Does this Photo Look Pixelated to You?

MoonMan04MoonMan04 MontanaRegistered Users Posts: 68 Big grins

Ok, I'm looking for honest opinions and please do be honest.

I've recently sold a print and the client was unhappy stating this:
"but the quality of the printed photo did not meet my expectations. It was very pixelated, and the pixels are obvious even when in a frame and from a few feet away."

I was quite perplexed because it is an uncropped image with minimal post-processing in LR. I followed up with the print lab that I deal with and this is what they said:
"We have reviewed your file. Although the image technically meets our resolution recommendations, we can see some pixelization. You should be able to see it if you look at the file on your end too. The area where we can see the issue most clearly is on the edge of the focus where the outlines of the birds' heads meets the blur of the water. We can clearly see it on the back of the bird's head that is looking left and on the face/beak of the bird that is looking right."

Below is the file I sent them to print.

Am I missing something? Can someone please tell me because I just don't see it.

Kyle C. Moon
Portfolio: Moonman.Photography

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Comments

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Illinois cornfieldSuper Moderators Posts: 22,788 moderator

    The image posted in this thread appears to be 1200 x 800 pixels, or what's commonly referred to as a "1 megapixel" image. What I see in that image appears to be heavy JPG Aliasing, which I usually see in an image with post-processing which involves an interpolation of the image plus the addition of contrast and sharpening earlier in the processing process as well as after the interpolation. (IOW, a double-dose of contrast and sharpening.

    Yes, I see obvious Aliasing pixelization. If an enlargement print was made from this it will show obvious pixelization as well.

    If this was originally captured by a current enthusiast grade or professional grade camera with at least 24 megapixels and as a RAW image file, then I suspect a post-processing error has occured somewhere in the process.

    If you have the original RAW file and if it meets the above criteria for potential image quality (24 megapixels or better, RAW image file, from a modern enthusiast or professional camera/lens) you might consider hiring a trusted professional photographer to assess the file and, using the image you posted here as an example of the color tonality you expect, they might achieve more usable results without the pixelization in an enlargement print.

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • MoonMan04MoonMan04 MontanaRegistered Users Posts: 68 Big grins

    @ziggy53 said:
    The image posted in this thread appears to be 1200 x 800 pixels, or what's commonly referred to as a "1 megapixel" image. What I see in that image appears to be heavy JPG Aliasing, which I usually see in an image with post-processing which involves an interpolation of the image plus the addition of contrast and sharpening earlier in the processing process as well as after the interpolation. (IOW, a double-dose of contrast and sharpening.

    Yes, I see obvious Aliasing pixelization. If an enlargement print was made from this it will show obvious pixelization as well.

    If this was originally captured by a current enthusiast grade or professional grade camera with at least 24 megapixels and as a RAW image file, then I suspect a post-processing error has occured somewhere in the process.

    If you have the original RAW file and if it meets the above criteria for potential image quality (24 megapixels or better, RAW image file, from a modern enthusiast or professional camera/lens) you might consider hiring a trusted professional photographer to assess the file and, using the image you posted here as an example of the color tonality you expect, they might achieve more usable results without the pixelization in an enlargement print.

    Hey @ziggy53 this is extremely helpful! Although I'm not as aware with all the processing jargon or an expert in post-processing I can tell you that I captured this image with a Nikon D500 and a Sigma 150-600mm lens. With that being said, the Nikon D500 is at 20.9 MP. I'm sure this is enough right?

    When it comes to the printing lab that I work with, they simply told me if I'm printing a 8 x 10 inch photo that I need to export at 800 x 1000. Where could there have been a post-processing error?

    How do I avoid this double-dosing of contrast and sharpening?

    Anything you can provide for me is much appreciated.

    Kyle C. Moon
    Portfolio: Moonman.Photography

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Illinois cornfieldSuper Moderators Posts: 22,788 moderator

    @MoonMan04 said:

    Hey @ziggy53 this is extremely helpful! Although I'm not as aware with all the processing jargon or an expert in post-processing I can tell you that I captured this image with a Nikon D500 and a Sigma 150-600mm lens. With that being said, the Nikon D500 is at 20.9 MP. I'm sure this is enough right?

    When it comes to the printing lab that I work with, they simply told me if I'm printing a 8 x 10 inch photo that I need to export at 800 x 1000. Where could there have been a post-processing error?

    How do I avoid this double-dosing of contrast and sharpening?

    Anything you can provide for me is much appreciated.

    Your equipment is fine.

    Starting with this statement, "When it comes to the printing lab that I work with, they simply told me if I'm printing a 8 x 10 inch photo that I need to export at 800 x 1000. Where could there have been a post-processing error?", I'm pretty sure you misunderstood what they said. No reputable photo lab would recommend you send them an 800 x 1000 pixel file to produce a quality 8" x 10" print.

    Always send your printing agency the fullest resolution file you can. Normal straightening and cropping will reduce the total resolution, but your Nikon D500 gives you plenty to start with.

    I don't use Adobe Lightroom so I can't give you exacting steps and settings. I refer you to the following link as a possible starting point:

    Hopefully, other users here will offer their Lightroom export tips for high-quality printing.

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • MoonMan04MoonMan04 MontanaRegistered Users Posts: 68 Big grins

    @ziggy53 said:

    @MoonMan04 said:

    Hey @ziggy53 this is extremely helpful! Although I'm not as aware with all the processing jargon or an expert in post-processing I can tell you that I captured this image with a Nikon D500 and a Sigma 150-600mm lens. With that being said, the Nikon D500 is at 20.9 MP. I'm sure this is enough right?

    When it comes to the printing lab that I work with, they simply told me if I'm printing a 8 x 10 inch photo that I need to export at 800 x 1000. Where could there have been a post-processing error?

    How do I avoid this double-dosing of contrast and sharpening?

    Anything you can provide for me is much appreciated.

    Your equipment is fine.

    Starting with this statement, "When it comes to the printing lab that I work with, they simply told me if I'm printing a 8 x 10 inch photo that I need to export at 800 x 1000. Where could there have been a post-processing error?", I'm pretty sure you misunderstood what they said. No reputable photo lab would recommend you send them an 800 x 1000 pixel file to produce a quality 8" x 10" print.

    Always send your printing agency the fullest resolution file you can. Normal straightening and cropping will reduce the total resolution, but your Nikon D500 gives you plenty to start with.

    I don't use Adobe Lightroom so I can't give you exacting steps and settings. I refer you to the following link as a possible starting point:

    Hopefully, other users here will offer their Lightroom export tips for high-quality printing.

    @ziggy53 Here is what they sent me:

    I just don't understand because you can type in any number for the dimensions and set the PPI for each photo. So are you saying I should just adjust a high number for L and W and a high PPI? Anyone with LR CC experience can tune in?

    Kyle C. Moon
    Portfolio: Moonman.Photography

  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAAdministrators Posts: 11,678 moderator
    edited October 14, 2022

    You're getting confused between pixel dimension, inch dimension and pixels-per-inch.

    For brevity, simply export your photos at full resolution and send those images to the printer. So, do NOT check the box that says to resize your photos.

    Your camera shoots images at 5568 x 3712 pixels, which is plenty for printing at those sizes. However, any cropping reduces that size. Being a nature photographer, I know how much we often need to crop. So depending on how far you've cropped your images, it's possible you don't have enough pixels to get the best print quality when blown up to 36". So keep that in mind. Ideally you'd like to print at 300 dpi, which for 36" is 10,800 pixels which obviously you won't have. In that case the printer software enlarges the photo to your size, but quality is lost in the enlargement. That minimum dimension of 3600 pixels they gave you for 36" dimension is only 100 PPI which is very low anyway, so you definitely don't want to go lower than that.

    So go ahead and export at full size, and then check the pixel dimensions of your exported images to make sure they meet the minimum dimension they asked. Bigger is better.

  • MoonMan04MoonMan04 MontanaRegistered Users Posts: 68 Big grins

    @kdog said:
    You're getting confused between pixel dimension, inch dimension and pixels-per-inch.

    For brevity, simply export your photos at full resolution and send those images to the printer. So, do NOT check the box that says to resize your photos.

    Your camera shoots images at 5568 x 3712 pixels, which is plenty for printing at those sizes. However, any cropping reduces that size. Being a nature photographer, I know how much we often need to crop. So depending on how far you've cropped your images, it's possible you don't have enough pixels to get the best print quality when blown up to 36". So keep that in mind. Ideally you'd like to print at 300 dpi, which for 36" is 10,800 pixels which obviously you won't have. In that case the printer software enlarges the photo to your size, but quality is lost in the enlargement.

    So go ahead and export at full size, and then check the pixel dimensions of your exported images to make sure they meet the minimum dimension they asked. Bigger is better.

    Wow, I can't believe the print company didn't just tell me that! Thank you very much!

    Kyle C. Moon
    Portfolio: Moonman.Photography

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