Here are some guidelines for getting the best quality prints from your photos:
Start with the right size and shape
To get the best resolution when printing, you need to signal to your printer how many pixels per inch (PPI) you want it to print. If you send too few pixels to the printer it will just make pixels up in an effort to fill the page. If you send too many it has to shrink the image smaller. This resizing does bad things to image quality, especially if the image you are sending to the printer is a JPG because JPGs will not maintain the pixel integrity of your image as well as a PNG file type will.
Understand DPI and PPI
300 DPI means “dots per inch” as in the printer is going to spit out 300 little dots of ink for every inch of your photograph. So your image file should contain the same number of pixels per inch that your printer is going to be printing per inch. (Keep in mind, that some printers may print at a smaller or larger DPI, so you'll want to be aware of that when sizing for prints.)
Get a 300 DPI file
Since we know the printer is going to print at 300 dots per inch, all we need to do is figure out how many pixels to give the printer. To do that, just multiply 300 by the number of inches the print is going to be. That means in order to create a 8 x 8 print on a 300 DPI printer, you want 2400 x 2400 pixels.
If you don’t feel like doing the math, here’s a handy table:
PIXEL TO INCHES CONVERSION CHART
|SIZE IN INCHES||SIZE IN PIXELS|
|3 X 5||900 X 1500|
|4 X 6||1200 X 1800|
|5 X 7||1500 X 2100|
|8 X 8||2400 X 2400|
|8 X 10||2400 X 3000|
|8.5 X 11||2550 X 3300|
|9 X 16||2700 X 4800|
|11 X 14||3300 X 4200|
|11 X 16||3300 X 4800|
If you are using an image as the background you can use the Crop tool if the image is already the right shape.
Download as a PNG + print
PNG files compress your image without throwing away information. This means that you can edit the file as many times as you like without worrying about image quality. JPG is destructive to image quality and the more you save over it the worse it gets. Typically by the time you get to the printer you are on the 3rd or 4th "generation" (number of times the tile has been saved over). JPG is particularly hard on the text and just plain mean to small text. So, save as PNG to get the best print quality.