Photo Printing: A Photo’s Image Size and Print Size

Today I’m going to be discussing image size, and what print size can be ordered from each size range. First, though, let’s be clear on image size. Often, when our photo lab asks a customer, “what is the image size?” they respond with the file size. Here is an example:

When viewing an image in a detailed view in a folder, you will observe the file size. This is the size of the compressed jpg file. In the image below, the file is 1,355 kb. If this was the image size, it wouldn’t be large enough to print a quality 4×5 from.

If you open the image in Photoshop, you can find the actual image size. Simply select “image” on the top menu bar of Photoshop, and then choose “image size.” Below, you’ll see what shows for that same 1,355 kb file.

The image size is 20.6 mb, which would easily produce a 20×24 print.

Knowing the difference in terminology can save time and ensure that you’re images are large enough to create the print sizes desired.

Finally, here is a chart to help decide what is required. These are MINIMUM requirements. This chart assumes that the image is not a group of tiny head sizes. It also assumes that the exposure is good, and that it is in focus when captured.

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