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The most important rule of great photography?

Keep Shooting! Your next great photo can happen anytime, anywhere...

A few simple tips:

1. Shoot using the "highest resolution" mode of your camera or smart phone.

2. Use the "Image Stabilization" mode of your camera to reduce "shake" and "jitter."

3. Upload the original JPEG from your camera and then crop online with our tool. If you make any "adjustments" before uploading, it may reduce overall quality.

4. Keep your camera close. Even most professional photographers will carry a "pocket" camera for those special "right place at the right time" moments.

If you have any questions concerning these tips, check your user manual or contact the dealer where you purchased your camera. It will take just a few minutes, but will make a big difference!

Today, even your cell phone is probably taking better pictures than a fancy camera did ten years ago. What is needed to produce a great photo? ALL the following six variables combine to affect the quality of a digital photo. Even using the best imaging software available in our lab with experienced professionals, these variable always make the difference with a great photo. It also helps to have the “experienced eye” of a professional which comes with shooting thousands of photos.


This is the most important factor that affects the size of a print. Keep in mind that the quality of megapixels from a $3,000 camera are better than pixels from a $200 camera (see #3 Exposure below for explanation). Here is a chart to use as a general guideline using the Megapixel (MP) size of your camera or phone to the finished print size using the Picture This Pro process which is based on 200 PPI (Pixels Per Inch):

  3 MP -        8x10” (excellent),    10x14” (good)
  4 MP -      12x10” (excellent),    11x16” (good)
  6 MP -      10x15” (excellent),    13x20” (good)
  8 MP -      12x16” (excellent),    16x22” (good)
10 MP -      13x19” (excellent),    17x26” (good)
12 MP -      14x21” (excellent),    19x29” (good)
16 MP -      16x25” (excellent),    22x33” (good)
18 MP -      17x26” (excellent),    23x35” (good)
24 MP -      20x30” (excellent),    27x40” (good)
36 MP -      25x37” (excellent),    33x49” (good)

An “excellent” photo means a print looks great on close inspection in your hands. A “good” photo will look great on your wall while viewing it from a few feet away. These ratings are also dependent on the other variables included in this list as being up to par. The above sizes above may change due to the different aspect ratio of your image.


Cropping is often a necessity for great photos to help get rid of "unnecessary" elements of photo such as too much sky or too much ground. But remember, when you crop a photo, you are lowering the pixel count of your image. If you crop away half the image, you have cut the recommended print size by half. After taking a photo, take a couple more and zoom in on the subject as an option. You might find that you can learn to "crop" the photo correctly when you take the photo originally.


Good exposure is easier today with automatic cameras which typically do a good job. But in certain low-light situations, even a good camera may not have enough light to work with. The main reason why the quality of pixels from a $3,000 camera are better than pixels from a $200 camera, is that the expensive sensor inside the camera that collects pixels of light is generally larger than that of a less expensive camera. This means there is more light collected with less “noise” in each pixel.

“Noise” is similar to the hiss or background noise found in a tape recording when you turn up the volume.  You see “noise” as small areas or patterns or specks of dis-coloration, normally in underexposed areas. Even properly exposed images from high-end cameras may have “noise” depending on certain aspects of the subject matter and how the camera “interpolates” the information. In general, a properly exposed photo will have more pixel “information” that makes it easier to reduce the “noise” and adjust the photo to look great!


Color is also dependent on good exposure and adequate light. Every condition, inside or out, will have different overall coloring. Outside it can be the time of day, shadows or a cloudy day. Indoors, different lights cast different colors to the overall image. Certain aspects of photos, such as flesh-tones can be a challenge with different situations. The more acceptable the exposure - with good highlights and shadows - the easier it is to make adjustments to the color of a great photo.

5. SHARPNESS (Lens, Tripod, and Image Stabilization)

Why do professional photographers use tripods - even with full daylight? Every camera is susceptible to “shake” from pushing the shutter button or movement of the mirror inside the camera. That’s why today you even see people using small pocket-size tripods for point-and-shoot cameras and even mobile phones. It’s makes a big difference - especially when your making a big photo. The “glass” or lens also makes a big difference. Again, the larger the lens - the more light it can collect for sharper images. Have you ever noticed the size of a lens on a mobile phone? Amazing!

Be sure to use your built-in Image Stabilization to help with sharpness also.


We work with all types of camera files. We recommend JPEG files primarily for our online tool, because they are smaller files and easier to use for proofing with emails, etc. Try to send us the original JPEG file from the camera in the highest resolution available. Professionals or serious photographers can send us TIFF or RAW files using our FTP website because of the large size of the files. Contact us for more information at 303-257-2359