122 — How Big Can I print that Photo — Interview with Royce Howland

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #122 fea­tures an inter­view with Royce How­land where we dis­cuss how large we can print our pho­tos. These days cam­eras of all kinds are every­where and if we want to make big enlarge­ments from those cam­eras we need to know how big we can print the image before it starts to look bad. Royce offers up tips on how to make ‘the best enlarge­ment’, ‘a bet­ter enlarge­ment’ or ‘a good enlarge­ment’ based on the cam­era, the print­ing mate­r­ial, the sub­ject mat­ter and some other factors.

Thanks to The Cam­era Store (The largest cam­era store in Cal­gary, Alberta, Canada)  for spon­sor­ing the Photography.ca podcast!

To recap the math in this pod­cast the best images get 300 pix­els per inch. 200 pix­els per inch gets you bet­ter enlarge­ments and 100 pix­els per inch yields good results. To get an idea of the pos­si­ble enlarge­ment range, we divide the image pix­els of our cam­era by the PPI to get inches of print size.

Our the­o­ret­i­cal 6 megapixel cam­era pro­duced images of 3000 x 2000 pix­els. So a good enlarge­ment could be 30 x 20 inches, bet­ter could be 15 x 10 inches, and best 6.7 x 10 inches.

If we look at a 12 megapixel image (from a Canon 5D for exam­ple) the pix­els are 4000 x 2666.  So a good enlarge­ment could be 40 x 26.7 inches, bet­ter could be 20 x 13.3 inches, and best 13.3 x 8.9 inches.

If we look at a 24 megapixel cam­era the pix­els are 6000 x 4000 so we could have a good enlarge­ment of 60 x 40 inches, bet­ter one of 30 x 20 inches and best one of 20 x 13.3 inches.

7.5 megapixel camera phone shot by Royce Howland. This image could easily be printed 20 inches high.

7.5 megapixel cam­era phone shot by Royce How­land. This image could eas­ily be printed 20 inches high.


37 megapixel medium format image by Royce Howland. This image could easily be printed 45 inches high.

37 megapixel medium for­mat cam­era image by Royce How­land. This image could eas­ily be printed 45 inches high.

Links /resources men­tioned in this podcast:

The Dig­i­tal Neg­a­tive by Jeff Schewe
Per­fect Resize
Qim­age Ulti­mate
Sep­tem­ber reg­u­lar assign­ment — Shoot from a high per­spec­tive
Sep­tem­ber level 2 assign­ment — Shoot into the light
Illu­mi­nite — Pho­tog­ra­phy exhi­bi­tion by Marko Kulik

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