Smartphones have become the most popular cameras in the world, with millions of people shooting, editing and sharing their photos on and from their devices. As billions of photos are shared online, many people don’t realize that they can also make good quality prints from their mobile phone photos. Read on for six tips on how to get the most out of your camera phone pictures, and though I'll focus on the iPhone, most tips apply to all smartphone images.
1. Shoot and edit at the highest app resolution
Check whether the app you’re using, when both editing and sharing, is preset to use a high resolution. While the iPhone’s in-built camera app and most of the popular camera replacement apps, including Camera+, Camera Awesome and ProCamera, shoot in full resolution, a number of editing apps downsize your photo when saving.
I’ve heard plenty of horror stories from seasoned mobile photographers who have edited and saved over their favourite photos, only to find out they’d been downsized during the edit and could no longer be printed. For example, Cross Process, a popular retro filter app, is pre-set to downsize images from eight to two megapixels when you save. Many app makers do this to speed up photo processing.
My advice is to go into the settings menu of whichever photo app you are using and check that you have full resolution turned on. My favorite editing apps, Snapseed and Filterstorm, both save at full resolution. Filterstorm even lets you control the amount of JPEG compression of the final saved file, letting you extract maximum photo detail.
The Life in Lofi blog also has an excellent tool which shows you the maximum output size of over 450 of the most popular iPhone photo apps.
2. Less is more: edit with care
When editing your photographs try to keep your adjustments to a minimum, the more edits that are applied, the more damage will be done to the original image.
When I was making prints for an exhibition last year, I noticed that the photos with filters applied suffered from added noise and in some cases, pixelation. The worst damage was caused by the Camera+ Clarity filter, which introduced heavy noise into brightened shadow areas. Photos with Cross Process filters applied also had visible image deterioration (noise and smudged colours).
The image above had the Camera+ Clarity filter applied. Even on this digital image, there is visible haloing around the subjects hat in the top-left corner and on the building in the top right. Remember, the Clarity filter is an all or nothing edit (you can’t control the intensity). If it looks like the image is starting to break down on screen, it’s going to look worse in print.
The photos that had very minor processing held up the best when printed. Less really is more when editing your photos for print.
3. Optimize your photos for print
One of the most important edits you can do when preparing for print is to sharpen your photographs, adding contrast and clarity to the final image. I do all my sharpening on the iPhone, with two main apps, Snapseed and Photo fx.
Snapseed is an excellent editing app, which provides a 100 percent zoom preview of the image while applying image edits. I apply light sharpening to my images (between +8 and +15). Any more than that and you can start to see haloing and jagged edges. You can see the Snapseed sharpening tool and 100 percent preview in action below.
Another great app for sharpening is Photo fx. The app has been around for a long time (2009), but still offers one of the best sharpening algorithms, with amount, radius and threshold adjustment sliders. Unfortunately, unlike Snapseed, the app does not have full screen preview, so you have to view the edited image in the Camera Roll after saving.
4. Know your iPhone camera resolution
With each new iPhone, camera resolution has increased. Follow the comparison chart below (originally published by Life in Lofi) for iPhone sensor sizes and corresponding optimum print sizes.
|Image size||Good, 150 ppi||Better, 200 ppi||Best/press quality, 300 ppi|
|612x612 px, Instagram web, 0.375MP||4.08" x 4.08"||3.06" x 3.06"||2.04" x 2.04"|
|800x600 px, 0.5MP||5.33" x 4"
(13.5cm x 10.2cm)
|4" x 3"
(10.2cm x 7.6cm)
|2.67" x 2"
(6.75cm x 5cm)
|1024x768 px, 0.75MP||6.83" x 5.12"
(17.35cm x 13cm)
|5.12" x 3.84"
(13cm x 9.75cm)
|3.41" x 2.56"
(8.65cm x 6.5cm)
|1224x1224 px, 1.5MP||8.16" x 8.16"||6.12" x 6.12"||4.08" x 4.08"|
|1600x1200 px, 2MP||10.67" x 8"
(27cm x 20.3cm)
|8" x 6"
(20.3cm x 15.25cm)
|5.33" x 4"
(13.5cm x 10.2cm)
|2048x1536 px, 3.2MP||13.65" x 10.24"
(34.65cm x 26cm)
|10.24" x 7.68"
(26cm x 19.5cm
|6.83" x 5.12"
(17.35cm x 13cm)
|2592x1936 px, 5MP||17.28" x 12.9"
(43.9cm x 32.75cm
|12.96" x 9.68"
(32.75cm x 24.6cm)
|8.64" x 6.45"
(22cm x 16.4cm)
|3264x2448 px, 8MP||21.76" x 16.32"
(55.27cm x 41.45cm)
|16.32" x 12.24"
(41.45cm x 31.09cm)
|10.88" x 8.16"
(27.64cm x 20.73cm)
|3500x2614 px, 9.1MP||23.33" x 17.43"
(58.5cm x 44.25cm)
|17.5" x 13.07"
(44.5cm x 33.2cm)
|11.667" x 8.71"
(29.65cm x 22.1cm)
|4062x5416 px, 22MP||36.11" x 27.08"||27.08" x 20.31"||18.05" x 13.54"|
5. Use AirPrint to send photos to your printer wirelessly
The iPhone AirPrint technology lets you print your photos wirelessly to a number of compatible printers. If you’re going to be printing a lot of your iPhone photographs at home, it may be useful to consider a printer with AirPrint capabilities.
One of the drawbacks of AirPrint is its limited settings controls for print adjustments. A number of third party apps are filling this gap by providing more advanced print options, including print preview. The most well-known of these are Print Agent Pro and Print and Share Pro. Printer manufacturers are also releasing dedicated printing apps. The Canon Easy-PhotoPrint and Hewlett Packard ePrint apps both give you fine grain controls over your print size and paper type options.
6. Use a paper stock that complements your photos
When preparing prints for my exhibition, I tested a number of different papers to see which worked best, including inkjet prints on satin, gloss and photo rag papers. For me, the slight sheen of the satin paper suited both my colour and black and white images. I’ve also heard that iPhone photographers who use app-stacking effects often prefer textured paper or canvas as it adds to the effect of the final print.
When printing at home, try and experiment with different paper types until you find one that suits your style.
Bonus tip: Use interpolation for extra-large printing
So how big can you print an iPhone photograph? My fellow Mobile Photo Group member Oliver Lang couldn’t resist this challenge. Taking one of his favorite images to an expert printer, they upscaled the image to maximize resolution. The final print is a huge 5.5 ft x 4 ft. Oliver says that the print looks better than he could have imagined and that he is planning on including similar large format work in his future exhibitions, final print below.
Misho Baranovic, @mishobaranovic, has worked as a photographer for many years and is prominent in the emerging practice of mobile photography. His street photography has been exhibited internationally and in 2011 he held his first solo exhibition, New Melbourne, in Melbourne, Australia. He is a founding member of the Mobile Photo Group, and the author of iPhone Photography.
|Owens Valley Milky Way by ed rader|
from Sign, sign, everywhere a sign..
|Break by Hank3152|
from Motion blur
|Camp by T bird|
from A Big Year - birds
|The Maasai Shepherd by cgravel|
from - African Man - (Portrait in Black and White + A Border)
Riding a mountain bike downhill is dangerous enough in daylight, but potentially lethal at night. Which is where drones come in.
Rumors abound that Canon (and maybe Nikon) may produce a mirrorless camera based using their existing DSLR mount. Does this guarantee immediate great lens choice or a perpetually second-rate experience? Read more
According to rumors, the next camera from Nest will be able to capture 4K video, though that resolution will be only used for 'virtual' pan and tilt functions.
Boundary's Prima 'fully modular' backpack is expandable to 30L and has a removable camera case and tablet sleeve. Early Kickstarter backers can get one for $189.
Stanley Greene captured 'brutally honest' photographs in the war zones of the Middle East, Chechnya and Georgia. He was also one of the few African-American photographers working internationally.
Owners of Leica M cameras that suffer from peeling CCDs will be able to claim a free repair in the future so long as the camera was purchased within five years of the fault becoming apparent, the company has announced. Read more
No mic socket? No problem. In this video, Daniel Peters at Photo Gear News shows you how to make a lapel microphone using just a smartphone and a pair of earbuds.
The Carl Zeiss Jena BIOTAR 75mm F1.5 Red T lens is very rare and priced accordingly. It can be yours today for the low, low price of $15,000.
The MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has developed a drone that does not require any human control for recording tracking shots. Read more
In this terrifying video, Iraqi journalist Ammar Alwaely narrowly misses a sniper's bullet, which takes out his chest-mounted GoPro. Warning: strong language. Watch the video
A new report expects action camera growth to increase about 15% by 2021, with Ultra HD cameras driving demand. Read more
Profiles for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom have been released for Irix's ultra-wide 11mm and 15mm primes. Like all profiles, these correct for distortion and vignetting.
An upcoming firmware update from DJI will cripple its drones unless they are 'activated' on the company's website. Live streaming will be turned off and flight radius/altitude will be limited.
Brent from ShareGrid rounds up the 10 most common products filmmakers are renting from one another for productions; chances are good you own one or more of them.
DaVinci Resolve is making strong moves to compete with Premiere and Final Cut Pro, including affordable control panels for colorists. According to Premium Beat, they're really good.
If you are not planning to fly your drone commercially you are not required to register it with the FAA anymore. This decision was handed down by a federal court in Washington, D.C.
Whether you're syncing a flash, wondering why banding is appearing in your image or getting strange images from your camera's silent shutter mode, the way your shutter works has a role to play. Here's what happens when you press the shutter button. Read more
William Vazquez travels all over the world documenting humanitarian work. He spoke to us about the challenges of his work, the importance of research and why a multitool and duct tape are your best friends in the field. Read more
These ten film cameras stand the test of time. They are easy to find, affordable and capable of excellent results. Read more
Photographer Aydın Büyüktaş uses a drone, 3-D rendering and Photoshop to create mind-bending landscapes.
They're offering tips for composing selfies and converting to black and white.
Whether you're seeking ultra-high resolution, first-rate autofocus or 4K video capture, there are some supremely capable 'semi-pro' cameras available. Find out which models we liked best in our updated semi-pro camera roundup. Read more
With composition specified by the director, drones may one day be able to navigate a movie set on their own.
Canon has made the previous version, 1.1.0 available for download again.
Impossible? Not if you have a fast lens and 5 stops of stabilization.
This 'strictly limited edition' is a refurbished original Polaroid 600 redesigned with a custom two-tone paint job.
Nikon today announced a reorganization of its corporate structure which will see several divisions and business units closed or merged. Read more
High school students from New York got he chance to shoot along with award-winning photojournalist Ron Haviv in Morocco.
VentureBeat reports that Monday's Surface Pro announcement will bring evolutionary updates to Microsoft's high-end Windows 10 tablet.