Learn More About Image Quality

Was your photo emailed to you?

Often times email programs will downsize an image to make it easier to send. We recommend asking the person who emailed you the image to upload the original file directly to our website. The original file will be the one that was saved directly from the camera to the computer without being cropped, edited, or saved to a website or photo-editing program. To have a friend upload the original image, forward them the ‘Image Quality’ email we sent to you and have them upload the image directly to your order.

Did you take the image from a website (Facebook, Shutterfly, etc.)?

Facebook and other websites downsize images to make them easier to load and display online. If you took the photo with your own camera, please send us the original file from the camera, before it was saved to any websites or photo-editing programs. If someone else took this photo and shared it with you, we recommend having that person upload the original file directly to our website. To have a friend upload the original image, forward them the ‘Image Quality’ email we sent to you and have them upload the image directly to your order.

Did you save and/or edit your photo in iPhoto or Picasa?

When you send us your image from iPhoto or Picasa, you are sending us a condensed version of the original file. Any edited versions will be too small. For example, if you had cropped your image, adjusted the brightness, or made it black and white, that new version is compressed. Luckily, we can make those adjustments for you as part of our complimentary image enhancement! Just be sure to include those special instructions in the comments section when you upload your new image. You also want to be sure not to email your image from either of these programs. Instead, you can export the original, high-resolution image to your desktop and upload it from there.

Did you take the photo with a cell phone camera?

Generally speaking, photos taken with a cell phone’s camera are not high enough in quality to enlarge, but this is not always the case. If your phone prompts you to choose the image size when you save or send a photo, choose the largest option available (usually called “actual size” or “original size”). If you did this and we still emailed you concerning image quality, we recommend choosing a different image taken with a regular camera. Even phones that take photos at a large file size cannot compare in quality to a regular camera.

Did you make any changes to your photo such as cropping and editing?

When you make any changes to an image such as cropping, removing red-eye, adjusting the brightness or colors, converting to black and white, etc., it’s very likely that your adjusted image will be saved in a smaller size than the original image. Please send us the original, unedited file and we’ll happily make the adjustments for you! Just be sure to include your cropping or editing instructions in the comments section when you upload your replacement photo.

My photo came straight from the camera. It has not been cropped, edited, emailed, put online or put into any photo-editing or photo-viewing programs.

Digital cameras have a setting where your can change the quality of the photos your are taking. In order to enlarge a photo clearly, the camera should be set to the highest quality possible. The most likely cause of your small file is that the camera was on a low setting. This is something that’s determined before the photo is taken, and can’t be changed after the fact. We recommend adjusting your camera settings and taking a new photo to use.

To adjust your camera setting, you’ll want to go to your camera’s menu and find the following settings (your camera will have one or two of the following. If you have two, you’ll want to change both): Quality/Image Quality, Size/Image Size, Compression, Resolution

Following are common examples of the lists you’ll see in these menus, from largest to smallest. Choose the LARGEST setting in each menu (your options may be slightly different depending on camera model):
SUPERFINE > FINE > NORMAL > BASIC
LARGE > MEDIUM > SMALL
L > M1 > M2 > M3 > S
2400x3200 > 1200x1600 > 400x600

Did you scan a physical print?

Your file may be small because of the resolution at which the print was scanned. We recommend rescanning your photo at 600dpi (or ppi). You can find this setting in your scanner’s software program, under ‘resolution.’ You may have to go to advanced options or settings to find where to change the resolution. You can also take your photo to a local camera or copy shot at ask them to scan it at 600dpi.

What is the best file size for my photo?

We recommend a file that is at least 1MB in size. To see the size of your file, find where the image is saved on your computer. Right-click the file name and go to 'properties.' You should see something indicating size. Anything under 500KB is generally going to be too small. While a size of at least 1MB (or 1,000kb) is best, we may be able to produce a quality canvas with an image between 500KB and 1MB

What is a copyright?
A copyright gives its owner the right to copy, distribute, publicly display or create derivative works from the original work. A copyright also gives its owner the right to license those rights to others.
How do I know if my photograph is protected by copyright?
A photograph is copyright protected from the moment it is created. This means that even if you purchase a print or digital file from your photographer, you still need to talk to them about making reproductions from that item.
How long does a copyright last?
The current copyright term is the life of the creator – in this case, the photographer, plus an additional 70 years. Things to remember about copyright:

  • Purchasing a print or digital file from your photographer does not mean you have purchased the copyright.
  • Under the Federal Copyright Act of 1976, photographs are protected by copyright from the moment of creation.
  • Unless you have permission from the photographer, you can’t copy, distribute (no scanning and sending them to others), publicly display (no putting them online), or create derivative works from photographs.
  • Professional photographers are dependent on their ability to control the reproduction of the photographs they create.
  • It affects their income and the livelihood of their families.
  • Copyright infringements—reproducing photos without permission—can result in civil and criminal penalties.