Need to print poster size

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by denise_brown, Jul 17, 2009.

  1. I want to print a poster size image of a portrait. My question is how to do it and make it look good. My SLR camera has 10.2 megapixels. Someone told me that I can't print larger than a 16 x 20 and have it look good since my camera is not a large format but I am not sure if they are right or not.
    The image is 2592 x 3872 pixels at 300 pixels per inch (and 8.64 inches x 12.907 inches). If I use the crop tool set to 27 inches x 42 inches and 300 pixels per inch will it look okay printed? After cropping it changes the image to 8,100 x 12,300 pixels at 300 pixels per inch.
    Since I've never had anything this large printed any advice on the best way how is appreciated! Thanks a lot!
     
  2. Well, without interpolating the image you can get a 26x17 by changing your dpi to 150 which would be acceptable. If you search the forums, I'm sure you can find some threads that would give you some idea of how big you can go and ways to do it. People have made 3'x4' prints with 3 megapixel cameras in the past so you shouldn't have a problem. Just keep in mind that the bigger a photo is, the further back people tend to look at it so the details don't have to be incredibly sharp.
     
  3. As you're having it printed, ask your printer. Very likely they have RIPs that will interpolate your image more effectively than anything you can do for yourself.
    For future reference, there are two quite distinct ways of looking at image quality: perceived sharpness, which has mostly to do with local contrast, and resolution, which has to do with pixels or dots per inch. You could send in a 4x5 tranny which would resolve all manner of scrumptious detail, but it wouldn't necessarily look particularly sharp; and you could send in a 3 or 5 megapixel file that wouldn't hold up all that well to close inspection under a loupe, but because of craftily applied sharpening (and, believe it or not, blur) would look brilliantly contrasty and sharp.
     
  4. Hi Denise,
    This is a complex topic. Here are some things to consider.
    (1) Who is doing the printing?
    Do you have a professional lab nearby? If not, try to find a reputable lab that will accept your file online (or by sending them a CD-ROM). The lab technicians should be able to answer your questions. If they are unwilling to do so, find a different lab.
    (2) Proofs
    The lab will print a smaller version of your print (usually 10 inches on the long dimension) for you to review before they print the large copy. Review this proof carefully and don't be shy about asking for adjustments.
    (3) Defects
    The enlargement process also enlarges an image's defects. Regardless of how many pixels your camera has, if the image suffers from camera shake, inaccurate focus, softness, digital noise, dust spots, or any of a number of other defects, these are going to show up in your print. The good news is that it might still make a good small print (e.g. 8x10, 8x12), but only the sharpest, cleanest images can be enlarged to "poster size."
    If your image is very sharp, you may be able to print larger than 16x20 with acceptable results.
    (4) Resolution
    The labs that I've worked with print large prints at 200 dpi. If that doesn't give you a large enough image, they can increase the size of the image using software. Photoshop CS4's Bicubic Smoother algorithm does a good job. The lab should be able to do this for you.
    (5) Paper and printers
    There are several different kinds and brands of printers and many, many varieties of photographic paper. Guess what - they ALL look different! Have the lab show you some samples and give you some recommendations, then choose what looks best to you.
    (6) Sharpening
    Photos taken with a digital camera have to be sharpened before they are printed. The ideal sharpening settings depend on the size of the print, the type of paper, and your subjects (faces shouldn't be sharpened as much as objects, for instance). It's best to leave this process up to the lab, but give them an idea of what you want. (e.g. I want the eyes to be as sharp as possible, but the skin should look soft.)
    (7) Viewing distance
    Your 10MP camera can produce pictures the size of billboards, and they'll look great. They'll look great as long as you're standing FAR AWAY from the billboard. If you get within 10 feet of it, it will look hideous.
    This concept applies to ALL large prints of all sizes. You can keep making them larger and larger, but they'll no longer look detailed and sharp UP CLOSE. If you want them too look sharp up close, you'll have to print ONLY your sharpest files and limit their size. With 10MP, you should be fine at 16x20 or a bit larger as long as your images are sharp and clean as a result of good shooting technique.
    Good luck!
     
  5. A very good 18x25 in Poster was made from my painting.
    Made a copy of it with a 10MP D200, the finished poster was good enough you could not tell the difference except it was not on canvas but paper.... A limited edition of 2000 copies were sold from a Gallery to raise money for "The Angels Network." Thought Id get writers cramp from signing all of them in silver ink.
    A Sgt in Korea, comforting a Soldier, his best friend since the first grade was Killed in Action.
    00TyL0-155959684.jpg
     
  6. I have been using Winkflash to print my 24x36 posters for years, don't believe what you read on the net. Try one.
    I use a D2h and a D2x and they come out fine. Be aware that your focus and exposure must be right on, because if it's soft when it's small, it's only going to get worse as you enlarge.
     
  7. Try Elco.com
    I've seen many fine poster prints by other photographers that Elco printed. Their metallic poster prints are particularly impressive. Its my understanding that they use their own RIP so read the instructions.
     
  8. try using adobe illustrator
     
  9. try using adobe illustrator
    What do illustrator have anything to do with interpolation?​
     
  10. I used CS3 and the option for bicubic enlargement and it came out fine when printed. Thanks for all the info!
     

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