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understanding print size/resolution

emiliewasmyeveemiliewasmyeve Registered Users Posts: 127 Major grins
edited November 9, 2015 in The Big Picture
Hey, all.

Embarrassingly, even though I have a mildly successful lifestyle photography business and am self-taught, I don't fully understand resolution/print size correlation.

I'm trying to print a photo that's 20x36. The pixel dimensions are 3801x2535. The document size is 240 pixels/15.8'' x 10.5''.

Will I be able to print a canvas that large without distortion? I'm not getting any warnings from my usual printer.

Thanks for the help!

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    RichardRichard Administrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,914 moderator
    edited November 9, 2015
    You're trying to print at around twice the length and width that the pixels provide at 240 pixels / inch. That means that you will be printing at around 120 pixels / inch. That's higher than some screen resolutions, but on the low side for print. The results will depend on the image itself. I've printed some images at 24 x 36 that had fewer pixels and the results have been acceptable for my purposes. I guess the answer is, maybe. ne_nau.gif
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    mercphotomercphoto Registered Users Posts: 4,550 Major grins
    edited November 9, 2015
    Its a complicated question to answer. I once printed a 16x20 from a 5 million pixel JPG, and it was fantastic. Part of that was the lens, the Canon 50/1.4. Part of it was using a tripod. Part of it was the subject matter itself.

    When you are talking large prints, that usually means long viewing distances. And that means that lots of pixels aren't quite as necessary. 300 dpi for a 4x6 print is a necessary requiremnt because you are so close to the photo. But 20x30, you're talking viewing distances of several feet, likely more.

    Is it truly a "canvas" as you say, or a paper print? If canvas, don't worry. The texture of the canvas alone will hide a lot of resolution.

    You are looking at 9.6 million pixels. If the equipment was good, the lens was good, the shooting procedure was good, the processing is good, I'd say little to worry about. Crap lens, poor shooting technique, then things get iffy.

    What is the subject matter of the photo?
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
    My Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mercphoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
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    emiliewasmyeveemiliewasmyeve Registered Users Posts: 127 Major grins
    edited November 9, 2015
    Bill:

    Thanks for the reply. This is helpful.

    To add some context: I shoot with a Canon 5D MKIII and L-series lenses. I have been shooting wedding and lifestyle stuff for 10+ years. With the 5D, I usually shoot at 10 megapixels, which most photogs I know do for weddings.

    Recently had a client say she tried to print a canvas of one of her engagement photos, which has her and her fiance against the Chicago skyline (they are relatively small; it's mostly a skyline shot). She said that Shutterfly was telling her the image was too low-res to print 12x36. Never had that happen before.

    Just wondering if I should start shooting portraits, at least, at a higher megapixel. I'd burn a ton of cards, but maybe it's worth it? But, again, never had this issue before.
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    SamSam Registered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins
    edited November 9, 2015
    Bill:

    Thanks for the reply. This is helpful.

    To add some context: I shoot with a Canon 5D MKIII and L-series lenses. I have been shooting wedding and lifestyle stuff for 10+ years. With the 5D, I usually shoot at 10 megapixels, which most photogs I know do for weddings.

    Recently had a client say she tried to print a canvas of one of her engagement photos, which has her and her fiance against the Chicago skyline (they are relatively small; it's mostly a skyline shot). She said that Shutterfly was telling her the image was too low-res to print 12x36. Never had that happen before.

    Just wondering if I should start shooting portraits, at least, at a higher megapixel. I'd burn a ton of cards, but maybe it's worth it? But, again, never had this issue before.

    I don't think I understand this statement. Are you shooting in RAW? Are you shooting mRaw or sRAW

    Why? Seriously the camera will not even blink shooting full size at a wedding. Memory is cheap.

    Re shooting very expensive or impossible.

    As to printing on canvas I use 200ppi as a resolution and if necessary and if the file is good enough I use Perfect Rezise and up rez the image. There isn't a real cut and dry scientific formula to determine if your file will print well on canvas without an experienced look at the thing.

    Sam
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