Become the Expert – Print Preview & Resolution




Before ordering those big prints it is important to check the resolution and print quality of your images.  There are a couple of easy ways to get a good print preview using Adobe Photoshop instead of placing the order and hoping for the best.  These quick tips should help ease any big print stress and if not, we offer some tips and recommendations on what to do in the event that your ready-to-print image becomes not so ready-to-print.

Quick note regarding DPI versus PPI: “In printing, DPI (dots per inch) refers to the output resolution of a printer or imagesetter, and PPI (pixels per inch) refers to the input resolution of a photograph or image.” Click to read more …

Largest Recommended Print Size


Image left: Original. Image right: preview steps.

Open your ready to print image in Photoshop and select Image size from the Image menu.

1.  Uncheck Resample Image.

2.  Enter 300 DPI as the Resolution.

3.  This is the largest recommended print size for this image.

We say ‘recommended’ because technically we could still push the image to print larger, but the quality will drop and we could end up with a pixelated print.

Crop & Zoom Preview


Image left: crop your duplicated image. Image right: preview at 100%.

Another effective way to get a good print preview is to crop the image to the exact print size and then zoom in 100%.

1. Duplicate the ready to print image so that there is no chance of accidentally saving these changes in place of the original. Use the crop tool to crop the image to the exact dimensions in inches at *300 DPI.

2.  Use the zoom tool to zoom in 100%.

If you see pixels or unintended noise this will be the same once the image is printed. If the image is nice and sharp at 100% it will print nice and sharp.

Tips & Recommendations

Always backup the originals. Sometimes it is hard to tell if and when quality has been lost after processing and cropping. If you find that your ready to print image doesn’t seem to be high enough quality at your desired print size, we recommend re-working your original image. Cropping results in pixel loss so keeping your cropping to a minimum in your re-edit should help. Details can also be lost during processing and as a result you could experience pixelation, noise, banding, etc. You don’t have to go through all of these steps (above) every time you want to print a 20×30, however, a quick zoom into 100% should show you whether or not there will be quality issues.

Typically we don’t recommend interpolating (up-sizing/up-resing) files in Photoshop because the rendering software used by our printers does an incredible job on its own. If you normally use interpolation tools in your workflow please feel free to continue to do so. If you find that your image is particularly problematic and you’re looking for noise reduction software or editing tutorials you can jump on any of the various online photography forums for recommendations.


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