Digital Photography 101 – How to Best Print Your Photos

The highlight of a Digital Photography 101 class is sharing your photography with others. With digital photography there are many ways you can do this: email, your website, online photography albums, but as for those really good photos, the ones that really show off your new photography skills and the places, people, pets and things you love…Well, some photographs deserve to be printed and framed. A nicely framed photograph makes a wonderful gift, but you’ll also want to grace your home’s walls with them too.

Besides framing and hanging your best photographs, there are a few other reasons you may find you have for printing your photos. Here are a few of the many ways printed photographs are used.

  • Framed for the mantle, table and wall displays
  • Posters
  • Wallet pictures
  • Memory books
  • Greeting cards
  • Photo crafts
  • Entered into competitions (county fair, etc.)

Even in our digital day and age, we still have lots of interesting and beautiful things to do in print! But printing a photograph isn’t as easy as selecting “Print” on you computer. Printing a quality print of a photograph is trickier than printing, say, a flyer. The following tips will make the process easier:

Size Counts

Whenever you resize a photo on your computer, think first if you may ever want to print it. If so, be sure to hang on to the original.

The first thing to understand is how many pixels are needed when taking the picture in order to get a high enough resolution to produce a quality print for the physical size you want. Below are some figures to help.

  • High quality 10 x 13: 2592 x 1944 pixels (5 mega pixel camera set for high resolution.)
  • High Quality: 9 x 12 inches: 2272 x 1704 pixels (4 mega pixel camera set for high resolution).
  • High Quality: 8 x 10 inches: 2048 x 1536 pixels (3 mega pixel camera set for high resolution).
  • High Quality: 4 x 6 inches, 5 x 7 inches: 1600 x 1200 pixels (2 mega pixel camera set for high resolution)

As you can see, you don’t need a camera with tons of mega pixels to get quality prints.

Using the correct settings on your printer is also important. Check with your manual or the manufacturers recommendations on their website. Then use a photo editor to resample the photos to the appropriate dpi. For those new to printing, dpi stands for “dots per inch.” The more dots per inch, the finer the grain of the picture and the better it looks. The ink jet printers on the market today that are used for quality photo prints often have dpi resolution of around 1200 to 4800. This sort of dpi will produce quality prints of photographs that have around 140 to 300 pixels per inch.

Please note that the ppi or pixels per inch is the measurement for the resolution of a photograph taken with a digital camera, not to be confused with the height and width of the photo. For example a 200 pixel x 300 pixel photograph would be quite small, while a photo with a 300 ppi needn’t be small because ppi refers to the quality not the physical size of the picture.

Using the Right Photo Paper

Use photo-printing paper and if possible that which is made by your printer’s manufacture and is recommended for your model or model family. Use special paper for projects such as greeting cards. Both are sold at many office supply and crafts stores, as well as online.

If you’re looking for an easier way to get high quality prints, say for a special event such as a contest or a large size photograph you want to frame and display, remember that a local or online printer is another option.


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