When it comes to printing your artwork you want to have options, especially when it comes to size, From small intimate images to large sweeping landscapes that call for grandesse. The ability to scale your work allows you to print your fine art photographs in any size. But what do you have to do to make sure you don’t compromise quality when it comes to printing your large format photos? Today we’ll be exploring how to scale your artwork, what to take into consideration, and give you a step by step guide to help you rescale your photographs without losing quality.
Selecting The Right File Format
First, it’s important to select the right file format. Some file formats are better than others for resizing images without losing quality. Printers may have their own requirements, so make sure you check before sending off your files for printing.
The most common file format that you’ve probably come across is JPEG or JPG. An abbreviation for Joint Photographic Experts Group, this is the ideal file format for small images. Used mainly on websites and digital devices, they are the standard format for most smartphones and DSLR cameras.
While this format is widely used online due to its quick loading speed, this is a lossy file format. This means that every time a JPEG file is opened and saved, the file is compressed. This permanently deletes any unnecessary information from the file.
While this makes JPG’s a fantastic format for storing and saving images, compression isn’t a good thing when it comes to high-quality printing. If you do want to print a JPG image, you use one with a high resolution of at least 300DPI.
If you’re looking for a widely supported, lossless file format, TIFF is the one for you. Short for Tagged Image File Format (TIFF), it can be used with practically any software from Illustrator to Photoshop, Microsoft Word, text editors and so much more. No matter what you use, it will most likely accept TIFF images. TIFF is also lossless, a lossless file format, which means TIFF is ideal for saving and storing large files, like fine art photographs.
Lossless file saving means that no matter how many times you open and save them, they never lose their quality. On top of that, you can use TIFF images with multiple layers in your project. TIFF files use RGB and CMYK colour spaces, so they are perfectly suited for high-resolution printing. One drawback to TIFF files is that because of their higher quality, they take up a lot more space. If you need to send your large TIFF file to your printer, we recommend zipping it before you email it.
Image resolution is key to getting the highest quality print possible. Resolution is what determines the sharpness of the printed image. Low-resolution images will appear pixelated when scaled or printed in large sizes. For the best quality prints, professional printers recommend using images with a minimum 300dpi resolution. This high resolution makes it easy to scale and print in large sizes.
Photoshop is the industry standard for photo editing. With so many capabilities, Photoshop is of course able to scale your artwork for printing with ease and minimum quality loss.
To resize your images in Photoshop:
- Open your image in Photoshop
- Select Image > Image Size.
- If your photo is at 300 DPI, just check that your dimensions are how you like.
- If your image is not in a high resolution, go to the ‘Resample’ drop-down menu
- select ‘Preserve Details (enlargement)‘ and change your DPI to around 300.
- Check your image for signs of pixelation by going to View > 100%.
- If you see small pixelated squares, you have gone too large. Resize to ensure the highest quality final print.
- Perform any last-minute edits, such as sharpening defining lines around subjects.
Now you’re ready to export your image!
If you’re looking for a free photo editing solution, Gimp provides an alternative to Adobe Photoshop. Just like photoshop, Gimp can enlarge artwork with minimum quality loss, but it does not produce results as good as other paid software.
To resize images in Gimp without losing quality:
- Open your image in Gimp.
- Select Image -» Scale Image.
- Enter your desired dimensions.
- In the Quality section, select Sinc (Lanczos3) from the dropdown menu as the Interpolation method
- Select the Scale Image button.
Now you’re ready to export your image!