- How Big Should Large Canvas Prints Be? Consider the Physical Factors of Your Space
- What Image Characteristics Factor into the Size of Large Canvas Prints?
- Submitting Your Image File to a Printing Company
- Choosing a Printer for Large Canvas Prints
- Image Dimensions - This refers to the size of the image in terms of width and height as expressed in pixels (e.g., 1200 x 1800 px).
- Image Resolution - This refers to pixels per inch (PPI) in the image (e.g., 240 px/in). In most printing applications, an image resolution of 300 px/in is recommended.
photo by South_agency via iStock
Large canvas prints have a ton of visual appeal - when done right, of course.
The problem is that in the rush to get your images printed in large format, there’s a few steps you might neglect to take.
In this guide, you’ll learn some tips and tricks for sizing large canvas prints. Using these tips, you’ll get the dimensions and resolution spot on so your print does justice to your image. We’ll share a few other tips for canvas prints, too!
Table of Contents
How Big Should Large Canvas Prints Be? Consider the Physical Factors of Your Space
photo by Hache via iStock
As I discussed in my ultimate guide to hanging canvas prints, sizing your canvas prints involves several logistical factors.
First, you need to consider how much wall space you have. Generally speaking, you want your print to cover about 70 percent of that wall space.
Second, the print should hang at eye level, with the center of the image approximately 57 inches from the floor.
In both cases, the size of your large canvas prints can be constrained. If you have a very small wall space, it will be impossible to hang a large canvas. At the same time, if you want to hang large canvas prints above furniture like a couch or a chair, you’ll need to consider how much vertical space there is on the wall to accommodate the print while keeping its center point at eye level.
photo by DjordjeDjurdjevic via iStock
Another component to this is ensuring that your large canvas prints don’t look cramped on the wall.
At a minimum, there should be several inches of space around the print that gives it room to “breathe.” With some blank space around the image, it will stand out more, and its hanging position will look purposeful and elegant, as opposed to looking cramped or like its positioning was an afterthought.
What Image Characteristics Factor into the Size of Large Canvas Prints?
Aside from the physical factors of the space in which you want to hang your prints, the size of your large canvas prints is really only constrained by the characteristics of the image file.
Let’s go over a couple of terms to know that will help you in your endeavor to size your large canvas prints appropriately:
So, for example, a 30 x 40 print at 300 PPI would require image dimensions of 12,000 x 9,000 pixels.
But what if your image file is smaller? Say, 72 PPI?
As you can see above, the original image is 72 PPI, but we want it at 300 PPI. Changing it is easy.
Simply uncheck the Resample box and type in 300 in place of 72. As you can see, this changes the image dimensions. But what if we want a larger print, say 20 inches across?
In this case, just type in the desired width, and Photoshop will automatically adjust the height to maintain the aspect ratio. Note that the resolution drops to just over 200 when we do this.
Assuming that the print is something that will be viewed from a few feet away, the change in resolution shouldn’t be a problem.
However, as the resolution drops, the quality of the printed image drops as well, so be wary of having an image resolution that’s too low. Learn more about image resolution and resizing options.
Fortunately, printing companies will tell you if the image you want to be printed is too small for the size you want and the quality of the image you’ll get with the size of the image file you submit.
In the example above from the Printique image sizer, you can see how this image, which is 4032 x 3024 pixels and a resolution of 300 PPI, will result in a “fair” image quality when a print size of 20 x 30 is selected.
But if we select a smaller size - 11 x 17 - the print quality is “good.”
Now, these are just quick examples, but you get the point - you can easily adjust the dimensions and PPI of your image in Photoshop and other post-processing programs. Likewise, the online printer you choose will give you guidance as to how large of a canvas print you can get with your particular image file while also maintaining quality.
Submitting Your Image File to a Printing Company
photo by Drazen_ via iStock
Another component of getting large canvas prints is ensuring that you submit your image file using the appropriate settings, as suggested by your selected printing company.
For example, Printique accepts files in .jpg 8-bit and .tiff 8-bit formats that are in sRGB color space. Usually, printers will have a maximum file size they will select, too. In the case of Printique, that’s a 200MB image.
You can adjust the file type and color space of an image as needed in Photoshop or your post-processing program of choice. In Photoshop, simply do a “Save As” and select .jpg or .tiff from the Format drop-down menu.
To check the color profile in Photoshop, go to the Edit menu and select “Color Settings.” sRGB should be the default color profile.
Choosing a Printer for Large Canvas Prints
photo by Osarieme Eweka via iStock
Obviously, the quality of the image you submit for printing has a lot to do with the quality of the print you’ll get.
But the printing company you choose also has a lot to do with the quality of your printed image…
That’s because not all printing companies are alike. From the quality of the canvas they use to the quality of the inks, the quality of the frames to the quality of customer service, one canvas printing company can be vastly different from the next.
I personally recommend Printique because they have established themselves as a high-quality printing company in the photography community.
They use cotton canvas - which is the highest quality option - that is thicker than a typical canvas, which helps prevent tears and punctures. Thicker canvas is also able to hold up better to inks than thinner canvas.
Printique also takes care to build frames behind the canvas that won’t bow or sag. That’s thanks to stretcher bars that are made of kiln-dried wood that eliminates the possibility of warping.
You also get all the support you need to get a perfectly-sized, great-looking print. As I noted earlier, Printique will give you an estimate of the quality of a print based on its size and the characteristics of the image you submit. They also offer a wide range of sizes (including custom options), so you can get a print that is purpose-built for your wall space.
Heck, Printique even has a wall design tool to help you streamline the process of sizing your large canvas prints!
All of this is provided to you without breaking the bank, too. So, not only do you get a high-quality print, but you get tons of customization options, handy tools, and customer service you can’t beat.
When it comes time to order large canvas prints, I turn to Printique. You should too! Start your canvas print today!