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Printing iPhone Photos – A Guide To Print Size

So you’ve got some awesome iPhone shots that you want to have printed…maybe you need a bit of new wall art for the home? Or perhaps you’re in the market for a photographic birthday gift for your beloved? The question here is not whether you can print sizeable photos from your iPhone, but rather how big should you print to get the best results?

 

First off there’s a few things to know about printing iPhone photos they are:

  • The best (or even acceptable) print size for any photo depends on the model of iPhone you are using, the resolution of the app you use for shooting, how you crop your image, and if you resample the image. We won’t be discussing resampling (or enlarging) today, but check back with us shortly as we’ll be posting on that topic soon.
  • The most important factor in printing images is the original image size, ie the number of pixels in your image. It’s important to remember that what looks good on the screen may not be large enough (have enough pixels) to print at a large size.
  • A good rule of thumb is to work with the largest image you can (and the highest number of pixels) possible. To set yourself up for the most flexibility, make sure that the app you are shooting in saves your images at the highest resolution.
  • Also, remember that when you crop a photo it changes the size and therefore the resolution. We suggest you crop your photos with an app that shows the resolution as you crop, so you always know where you stand size-wise. If you come across a photo and you’re not sure what size it is to begin with the PhotoSize app is great for quickly checking size and resolution.
  • Finally, did you know that you can get the number of pixels that make up an image by multiplying the height by the width? For example an image that is 2592 x 1936 px = 5018112 or 5MP, likewise 4672 x 3104 = 14501888 or 14.5MP. And just for the record, mega = million, pretty neat eh? This little tidbit will come in useful when you begin to look at the table and the size of your own images.

For the purposes of this post, we’re going to assume you are most likely using an iPhone 3GS or higher model. However, it’s worth mentioning that you can still get printable photos from the earlier models, but given the small output and resolution of the photos you will not be able to print them very big, as you’ll see in the table below.

As a basic guideline, we’ve put together a table of iPhone Photo Resolutions and Print Sizes

Photo Size in Pixels Good Quality 150 ppi Medium Quality 200 ppi Best Quality 300 ppi
800×600 px, 0.5MP 5.33″ x 4″ 4″ x 3″ 2.67″ x 2″
1024×768 px, 0.75MP 6.83″ x 5.2″ 5.12″ x 3.84″ 3.41 x 2.56″
1600×1200 px, 2MP 10.67″ x 8″ 8″ x 6″ 5.33″ x 4″
2048×1536 px, 3.2MP 13.65″ x 10.24″ 10.24″ x 7.68″ 6.83″ x 5.12″
2592×1936 px, 5MP 17.28″ x 12.9″ 12.96″ x 9.68″ 8.64″ x 6.45″
3264×2448 px, 8MP 21.76″ x 16.32″ 16.32″ x 12.24″ 10.88 x 8.16″

How to use the table for printing your images:

1. Shoot a high-resolution, print-worth photo.
2. If you are cropping your photo, do so in an app that shows the height and width in pixels as you crop. If you’re not cropping check out the size of your photo by using the PhotoSize app, or by looking at the exif information of your photo once downloaded to your computer.
3. Do your MP calculation…that is, multiply the height of your photo by the width of your photo and find out the megapixels of your image.
4. Check out our table above and choose the print quality you want, from there you’ll see the best print size for that quality! Easy!

Do note that when it comes to checking your photo size against the table that it’s not really the dimensions of the photo that matter so much as the MP of the photo, so we suggest you always work from the amount of MP when you can. It just simplifies the whole process!

You might be thinking, “What happens if I want to go bigger than 8MP as shown on your table?” You can do it…and we’ll tell you how to do it in a forthcoming post. We’re such a tease.

 

3 Responses to “Printing iPhone Photos – A Guide To Print Size”

  1. Could anyone help me find a free app like print n share?
    Also, I took a photo with the iPhone 5 so would the best size to print in be 10″ or 11″x8″?
    If so, could I print it in a 4″x6″ or would that ruin the quality?

     
    • Tiffany
    • Reply
  2. When i take my kids out we like to take lots of photos with my iphone. thank you for the really helpful guide, we use the print n share app to print our photos out. sometimes the kids will draw on the photos or use them as collages.

     
    • Lena
    • Reply
    • Wonderful Lena! Great idea to have the kids draw on photos. That combination can be a nice addition to a scrapbook!

       
      • Guy Yang

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