How to Make BIG Prints

Paris Hotel & Bellagio Fountains
Paris Hotel & Bellagio Fountains

The above photos original size is 50″ x 23″.  This photo can easily be resized to over 10 feet wide with excellent quality.

There are a few things you have to keep in mind to make very high quality prints that will look great when blown up to very large sizes.

You cannot cut ANY corners – anything that isn’t done correctly will show up in large prints.  It’s sort of like the weakest link in a chain – one weak link and the chain breaks.

First, you need to use the best quality lenses possible.  Every flaw is magnified when prints are made large.  Almost any picture will look sharp on a cell phone but blow it way up and all the errors rear their ugly head.  Things like out of focus shots, blur from moving the camera, out of focus edges, chromatic aberration (color fringing), dirty lenses, etc. will all affect the final quality.

Second, you need to use a camera with a very high megapixel size so the picture is much larger to start with.  The more you blow the picture up the poorer the quality will be.  We use a Canon 5Ds full frame camera with a 50.6 megapixel sensor – one of the largest available.  Most professional cameras are anywhere between 20 and 35 megapixels.  For comparison, most cell phones are around 12 megapixels.

Third,  the camera has to be very stable.  That means on a sturdy tripod with a remote cable release.  You cannot press the shutter with your finger – that will cause vibration and show up as blur on very large pictures.

Fourth, the picture has to be processed correctly and resized to the correct final size.  Resizing is a little bit of a black art.  The resizing method will depend on the final print size, the type of print paper, viewing distance, etc. Recently, some AI enlarging programs such as Topaz Gigapixel have become available.  These programs offer the possibility of extreme enlargements with very little loss of detail although there can be some artifacts in the enlargement that need to be checked. There is no one size fits all – every print must have custom resizing.

Fifth, after all this hard work, the picture needs to be printed with the highest quality printer and paper.  A custom 40″ x 60″ print is going to look a lot better from a good custom printer than from a run of the mill consumer discount printer.  You get what you pay for!

I work with Robert Park of Nevada Art Printers for my custom print work and Jerry Coughlin of Art Visions for custom framing.  You can email Jerry or call him at 702-369-1986.

Rotella Gallery - Panorama
Rotella Gallery – Panorama

Another example of a large photo.  The above photos original size is 40″ x 16″.  An 8′ wide photo enlargement should be no problem if done correctly.

Follow these suggestions and you’ll have very high quality large prints.