How to Prepare Images for Printing: 3 Crucial Steps

Last Updated on May 8, 2023 by PixelPluck


While digital art is great, there is something special about having physical art on your desk or wall. Bringing art from the digital into the physical world can really help it shine and allow you to show it off to friends and family.

However, before you decide to print your photography or artwork, there are some things you should do to prepare the images for printing, to ensure they look their best. If not, the results can often be less than impressive.

Whether you are sending the image to be printed professionally as a poster (find more about custom posters here) or simply printing it at home, these tips can help ensure the end product looks wonderful.

Sharpen the Image

How to Prepare Images for Printing: 3 Crucial Steps


One of the most important things when preparing an image for printing is to sharpen it. The sharpness of an image refers to how detailed and clear it is, and how the edges of objects in the image contrast.

A lack of sharpness can make certain objects within images appear blurry and unclear, which is normally never a good thing when showing off art or photography. You can improve the sharpness of an image by using online sharpeners or using the sharpening feature of your editing software.

The exact amount you sharpen will depend. If the image is very detailed with a ton of objects, sharpening is a must so you can tell each part of the image apart. On the other hand, more abstract images or ones that aren’t quite as detailed may not need to be sharpened as much.

Also, keep in mind that simply because an image looks good and relatively sharp on a digital display doesn’t always mean that it will translate when the image is printed.

Resize the Image

Another thing you should do is consider resizing the image if need be. You need to think about the size you want the image to be printed and save it at the same size. Resizing is quite simple and can be done with several programs or websites in seconds.

Resizing ensures the end result will be high-quality and the image won’t be stretched or unclear. For example, if you take a tiny image and try to print it on a large poster without proper resizing and optimizing, it won’t look nearly as good as you were hoping in most cases.

Make sure to familiarize yourself with image aspect ratios to ensure everything is proportional, too.

Choose the Right Format

Last, but certainly not least, you need to ensure you save the file in the right format if you are sending it off to be printed. There are many different image file types to choose from, and different companies or labs may use different software or programs and have different preferences. In many cases, a standard JPG is safe, but it can’t hurt to ask.

Also, beware of saving your print files in a larger color space. Not all printers can handle large color spaces, and something more common like sRGB is a good idea. If you try to print an image that is saved in a larger color space and the printer can’t handle it, it may end up looking worse than if you just kept it simple.

We hope that this article has been able to help you learn some of the best ways to prepare your images for printing. They are important steps to take if you want to make sure that your images print well and look great on your wall, table, or desk.

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