How To: Plot for Photo Blow-ups

How To: Plot for Photo Blow-ups

Oct 31, 2006

We've blogged a number of great home ideas for your photos, including md-canvas, resources for framing your blow-ups, and amy (rustyletter)'s cool lamp idea for diploma display, which is also a great use for any photo that you want transformed into a useful household object. But we ourselves were a little in the dark about the capacity of our trusty digital camera for high-quality print output.

How do you ensure that the images you take are of a high enough resolution to be high impact on your walls?

The anwer is that it's not easy if you're uncompromising on image clarity and are using a consumer grade digital camera.

This chart explains the concept of megapixels and provides the number of them you need for the output size you're targeting. Asuming you want the image to be glossy-magazine clear, which generally requires a resolution of at least 300dpi (dots per inch), the chart reveals that most consumer grade digital cameras just can't deliver the megapixels you need for largescale wow. But if you'll settle for the artsiness of soft focus, you can still print your digital snaps quite large.

Here's some context: a phone camera typically provides no more than 2 or 3 megapixels. A consumer digital camera delivers up to about 10 these days. According to the chart, an 18" x 26" print (at 300dpi) requires a 44 megapixel capture!

Now we know why most pros are so loyal to film.

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