Low quality photos don’t necessarily need to result in low quality prints. There are ways you can print a low resolution photo and get results you’re happy with.
Before You Print
Although we’re about to suggest some ways you can print low resolution photos, note that it’s not going to be possible to take a really low quality image and turn it into a huge print and have it look crisp and sharp. A photo’s resolution is determined by how many pixels are in the image: the fewer pixels there are, the lower the resolution is. A low resolution photo may look great on your computer screen or smartphone because you’re looking at a small version of the image. However, if you take that same image and enlarge it, there isn’t enough digital info in that photo to get a sharp print. It’s like trying to make a burger with only a bun and patty - you can do it, but it would be much better if you had more ingredients, like cheese, lettuce, and tomato.
Keep in mind that as photo enlargements are generally viewed from a distance, it is possible to have some pixelation and have it still appear sharp when the viewer sees it from a few feet away. Check out The Ultimate Guide to Photo Enlargements if you want to learn more about resolution, DPI, megapixels, and resizing images.
Here are three common ways you may end up with a low resolution photo:
- You saved the photo from Facebook or other website. To help web pages load faster, websites often have low resolution photos, but because they’re only meant to be viewed from a computer screen or mobile device, the images displayed still look great - they just won’t convert well to an enlarged print.
- You took a screenshot of an image. As we mention in How to Turn Your Instagram Photos into Wall Art, although it is possible to print a screenshot, the quality won’t be as good as if you had the original file.
- Someone emails you the image file. If the person emails you the original file, uncompressed, there won’t be a problem. With that being said, it’s not uncommon for a person’s email system to compress the file before sending it, which will reduce the quality of the photo. So if you’re asking someone to email you a photo you want to print, ensure they’re sending you the original file (not a screenshot or one copied from Facebook or other online source), and that they don’t compress it when sending it.
So, before you settle on printing a low resolution photo, check first to see if there’s a high resolution version available. You might just have it sitting on your computer or phone!
Printing Low Resolution Photos
If you don’t have access to the original image file, you can still print low resolution photos by choosing the right printer and product. First, let’s look at your choice of printer.
Where You Print Your Photo Makes a Difference
The quality of a print isn’t solely determined by the quality of image. The actual printer, inks, and product you’re printing on makes a huge difference too - this is especially true if you’re attempting to print a low resolution image, as everything that contributes towards making a better print is going to make a noticeable difference. With that in mind, a few reasons Posterjack is your best option for printing low resolution photos compared to printing them from home, or even choosing another photo printer, is:
- Our proprietary PJ-PRINT™ software. Using an advanced interpolation algorithm, we can print your photos super-crisp at a large scale. Our software delivers better results than you would get by resampling a digital image in Photoshop or other editing software.
- We use premium inks that are rated for 100+ years of fade resistance.
- We continually invest in state-of-the-art equipment to ensure we’re delivering the best products on the market.
- Like our equipment, the materials we print your photos on are second to none. Our Fine Art Prints, for example, are made with Hahnemühle Photo Rag paper, which is a high-quality paper used by professional photographers around the world. Another example is our Canvas Prints, which are made using the best quality poly-cotton canvas and basswood, and has been instrumental in helping us become known as the Photo Art Experts by Canadians across the country.
- Our automatic rating system. When you upload a photo to our website, you’re automatically provided with a photo quality rating. This will help give you a better idea on what to expect before you print, and if your photo quality is unacceptable, our system won’t allow you to proceed with your order. Our priority is ensuring you’re happy with your print!
The Product and Size Also Matters
When you print a low resolution photo, the smaller the print size, the sharper it will look. If you’re disappointed that you can’t feature your favourite photo as a huge print, you can still give it the attention it deserves by turning it into desk decor or by including it in a gallery wall with other photos.
A few great options available in 5”x7” and 6”x6” are:
Canvas Minis: With all the goodness of our award-winning Canvas Prints, our Canvas Minis are perfect for displaying your favourite photos on your desk, shelf, mantle, tabletop, or wall. They look fantastic displayed as a group too! Stack them, layer them, mix sizes, and let your creativity shine.
Acrylic Blocks: An Acrylic Block is made from a perfectly clear, one-inch thick piece of premium cast acrylic that beautifully captures and refracts light; it’s so clear, you can look right through it from end to end! If you want a photo art product for your desk, mantel, or shelf that will have people talking, this one’s for you.
Metal Minis: For our Metal Minis, we took our ultra-premium HD Metal Prints and shrunk them down to the perfect desk decor size. Loved by professional photographers, these prints will make your best photos look even better!
And our fourth desk decor product, available in 6”x8” or 7”x7” is:
Woodstand Prints: Uniquely crafted and made from select Canadian Douglas fir and renewably sourced in British Columbia, we print your photo on a durable ¼-inch thick board and combine it with a sturdy wood stand. A Woodstand Print will take your desk décor to a whole new level.
If you want to print your low resolution photos at a larger scale, there are some products that are more forgiving than others.
Canvas Prints: Thanks to the texture of the canvas we use, this product is more forgiving than some of our other products, like an Acrylic Print or HD Metal Print.
Classic Silver Metal Prints and Wood Prints: These two products are a good option for printing low resolution photos, as long as you don’t mind a unique and artistic look and colour accuracy isn’t important to you. Because your photo is printed directly onto the brushed aluminum or wood, the raw material your photo is printed on will show through in areas where the image includes white (or low saturation). Similar to how an Instagram filter can hide flaws in an image, these products will help soften your photo’s imperfections.
Sometimes Low Quality Is Better Than Nothing
Although our website automatically provides a quality rating for your photo and will not allow you to proceed with your order if the rating is unacceptable, you do have the option to print even if the rating is poor. Why would we offer that, you ask? Sometimes printing a low resolution photo is better than not printing it at all. If it’s the only photo you have and it really means something to you, the crispness and clarity of the image might not matter if it means you can look at the photo every day and enjoy it.
So, just because you have a low resolution photo doesn’t mean you can’t print it, it just means you have some considerations to think about. If you still can’t decide how you want to print your low resolution photo, our awesome support team is always happy to help, so please feel free to get in touch!