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Photography Question 
Nancy S. Berman
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/17/2008

How to Print a Cropped Photo

I would like to know how to enlarge a cropped photo without losing resolution/clarity. I am not happy with the results I get in Photoshop.

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2/14/2012 6:32:26 AM

Christopher Budny
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/3/2005
  Good luck. Any time you are up-sizing a photo, you're having the software invent pixels to fill in. There are various third party programs you can buy, and you can try PS as well. You may want to try upsizing in small steps... a 10% increase, followed by another 10%, then another 10%. The whole time, you're gradually degrading the image with the "invented" pixels. So some clarity loss will always be the norm, depending on A) how small the source image is, and B) how sharp the source image was, to begin with.
Do you not have access to the uncropped original file?

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2/14/2012 8:31:33 AM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  Enlarging optically (...with the lens vs. with software) has always proven to be the most technically efficient way to get the most bang for the buck, especially when printing. With this process, we are utilizing the entire sensor and all of its pixels.
Sure, we all crop to enlarge our images, but we accept the compromise that we are utilizing a smaller portion of our available pixels.
To try to enlarge and print an already digitally enlarged (cropped) image exponentially increases the probability of image degradation.

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2/15/2012 9:09:24 AM

Randy A. Myers
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/20/2002
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  If you want to print it, find a print shop that has a good rip program and have them print it for you. Don't enlarge it yourself if you do this. Just crop it and supply them the file.

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2/16/2012 2:04:37 PM

Greg McCroskery
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/27/2003

First, I'm assuming you are talking about doing prints from such files, although your question doesn't state that.

There are many unknowns in your question, which make answering difficult -- e.g. What size and resolution is your cropped image, what size print are you making, how much cropping was done from the original image, was the original exposure good, and how much digital noise was in the original image?

All of these factors will affect the quality of prints. I have printed many enlargements from digital files that have been up-sized in Photoshop using 'Bicubic' resampling with outstanding results. However, if I start with a greatly cropped image, or one that is lacking is sharpness, exposure, or has a substantial amount of noise to start with, the results are not going to be very good.

Make sure all of the factors mentioned above are not issues, and you really should not have any problems.

God Bless,

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2/21/2012 8:38:46 AM

Marsh    This sounds really off, but I always print importing my pics thru Pagemaker 6.5. And it works. I can double the size of a jpg without losing any resolution.

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2/21/2012 9:52:48 AM

Bruce A. Dart   Some good information here but some key info missing: if you crop an image prior to enlarging it, ESPECIALLY WITH THE "RESAMPLE IMAGE BOX CHECKED, the computer will throw out data from your file and make it a smaller file. If you then enlarge it, pixels are spread apart and the image quality suffers. If you then try to make it larger in one step, the image also suffers as they computer grabs pixels from farther away to try to fill gaps. Enlarging an image 10% at a time (going to image size and changing the document size in inches to percent and making the new size 110%, i.e. 10 % more) will give you a larger file with any image with pixels from close by and thereby giving a much better rendition. You can do this about 4 times to get a decent sized image. If in your resizing/cropping you don't "Resample Image" you will retain your original file size.

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2/21/2012 5:22:45 PM

Denny E. Barnes
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/19/2008
  Hi Nancy
Here is a link to a video on one way to enlarge without too much loss. The 110% Bruce is talking about. For best results always enlarge before cropping. Hope this helps as it has worked well for me.

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2/21/2012 7:52:37 PM

Randy A. Myers
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/20/2002
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  I used to use the 110% stepping system with earlier versions of PhotoShop but in recent years I tested enlarging in incremental steps versus one large step. I found that there wasn't enough difference to bother with incremental stepping. That's my experience and it's obviously different from some others here. I suggest doing a quick test of your own and check the results. I was resizing images to 24 x 36 for my comparison.

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2/22/2012 10:49:46 AM

Bruce A. Dart   There are sooo many things in photography that the answer is.. "it depends,"and I always get a kick out of answers that come back so definitive and absolute. There is an exception to just about any rule of photography and there will always be something that will work in one case or another that is generally contrary to anything we have learned! LOl. Back to the original question...cropping in Photoshop is not the problem but perhaps the order (as has been suggested) or how you are doing that. In your workflow, always work with a copy or duplicate file so that, if necessary, you can revert back to the original file and the maximum quality that you started with. Obviously, I can get the best resolution from original files with my Nikon D300 that give me a 34.9 meg file. If I crop that to 8x12, I get a 24.7 meg file and I've lost nearly 1/3 of the data that I started with. Doesn't mean I can't get a good print or that I shouldn't or can't crop it. Just know what you get. Crop a part of the original to 5x7 and now it is a 9 meg file. Of course it depends on how much cropping you are doing, what the final size is and how you get there. You can easily make 24x36 prints from a variety of file sizes and get good results. However, if you take a 35 meg file and crop it to 9 meg and then try to make a big enlargement, you WILL notice a difference. Pagemaker is a publishing program that is no longer being manufactured. It has been replaced by InDesign. While you can get some good results with it, it was not designed to do the things Photoshop will do and I would not use it as the FIRST way to make a print.

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2/22/2012 2:10:27 PM

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