How can I print a very small image? Or upsize it?

Modified on Wed, 24 May 2023 at 08:49 PM

Rules of Thumb for Resolution

  • The best printing resolution is 300 dots per inch (dpi), so the best resolution for a 4x6 would be 1200x1800. (It can also be larger.)
  • The dotphoto lab rejects print orders for images less than 100 dots per inch because we know from experience that customers will not appreciate the prints. However, if you still want to print very small photos, you may upsize them prior to placing your order. Upsizing gives you a chance to see how a photo will look in a larger size before you print it. It may be pixelleted (blocky) or blurry, but the decision to print is up to you.

How can I print a very small image?

Let's say you have an extremely small image of 200 x 300 pixels. Printing this image will make it look blocky or "pixelatted" like this:

The print will look worse than the screen image because screens have a lower resolution than prints:

The best way to print a small print is to print it on a 4x6 with a large border or "canvas." You will get the original resolution of your image without pixelation.

To add a white border to your small image:

  • Tap the image, and choose the pencil icon from the upper left to launch the editor
  • Choose Image from the top menu.
  • Choose Canvas Size.
  • Set the measurement to in or inches.
  • Set the width to 6 and height to 4 for a landscape image, or 4 by 6 for a portrait image.
  • Tap the OK button.
  • From the top File menu, choose Save to save your edited photo.

This photo will provide a good resolution print of your small image.

How can I upsize an image to print?

NOTE: Upsizing cannot create detail where no detail existed. An extremely small image (say, 200 x 300) will look very poor if printed as even a 5x7 because the image had very few pixels to begin with. However, sometimes upsizing an image may allow it to be printed as 4x6 print. Upsized prints are not eligible for dotphoto's Print Satisfaction guarantee.

How to Upsize a Print from a very small image (less than 1000 dots on the longest side)

  • Start by tapping on the photo and then on the Edit icon (the pencil) in the upper left.
  • In the Image menu, choose Image Size.
  • Set the longest side to 1800 px (6 inches X 300 dots), which will print a 4x6 at the best possible resolution. A very small photo will not print legibly above a 4x6.
  • Make sure the Resample box is checked.
  • Click OK.
  • Confirm the edit by clicking on the check, and then File and Save.
  • You will now have two copies of the photo in your album. Print the second, larger one as a 4x6.

How to Upsize an Image to Print and 8x10 or a Poster

A perfect 8x10 image would be 300 dots times the dimensions or 2400 by 3000 dots. The largest image on dotphoto can be 6000 dots, which is fine for any poster. 6000 by 6000 is a maximum size of 36 megapixels -- a considerable image.

Your ability to upsize an image depends in part on the level of detail in the image. When upsized, a photo with the faces of 18 people will not look as good as a photo of a single face. The more detail, the less satisfactory is the enlargement.

Let's say you have a photo with 1800 dots on the long side. You might try increasing it to the maximum of 6000 dots using the technique above. When you're finished, inspect the file to see if it is acceptable to you. If it is "blocky" (pixelated), it probably will not make a good large poster. If not, you can probably print it as a small poster.

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