Why are we here? Where’s the Nutella? How big can I print this photo?
Some mysteries are too big to solve, but the printing thing? Oh, we’ve got this printing thing down and we’re here to help.
We’re going to explain how to find the file size of your, yes, your photo, and just what that means in the grand scheme of (printing) things.
What’s a Dimension?
To know just how big you can print your photo, you’re going to want to know the dimensions of your photo. What’s all that now?
The dimensions of your photo are how many teeny-tiny pixels wide and tall your photo is. The totals depend on the quality of your camera and what settings you use while shooting.
The dimensions can also be affected by editing/cropping the photo, or sending it in a email or text that might make it smaller so it will send more quickly.
Got it. How Do I Find Those For My Photo?
If you’re on a Mac it’s as simple as selecting the file you want to print, then clicking File > Get Info (or click command-I), then click the “More Info” carrot if the dimensions are not already showing and tada, there you have ‘em.
On an iPhone you’re going to need an app that can read the metadata (all the extra info your photo file carries around with it) of your photo. Fortunately, there are several that do just that. We like Metapho because it’s super simple. Just tap any photo in your camera roll and voila, there are your dimensions.
Now That I Know … How Big Can I Print?
The truth is, you can blow up any photo as large are you want and print away! But, if you enlarge it too much, you’re going to start seeing the individual pixels, which is no good.
So before you decide how big you’re going to go, keep in mind the quality you want. Think about the number of pixels you’ll print in each square inch … you just thought about resolution!
Some print methods require very high resolution (lots of little pixels in each square inch) and will result in tack sharp images. Usually that’s around 300 dpi (dots per inch).
Some print methods are a bit more lo-fi by nature and more forgiving of low resolutions, down to about 150 dpi. These lower resolutions are also acceptable for prints that are likely to be seen from a farther distance, like a big ol’ wall hanging.
Simply divide your dimensions by the resolution you’re going for to find the max size in inches, or look at this handy chart.
Now that you know just how big you can print your photos, go forth and print. Print like the wind.
And let us know if you find the Nutella.