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Image size for quality prints

beansprout23

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Hi all!
We had professional photos done a few years back, and I blew them up (20x24) to hang on my walls, no problem. They were about 2-3MB each, and look beautiful!
Fast forward to now I’m dabbling a bit in portrait photography, and I shoot rawNEF and export from Lightroom as JPEG at 100% quality and my file sizes are massive! Between 13MB-30MB at times. My friends and family have a hard time ordering prints/cards online as they’re told the file sizes need to be compressed.
Am I doing something wrong? I don’t know what I don’t know. I compressed one for a friend’s Christmas card and it printed like junk. I’m shooting another friend’s wedding next week and I am concerned.

I use a Nikon D3500 with a Sigma 20mm.

Thanks in advance!
 
When you export, reduce the quality to around 80%. This should reduce you file size to a useable level and still provide good prints.
 
Your experience is a bit different from mine and I'm not understanding why. I have a D7200 at 24mp (6000 x 4000), similar to your D3500, and I shoot raw and export jpgs from LrC at quality of 100. My unprocessed nef lossless compressed files are just under 24mb and high quality jpg exports can be anywhere from 3 1/2 mb to 22 mb depending on the image. Sending files can be tricky. Email can resize your images, but usually makes them smaller. AOL is notorious for this, even though their advertised total Email size is 25mb, they will downsize jpg attachments. Gmail has a limit of 25mb as well, but doesn't resize your attached files, even if jpg.

Many of the print services (I like mpix.com) allow you to download very large files when using their website. I've downloaded 20+mb jpgs many times.
 
13-30 MB files don't actually sount to massive to me.

The size of the prints will, of course, drive the needed resolution for 'sharp' prints. It varies. Viewing distance makes a difference too. Billboards look tack sharp from the highway, but up close, they are very 'jaggy'. Work with your photo processor to get them the file size and type that they need to get the optimal print you want. They almost always will be quite specific as to what they want (jpg vs tiff, color space, resolution, etc).

Also, get a clear understanding with the printer as to whether or not you want them to make any adjustments. For example, they often increase the exposure by about 1/3 of a stop, to account for the difference in 'brightness' when an image is not backlit on a computer screen, but instead sitting on an unlit piece of photo paper or canvas.
 
13-30 MB files don't actually sount to massive to me.

The size of the prints will, of course, drive the needed resolution for 'sharp' prints. It varies. Viewing distance makes a difference too. Billboards look tack sharp from the highway, but up close, they are very 'jaggy'. Work with your photo processor to get them the file size and type that they need to get the optimal print you want. They almost always will be quite specific as to what they want (jpg vs tiff, color space, resolution, etc).

Also, get a clear understanding with the printer as to whether or not you want them to make any adjustments. For example, they often increase the exposure by about 1/3 of a stop, to account for the difference in 'brightness' when an image is not backlit on a computer screen, but instead sitting on an unlit piece of photo paper or canvas.
Have you tried printing your big files? What do you think of them? I think the best way to find out if your alright or not is do it and see what you get. It will only cost a sheet of paper and then you'll know where your at.
 
Have you tried printing your big files? What do you think of them? I think the best way to find out if your alright or not is do it and see what you get. It will only cost a sheet of paper and then you'll know where your at.
I used Topaz Gigapixel AI to up-size a 24 megapixel file up to 9,000x6,000 pixels, and printed to a width of 55 inches to hang over the fireplace. It's glorious.
 

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