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If I Want To Print A Photo, What Size Does It Need To Be?

By Daniela Bowker, DIYPhotography

I took the photo just down there from the deck of the ferry that took me from Auckland to the Coromandel Peninsular in New Zealand. My camera was in my lap and in one split second, everything came together to create that image. It looks almost as if I’ve shopped in the cruise liner, doesn’t it? I was travelling alone, and minding my own business, but two older couples struck up a conversation with me.

It was the camera that they noticed. We spoke about all sorts, but what I recall specifically from the conversation was one of women mentioning that she’d tried to have one of her photos printed by an online print company in New Zealand, but hadn’t been able to manage it. Whenever she uploaded it, the image was red-flagged for being too small. She wasn’t really sure what she was doing wrong, or what size her image needed to be so that she could print it.

Almost five years on from that February day and it occurs to me that between ppi, dpi, pixels, and megapixels, people are probably still confused by minimum image sizes for printing. This is especially so, given that smartphone photos are regularly saved at 72ppi, but printers prefer 300ppi. I decided, therefore, to go straight to the printers’ works and ask a selection of companies what their preferred sizes were for printing wall art (so that’s canvas or acrylic or any other type of medium that you hang on your wall) sized 20 by 30cm (8″ by 10″, roughly A4) and 40 by 60cm (20″ by 24″, roughly A2). Here’s what I learned.

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DIY Photography (or DIYP for short) started in 2006 as a place for gear lusting photographers (hence the name), it has quickly evolved into a place of inspiration, education, gear chat and a place for photographers to hang out.

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