The advances that have been made in the technology of cameras, lenses, and other photography gear means that photographers of all skill levels are more likely to create better photos than ever before.
But getting a great photo doesn't begin and end with the quality of the gear that's used...
Obviously, there's a ton of skill involved to get a well-exposed, well-composed image.
There's also a need to understand how to process images in Photoshop, Lightroom, and the like.
But the final step in the process - getting your photos printed - is also a crucial element of the success of your photos.
Here's a few tips for ensuring you get the highest quality prints you can.
File Size Matters
Not all that long ago, memory cards had a small enough capacity that you had to be concerned with running out of space.
That usually meant adjusting the file size of the images you take to a small, medium or large JPEG file.
The problem with JPEGs is that they're compressed, which is great for saving space on a memory card, but not so great for having all the information the camera's sensor collects.
The data that's lost when a JPEG is compressed isn't recoverable, so you're limited regarding what you can do with the image in post-processing.
Fortunately, memory cards now are both high-capacity and much less expensive than they used to be, so don't worry about running out of space.
Instead, set the image quality on your camera to RAW, that way you have files that contain the maximum amount of image data possible.
Doing so will only enable you to do more with the image in post-processing, and that, in turn, translates into better prints.
Get more details on why you should shoot in RAW in the video above by Karl Taylor.
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Megapixels Are Important
Sometimes, photographers can get a little too caught up in megapixel count.
After all, things like the autofocus system, the image processor, and the ISO performance are just as important to consider when purchasing a camera.
That being said, megapixels certainly matter when it comes to getting your images printed.
Though the 4-megapixel image you're looking at on your 21.5-inch computer screen looks great, that same image would be a pixelated mess if it were printed the same size.
That means you need to consider how big you can print your images before ordering a bunch of prints.
To determine how large you can print a photo, look at the image file to find the dimensions of the shot (you can also use a program like Photoshop to look at the image size).
Then, simply multiply the dimensions to get an estimate of the image's megapixels.
So, for example, if the image is 1236 x 838, that equals 1,035,786 pixels, which is just over 1-megapixel. In other words, it's not looking good for this image to be turned into a large print.
Well, 150 pixels per inch (ppi) is the standard resolution for high-quality prints.
If you divide the image's width and height by 150, you get the rough dimensions (in inches) of the print you can get.
Using the example from above, we'd divide 1236 by 150 and 838 by 150, which is 8.24 x 5.59. That means our image couldn't be printed larger than about 8x6 without losing quality.
In other words, if you want to have a very large print made, the original photograph needs to be taken with a camera that has a lot of megapixels.
That doesn't mean you need to rush out and buy a Canon 5DS R that has a 50.5-megapixel sensor. But what it does mean is that you shouldn't be surprised if the selfie you took with the 5-megapixel front-facing camera on your phone can't be blown up to a 48x36 print!
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Consult With the Printing Company for Specific Guidelines
By now you've probably heard the adage that you can take better pictures with a cheap camera and a great lens than you can with a great camera and a cheap lens.
That means that when it comes to image quality, it's the lens that makes the bigger difference, so that's where you should spend your money.
The same reasoning applies to getting your images printed, too.
Not all printing companies are equal, that's for sure. And that's especially true when you're talking about getting large prints made.
That's why it's imperative that you consult with the printer to determine if they have any special guidelines for images.
For example, some companies only accept .jpeg or .png files. Other companies, like Artbeat Studios, also accept .tiff and .psd files, too.
As another example, some printers limit file sizes to 25 MB or below. Again, top-shelf printers allow up to 100 MB files.
Getting your image in the right color space is critical as well. Ensuring that your image is in the color space that the printer recommends will mean you get a better print with more accurate colors.
It's also worth investigating the printing company to see if they outsource their prints or make them in-house.
Printers like Artbeat Studios that do their printing in-house have more control over the quality of the product. They also have more control over the turnaround time. That translates into a higher-quality print in less time!
Something else worth considering is the type of prints you can buy from a printer.
Getting a large print is one thing, but it's nice to have some options regarding the materials that are used.
You don't have to get a print on paper...
Heck, they'll even give you advice on what medium is best for your photo. All you have to do is email them a low-resolution version of the shot, and they'll give you their feedback.
So, when considering a printing company to work with for your large prints (or small ones!), it's not only important to see if they have any special guidelines regarding file types and sizes, but it's also important to explore the types of prints they offer as well as the sizes.
Again, getting a high-quality print requires some due diligence on your part. But partnering with the best in the business - Artbeat Studios - will certainly help you get the best possible prints with maximum visual impact.
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