Image Quality Best Practices

The Basics

Most cameras take very high quality images on their own. They are designed to optimize their own settings in relation to the lighting conditions. What happens afterwards is another thing. When you begin editing images you can degrade the original image quality if you are not in full understanding of the editing tools you are using. When you take pictures for printing your camera should be set on its highest quality settings. If there are options for resolution or quality you should select the highest settings. It will produce images of higher pixel resolution and they take up more space on your memory cards - but for a good reason. Higher pixel resolution images print with higher definition, and may be slower to work with and upload. 

The latest, top of the line iPhone 15 Pro & Max have a 48 megapixel sensor — that's a resolution of 8064 x 6048 pixels. But it can be set to 24 megapixels and is usually used at its default setting of 12 megapixels which results in a resolution of 4032 x 3024 pixels. Without cropping a 4032 x 3024 image can be printed with very good results at a size of 20x16 inches (at 150 pixels per inch), and even better results at 12x16 inches (at 240 pixels per inch), and the best results at 10x13 inches (300 pixels per inch).  Cropping naturally reduces the amount of available pixels because they are cropped off the picture. So resist too much cropping.

There are ways to find out how many pixels you have. If you are using a phone camera you can navigate to your photo library and find an image and click on its information. If you have downloaded an image to your computer you can also click on it to find its information. It is always expressed as "Dimensions" and given in pixels such as 4570 x 3464. If you divide these by 150, 240, or 300 you can discover the size in inches as good, better and best qualities. 150 is good, 240 is better and 300 is best. e.g. 4570 divided by 300 = 15.23 inches. 3464 divided by 300 is 11.54 inches.

More Advanced

Pixel resolution is not everything. How an image is exposed is critical. Most cameras today are used with an auto-exposure setting and this is not something the photographer needs worry about. Photographers often like to use editing tools to enhance their photos, and these tools if used "lightly" can enhance. But, when the tools are used "heavily" they begin to degrade the natural quality of an image. Pushing the contrast higher or using a lot of vibrance or clarity tend to make things look nice on a tiny screen. But, when printed, the image will have a loss of quality. It can be difficult for a photographer who does not have a lot of experience in printing to recognize when too much is too much. Therefore, use editing tools lightly. if there is a slider never move it more than 25% if you want to maintain high quality in print.

Pro Use

If you are a seasoned printer and want to take advantage of our lower cost online printing here is the skinny:  We are imaging in sRGB because we are using your browser as an upload source. Your photos whether in Pro Photo color space, Adobe RGB 1998, or Gray Gamma 2.20 or Dot Gain 20% are going to be converted into sRGB space and land in our server in sRGB at a gamma of 2.20. So essentially, the engine we are using will preserve the characteristics of how the image was last displayed on your screen. Having said that, if you want to have the most control you can image in Gray Gamma 2.20 or sRGB or Adobe RGB 1998. You do not need to worry about Soft Proofing as we are using a Contrast Match method. 

If you want to upscale your images we think the Preserve Details 2.0 of Photoshop resizing works well. You can comfortably double. You should not do any image sharpening unless you are at 100% pixels view. If it looks a little crunchy to you as you over-sharpen it, it will print a little crunchy. Our Piezography powered processes print at a significantly higher perceptual resolution than any Canon, EPSON or HP printer. Therefore, our systems will show up poor imaging habits. Where one of the OEM systems is forgiving enough of over-sharpening, or rather if you have to over-sharpen to get a good effect with an OEM system - you DO NOT with Piezography. We are printing about three times the resolution of any OEM printer system. So image precisely and check your work at 100% pixels view. If you notice something at that view you will more than likely see it in the print.