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So the question that I get most often is, how large can I print my image? Well, let's take a look, by going under the Image menu and selecting Image Size. In the Image Size dialog box, I am going to turn off the option to resample the image. We can see that I can print this image, 9 x 14 at 300 Pixels/Inch. If I want to print this 9 x 12, which is the common aspect ratio for photographers, if I change this to 12, you can see that the Resolution went up to 364, because with the Resample Image option off, I've told Photoshop not to add or subtract any pixels, just rearrange those pixels in the Document Size area.
So now I know, if I turn on Resample Image, because I only am going to print this to my inkjet printer, which wants 300 Pixels/Inch, I know that I have plenty of information to print this image at this size. Now, if I wanted to print this a little bit larger, let's take a look at what would happen. I am going to change the Width up to 12, but now you can see that my Resolution has dropped down to 242, and that's kind of at the bottom range that I would want to print to my inkjet printer.
Now if I turned on Resample Image and we increase this to 300 Pixels/Inch, I can change the Pixels to Percent and now we can see that Photoshop is going to have to make up a lot of information for me to print my image at this size. Of course at this point, because I've already taken the photograph, there are really not a lot of options. If I want to print at this size, I need to have Photoshop make up that information. So in this case, if I want at print at 12 x 18 at 300 Pixels/Inch, I would simply click OK and send this file to the printer.
It's not as optimal. If I were printing it smaller, I would probably get better quality. At this larger size, it might start to get a little bit soft. But without going back out and re-photographing this with a larger-format camera, this is what I need to do. So, there you have it. It's always a good idea to know how large your output is going to be before you capture the image and work on that image in Photoshop, to make sure that you have enough information to get the quality print that you need.
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