My Print File vs. Print Size vs. Viewing Distance Chart

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by estes53, Jul 12, 2007.

  1. estes53

    estes53 TPF Noob!

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    I am getting ready to start selling prints and want to offer the largest size that someone wants to pay for, but at the same time provide them with a chart that explains that a certain sized print from me should be viewed from a specific minimum distance.

    -------edited to add the following-------
    The goal here, is reducing customer complaints.
    (Further explained in post #6)
    ------------------end edit-------------------------

    I shoot with a 10 mp camera and will print to 300ppi.

    Please check my logic and comment.

    Step 1. The perfect print size vs. file size.
    Exact dpi to ppi ratio.


    3648 X 2736 (10mp) /300 ppi= 12.16 X 9.12 inch print.

    Step 2. Compute Minimum viewing distance.
    Using the, supposed expert, opinion that this print would have to be viewed closer than 5.6 inches for someone with good eyes to see pixels.

    Develop a formula for this particular file/printer combination

    That 12.16 X 9.12 print is 111 sq.in. (rounded from 110.8992)

    5.6/111=.05 (rounded from .050504504.....)

    An 8 X10 is 80 sq.in, so .05*80= 4" minimum distance.

    So, using common print sizes, here is my chart-

    8 X 10- 4"
    11 X 14- 7.7"
    16 X 20- 16"

    18 X 24- 21.6”
    20 X 24- 24”
    20 X 30- 30”
    24 X 30- 36”
    [FONT=&quot]24 X 36- 43.2”

    This chart is not really useful to anyone else unless they happen to be also shooting with a 10mp camera and printing 300ppi.
    If the logic is correct though, anyone could develop their own table for their camera/printer combination.

    Alan
    [/FONT]
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ummm ok. But since when is a photo sold based on the technical aspects of it's sharpness and not of the quality of the art that goes into it? The picture I have framed and on the wall is no where near 300ppi, and was shot back in my 3Mpx days, yet people still oooh and ahhh at it.

    Despite that little comment yes the math does add up.
     
  3. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The larger the print, the less important dpi become in printing.

    With the only exception if a very large image will be installed in a very narrow place, so that people are more or less forced to stand very close.
     
  4. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    With software today, a good 6 - 10 MP file can print a bill board. I have printed many an image at 36 X 54" at 300 DPI and the original file was 5 1/2 MP. With Photoshop and a program like Genuine Fractals (or the proper technique) M.P. is less relevant than the original files sharpness, contrast and color saturation. Composition and content don't hurt either. :)
     
  5. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Nah, who needs to waste time on those ancient concepts :p
     
  6. estes53

    estes53 TPF Noob!

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    Perhaps people reading this are missing my point.

    My goal is to cut way back on customer complaints...

    ...by telling them up front that large prints should only be ordered if they are going to be displayed at a sufficient distance to keep viewers from noticing pixelation.

    On my website I provide the chart (and even a right-side-pixelized sample photo for those who do not understand the term pixelation) then it is up to them to follow the guidelines provided, and then regardless...
    ...HOPEFULLY...
    ...not complain that their new large print, "looks weird".

    Alan
     
  7. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    Two points.
    1) This kind of exactitude will turn off more people than it will educate
    2) I would never tell people that there are defects (pixelation) in my image. I would tell them that there are limitations in the printing process and that larger prints require more distance for correct viewing.

    "prints larger than 18 x 24 are printed to be viewed at a distance (more than 2 feet) and when viewed extremely closely will not have the same detail as a smaller print - this is a consequence of the printing process.

    Thus the choice of print size should be strongly influenced by the expected viewing distance. "
     
  8. estes53

    estes53 TPF Noob!

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    That's a very good point.

    I am in the process of building the website, and will keep your words in mind the next time I am editing the pages.

    Alan
     
  9. glaston

    glaston TPF Noob!

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    Just post a disclaimer stating that the maximum size you'll do enlargements is based on the quality of the image.
    If they want a larger size than is acceptable to you, tell them the dynamics of the image prevent you from going that large.

    A technical explanation is beyond the scope of most peoples attention span. They want to pay you to deal with the technical aspect of it and have you give them the result.
    If you aren't willing to do what they want, they'll either reconsider(helpful to have a suggestion ready) or go somewhere that WILL do what they want.

    It would help if you could show them some full size image samples so they can see what you're trying to say.
    Take an image and shrink it down real small and save it out, then blow it up to something like 9x12 or above and print it.
    When people want a bigger print, show them that image.
    You could do it with a jpeg and show the result on your website.

    THEN explain the distance scenario.

    *You could save your steps out with an action, and then run that action on someones image to show them what it will look like at the size they want.*
     
  10. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    I think this may be a response to a different question.

    If you have an image that won't look good at 11 x 14 that's a different issue than saying that a good image won't look terrific up close when printed at 20 x 30.

    Trying to show people things with samples will be asking people to make the jump from screen res to picture res - and, IMO, that's a stretch.

    If any specific image is unsuitable for prints above 11x 14, put that in brackets under the title. If the OP is doing his/her own fulfillment, the traffic shouldn't be that busy but that he/she can catch inappropriate orders.
     
  11. estes53

    estes53 TPF Noob!

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    I'm luck in that my web page provider allows me to offer size, or sizes, on a case by case basis.

    So far, the scans from slides I am getting here in Colombia, in my opinion, are very poor, so until I get back the the US and possibly get better results, I will only offer those in 8 X 10.

    My more recent, digital stuff, I will offer (if not overly cropped) all the way to the maximum size that my printing service offers, which is 24 X 36.

    I am using this web page service for my photography and my wifes paintings and it is working out great.

    If anyone is interested in checking them out it is- http://www.zhibit.org/

    Alan
     
  12. glaston

    glaston TPF Noob!

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    You'd only be demonstrating an effect.
    You shrink a sample image proportionately so that the end result after shrinking is mathematically correct.
    Then you blow the image up so that it pixelates proportionately also.

    Then show the client that image at the blown up resolution by printing the sample image to demonstrate the level of pixelation.
    With that sample, you can show them that up close the image seems pixelated, but as you step further back it looks sharper.

    Tell them that this is the same problem that you'll encounter blowing up the image they want so it will only look good at a certain distance.

    To show it on the website, just show jpegs of the shrunken image at it's correct resolution, and at a mathematically correct upsizing.
    Then explain the distance scenario.
    It's no different than showing sample wedding photos to people so they can choose a style.
    Most people will move on as soon as you start explaining things that involve numbers they don't understand.
    But if you demonstrate things visually, they'll actually grasp the concept.

    I'm trying to offer an alternative to posting a technical explanation to non-technical people.
    That explanation will drive away MANY potential clients.
     

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