel camera, and I had one of the photos from that printed onto a canvas of a similar size. Because of the uneven surface of the canvas, it hid the imperfections that would have otherwise shown up on a standard print because of the stretching of the image.

    You can find sources online for purpose made canvas sizes, although I imagine any good printing service would have those facilities as well. I’m from the UK so I don’t have any I could recommend that wouldn’t be hideously expensive for you on the posting side.


    The original file is 1.7 MB. After cropping the top and bottom it is only 727 KB.

    I’ve seen this in a couple other places and I’m curious. Why do people use the size of the file on disk as an indicator of image size? A 700kb JPG could be anywhere from tiny to fairly large depending on image content and compression settings, so quoting the file size is really pretty useless. Why not tell us the actual image dimensions?

    The printability of a source image really mostly depends on the typical viewing distance for the picture. If people are going to get up close and bring their magnifying glasses along, you may be out of luck. On the other hand, *normal* people are just going to look at it from a distance where they can see the whole image at once, and luckily for you, that range increases as print size gets bigger, so once you get beyond a certain point (that being the point where a picture can comfortably fill someone’s field of view without going into peripheral vision), you can blow it up as big as you want without taking a hit.

    Another crucial factor is the sharpness of the image in the first place. 4 Megapixels does you just about zero good if you’re shooting with some point-and-shoot with a soft lens. It’s they’re 4 *really sharp* megapixels, you should be okay.

    I would try to aim for no less than about 72 ppi in your print. To figure out what size that is, divide the pixel dimensions of your image by 72 to get the number of inches on a side. Don’t go bigger than that.



    Now that’s an answer that I can sink my teeth into. Thanks. The image is 1922 x 624 pixels. By your 72 ppi limit, that would make it 27ish inches long. The photo content would stand up well to some loss of sharpness as it is a hazy sunrize over water. I just might try it with some matting to fill out the dimensions.

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