One of the most significant obstacles for photographers is their ability to prepare their images for the printing process accurately. There are many factors to consider, including ratios, color profiles, and file formats, but you also need to consider how to make the most out of enlarging photography. As you grow the image for printing, you need to ensure that it retains its high quality and resolution.

In this article, we give you a comprehensive guide on how to enlarge a photo to print on PC, Mac, Photoshop, and more. We also provide insights on how to ensure optimal quality with your enlarged photos without sacrificing quality.

Why Is Enlarging an Image Useful?

There are many situations why enlarging an image to print would be useful. If you want to create a large print for one of your photographs, it is the easiest way to do it. An enlarged picture could be used for:

  • Wall art for your home
  • Banners for parties and other fun events
  • Posters

Another situation where enlarging a photo would be beneficial is when you are working with a low-quality image. Sometimes the smaller image size is challenging to work with, or it does not look suitable for its intended use. Photo enlarging becomes very useful when the ideal resolution is not achieved.

What Are the Ideal Sizes to Print a Picture?

The potential print size depends on the number of pixels on the original image size. Each pixel in the image size gets translated into a single dot during the printing process. The overall image resolution is equivalent to the number of dots per inch, also known as DPI.

When you look at print size of the image and DPI, there are three categories for quality:

  • Decent: 100-150 DPI (dots per inch)
  • Above Average: 150-300 DPI
  • Professional Grade: Above 300 DPI

The largest print sizes usually average around 30×40, or a 4500×6000 above-average DPI. The bigger your print size is, the lower dots per inch you can sacrifice without losing quality because you can focus on a larger print size of the image from far away. If you are looking at a picture from 3-5 feet away, 100 DPI will be satisfactory. For smaller image sizes or print sizes, you would need a minimum of 300 DPI print size.

aerial view of ocean

Keys to Success in Enlarging Photos for Printing

So, how do you successfully convert an average printing image into a quality one? There are many strategies to achieve this for printing, but you should always shoot your photos using the largest size possible. When you start by pulling your photos in raw, you can always go back and edit it to near perfection. Depending on the scene and subject you are photographing, raw images provide you with up to 5-6 stops.

Another great tip is to shoot the photograph with as much skill as possible. You can always go back and edit it to the optimal quality, but you can create less work for yourself later by shooting a high-quality photo. This process includes using better equipment such as a tripod, utilizing a low ISO and remote shutter release, or implementing the mirror lockup in your camera’s settings.

Here are some other steps for success for enlarging a photo for a top-quality print.

Re-Sampling or Force Image Resolution

Re-sampling is a useful method when the photo is superb on everything except the resolution. The color management, composition, and subject are all intriguing, but the resolution is extremely low. Resampling a photo is executed successfully when done in smaller increments. These smaller jumps usually get done in 10% stages.

When you emphasize the primary focus of an image, you need to make sure your software has resampling setup and enabled. Programs like Adobe, Photoshop, and Pixelmator are all excellent options to achieve this.

Stay Away from Below Average Formats Like JPEG

JPEG formats are usually considered “lossy” options, which means the saved files will extract useful information away from the enlarged image. It is challenging to better the resolution or quality with a JPEG. Even when you save the file at its lowest compression and highest quality, the critical information from the most vibrant areas are lost.

JPEGs were initially designed to look good online. Pages need to load faster for users, and JPEG images help this download time. But when it comes to enlarging photos, this is not the case.

Optimize Your Computer Memory for Efficient Editing

Another helpful tip for improving the resolution of your image is through hardware optimization. The process of enlarging a photo consumes a lot of memory, depending on the programs used to run and enlarge the image. The overall size of the enlarged image also plays a role.

When you utilize a raw image, the overall photo enlargement process drains the memory. Fortunately, computer memory is somewhat cheap to purchase more of.

Sharpen Your Photos

Another strategy to improve your image for enlarging is to sharpen it. There are a couple of sharpening options that you can pursue to increase the quality of your photos.

One method is to utilize an unsharp mask, which most editing software offers. To complete this sharpening process, you need to copy your photo and make the secondary version blurrier than the primary one. Then, both versions are combined back together to create a “ghost” of the picture. This filter or mask over the initial image will make it sharper.

How to Enlarge Photos Without Sacrificing Quality

Why do images lose their quality when enlarged? Many editing software enlarges or shrinks pixels to resize an image. When you resize a photo to make it larger, the enlarged pixels will suddenly be more visible. When you look at the picture, it will look pixelated and blurry.

So, how do you enlarge a photo without losing quality? Not every picture is the ideal size that we want it to be. You will need to resize and enlarge the photo eventually, but it is also essential to understand the resizing process. When you enlarge an image, you are transforming the pixel layout and information. When a photo is enlarged, your photo editing software must add and create new information.

So, what is the ideal solution? You must compensate for each of these enlarged pixels to correctly align and match the condition of the nearby pixels. This process is called fractal interpolation or Fractals. It is designed to create an improved resolution and results when the photo gets enlarged.

But when you are enlarging a photo for printing a specific size, the primary goal is not to enlarge it to that given size. The DPI value and image ratio are the more critical aspects of the process.

For example, let us say you are looking to fulfill a 12×15″ inch frame with a 2:3 ratio. The ideal option would be to print the photo at a 12×18″ measurement and then crop it down. You might lose inches of the image, but you will achieve the ideal DPI to make the photo look fantastic within the frame.

black and white image of woman

How to Properly Enlarge a Photo on PC

There are two alternatives to enlarging a photo on your PC. You can utilize software to increase the photo size with the initial quality or set up the image scaling settings on your printer before printing.

But what is the most simple and straightforward way to enlarge your photos for printing on the PC? You can start by downloading Wondershare FotoPhire Maximizer, one of the more well-known software and alternatives to Photoshop. It is software that helps you zoom images for a high quality print. It is also ideal for photo enlargement since you can increase the photo size by up to 1000%

Some other key features and benefits of the program include the ability to preview images in real-time while performing the enlargement process. You also get eight different zooming options to adjust width and height, percentage, and more.

The program fully integrates with your PC to enlarge images by 1000%. It supports color management and correction of your images. Finally, you get the benefit of enlarging the photos without losing quality in your photos.

The first step to properly enlarging a photo on the PC is to click the website’s download button. After you ensure that the system installs appropriately, you can click on the photo maximizing tool option. Once you run this tool, a brose window will pop open. Here, you will choose the picture to enlarge and then press “open.”

The photo will then show up in the primary window pane. You can either double-click on the photo to enlarge it or navigate the slider on the right side under the “maximizer” label. The bar will be right under the “define” label. This pane also allows you to adjust the resolution, algorithm, and sharpness.

How to Properly Enlarge a Photo on Mac

All Mac operating systems come with an app built in called Preview, which is an image and PDF viewer. It runs on the OS X 10.10 Yosemite or later iOS update versions. It enables you to focus on images and PDFs on your Mac without having to utilize other software options.

Although the encrypted files cannot be edited or changed after that, the app does support image enlargements. Here is a quick step-by-step process that will set you up for success when enlarging a photo to print on Mac.

The first step is to navigate to the application folder of your computer and open the Preview app from this location. Next, click the “File” button on the top left and then click “open.”

When your image pops up in the interface in the preview app, you can select “tools” from the upper menu. Then, press the “adjust size” option. Next, a pop-up box will appear to adjust the various image dimensions. It will include the width and height area, in which you will input a higher value for both fields. After you enter the numbers, you can click the “OK” button to enlarge the photo.

sunset on lake

How to Properly Enlarge a Photo in Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is also one of the most popular photo enlargement programs on the market. The image size command in the program provides a method to deliver better sharpness and maintain the essential details when you enlarge photos. The image size dialog box also went through a recent update for more straightforward use. A few of its benefits include:

  • A new and improved window shows the preview image and parameters for resizing
  • Scale styles option that can get turned off and on within the gear menu
  • Dimensions pop-up allows you to choose from different measurement units for the final product

To properly enlarge a photo in photoshop, you can start by clicking “image,” then “image size.” You can then perform any of the following actions to modify and enlarge the preview of the image:

  • Alter the sizing of the preview window
  • View different parts of the image
  • Adjust the preview magnification

If you wish to adjust the unit of measurement for the pixel dimensions, you can press the triangle button next to “dimensions” and then navigate the menu.

To adjust the width and height separately from each other, you can select the “constrain proportions” button to unlink them. Now, you can do either of these two options:

  • Change the photo resolution or size and enable the total amount of pixels to change in proportion – select “resample < and then select a method of interpolation from the menu
  • Change the image’s resolution or size without altering the number of pixels in the photo–deselect “resample”

Now, you can input the values for width and height. If you want to enter the values in an alternative unit of measurement, you can select the menus next to the width and height boxes.

The new and improved image size will show up above the image size dialog box, with the original image file size listed in parenthesis. When you are finished setting the options, you can select “OK.”

The Capabilities of Fractals

Fractals are a useful way to resize your image and make it larger without losing quality. You can rely on a fractal-influenced enlargement method, which will compensate for enlarged pixels.

Fractal interpolation will make it possible to enlarge and upscale your photo accurately. This strategy is most useful for natural images and textures, keying in the components of an image that resemble other parts.

In this process, the image gets encoded into various fractal codes through a fractal compression. Then, it is decompressed at an improved and higher resolution. The final result is an upgraded sample image where the systems have been utilized as an interpolation.