How to Check Your Photo’s Resolution Before Printing

This post will explain how to check your photo’s resolution before printing the stunning wall print you want to hang in your home.  

The photos on your wall differ from those on your computer for several reasons: 

  • Physically larger – Photo prints are bigger than the photos on your screen or in a photo book. This means that large photo prints require photos with more pixels per inch (ppi) than smaller photo prints. 
  • Greater viewing distanceYou probably don’t study your photo prints with your nose pressed against them. You admire them from at least several feet away. Because the distance between your eye and a wall print is greater than between your eye and a photo book, for example, the resolution between these print sizes can also differ. Wall prints often look great at resolutions lower than those needed smaller photo prints.

Step 1. Always shoot using the highest resolution

Before you start shooting, double-check your camera’s settings to ensure your photos will be saved at the maximum resolution. You can always re-save your photos in a lower resolution later on (if you want to share them online, for example). However, it’s very hard to turn a low-resolution photo into a quality wall print. This is why you should always shoot using the highest resolution possible – it will save you much grief later on! 

Camera settings menu showing the maximum resolution settings


Step 2. Check your camera’s megapixels

Every camera has a certain number of megapixels. Cameras with a larger number of megapixels shoot higher resolution photos. The higher the resolution, the larger a photo can be printed.

Many smart phones have cameras with 12+ megapixels and SLR cameras have even more (sometimes much, much more). In general, even cameras with 8+ megapixels can shoot photos that will look great as 24″ X 36″ wall prints. To make larger, high-quality wall photo prints, you’ll need a camera with more than 8 megapixels.

If your camera produces photos at 8 megapixels or more, you’ll be able to print a stunning wall print without worries!

Step 3. Check the width and height of your photo in pixels (Optional)

A photo’s resolution is measured in pixels (not inches or centimeters). To check a photo’s resolution, you will need to check the width and height of your photo in pixels. This information is saved in the photo’s data file. 

Do you use Photoshop? If so, open the photo in Photoshop and click on Image > Image Size. Make sure the photo’s width and height are set to pixels (not inches, centimeters, millimeters, etc.) This will show you the width and height of the photo in pixels. 

the resolution is based on height and width in pixels

If you don’t use Photoshop, no problem! On a PC you can get this information by right-clicking on the photo, scrolling down to Properties, and checking under Details for the photo size in pixels. On a Mac, when you command-click on the photo, scroll down and click on Get Info. Under More Info you’ll find the number of pixels. It’s as easy as that! 

Once you have this information, you can use it to check the maximum print size for that photo.

Step 4. Calculate the maximum print size based on the photo’s pixels 

While small printed photos are generally printed at 300 pixels per inch (ppi), for larger prints (like wall prints), there’s more wiggle room in the number of pixels needed because of the distance at which they will be viewed. (We’re assuming you will stand at least 12 inches from your wall print when admiring it!) 

Fun fact: Billboards are often printed at resolutions as low as 12-15 ppi!  Because they’re viewed from far away, they still look great even though the resolution isn’t very high. The same principle applies to large wall prints.

For photo prints that are 24″ by 36″ or larger, Xpozer recommends a minimum of 80 ppi.  

how to check if your photo can be printed at the size you want

With Photoshop you can easily check if your photo can be printed at the size you want.

Follow these quick steps:

  1. Go to Image > Image Size
  2. For Width and Height, choose Inches (not pixels this time)
  3. Unclick the “Resample” box
  4. Fill in the width and height (in inches) for the desired print size (ex: 40″ x 60″)
  5. Check the resolution number (it will automatically adjust based on the width and height you put in). If the resolution is higher than 80 ppi, then your photo has a suitable resolution for quality print at the size you want! 
  6. Always double-check your entire photo at 100% size.

Don’t use Photoshop? This handy chart will allow you to check your photo’s resolution before printing, based on your camera’s megapixels (assuming that you shoot at maximum resolution). 

How to Check Your Photo's Resolution Before Printing

Checking your photo’s resolution is an essential part going from a photo on your screen to stunning wall print. By using the above tips, you can be sure that your photo’s resolution is high enough to print big!

Check out Xpozer’s large selection of photo print sizes to get an idea of  how big a photo print you want to hang in your home. 

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  1. One of the ways you can make sure that the image you’ll be printing is of good quality is by making sure that the image has been taken on the highest resolution possible so that it wouldn’t blur out when you try to print it on another medium. Another way to check if a photo is high-quality is if you check its dimensions in Photoshop since pictures are usually measured in pixels, and not feet and inches. If I had to look for a picture to print I would want to make sure that the image is of a high-enough resolution so that it could clearly be seen.

  2. Resolution is important for a sharp print, but also if the is subject is in focus. I use my iPhone for prints up to 24×36 inch and my 42 megapixel camera for bigger prints.

  3. I sized my image to 30×45″ @300 dpi or 9000px x13500px for a filesize of 695.2MB. I get an error message “resolution to high”. Your website bar graph implies 24 megapixels is the maximum size you allow. I use “genuine fractals technology” to resize images and for normal 300 dpi printers my image is 121.5 megapixels. What is the maximum file size I can send through your website? Can I use an alternative transmission service such as DropBox or WeTransfer?

    1. Hi Keith,

      Wath happened here is that you created a giant file that isn’t supported by our uploader. Let me explain why this isn’t necessary and how you can fix it.

      In most cases, the resolution of the image you take with a camera isn’t that high. This doesn’t mean you can’t print it at a large size. It just means that you can’t get a 300dpi print on that size.

      Most of the time, the result isn’t better when upscaling to a 300dpi file. What you basically are doing is tell computer software to predict whats’ in between two pixels and make those extra pixels up. Depending on the file you are starting with, the software has to make up more or fewer pixels.

      Important to know: a 300 dpi print is great when you are viewing a picture from up close. But you are generally looking from further away to a 30×45″ wall print. This means that your eyes can’t see individual pixels even at a much lower resolution.

      At Xpozer we advise not to go lower than 80dpi. This means you can print a file with a resolution of 2400×3600 pixels on a 30×45″ print.

      My advice to you: Look at the resolution of the original file and keep that resolution as it is. Then you can edit the image for printing and export it as a jpg file. After exporting, upload it for a free photo check to see how big you can print it.

      This answer is almost a blog in itself, but I hope it helps you (and others) further!

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