PicMonkey Help & Support

How Do I Make a High Resolution Photo for Printing?

Here are some guidelines for getting the best quality prints from your photos:

Start with the right size and shape

To get the best resolution when printing, you need to signal to your printer how many pixels per inch (PPI) you want it to print. If you send too few pixels to the printer it will just make pixels up in an effort to fill the page. If you send too many it has to shrink the image smaller. This resizing does bad things to image quality, especially if the image you are sending to the printer is a JPG because JPGs will not maintain the pixel integrity of your image as well as a PNG file type will. 

SEE: How to Make a High Resolution Image for Print or Web

Understand DPI and PPI

300 DPI means “dots per inch” as in: the printer is going to spit out 300 little dots of ink for every inch of your photograph. So your image file should contain the same number of pixels per inch that your printer is going to be printing per inch. (Keep in mind, some printers may print at a smaller or larger DPI, so you'll want to be aware of that when sizing for prints.)

Get a 300 DPI file

Since we know the printer is going to print at 300 dots per inch, all we need to do is figure out how many pixels to give the printer. To do that, just multiply 300 by the number of inches the print is going to be. That means in order to create a 8 x 8 print on a 300 DPI printer, you want 2400 x 2400 pixels.

If you don’t feel like doing the math, here’s a handy table:

Pixels to Inches Conversion Chart

3 X 5900 X 1500
4 X 61200 X 1800
5 X 71500 X 2100
8 X 82400 X 2400
8 X 102400 X 3000
8.5 X 112550 X 3300
9 X 162700 X 4800
11 X 143300 X 4200
11 X 163300 X 4800

*Currently, the PicMonkey Editor supports a canvas/image size of 6400 x 6400 maximum.

If you are using an image as the background you can use the Resize tool if the image is already the right shape. If not you'll need to use the Crop tool, which allows you to set the size and shape at the same time.

In the Crop tool be sure to check the "Scale Photo" box and then enter the dimensions in the boxes provided. Next, adjust the crop area to keep the parts of the image you want to print, and click "Apply".

Use Resize to change your image to 2400 x 2400 px to print at 8 x 8 inches at 300DPI.

SEE: VIDEO: Using the Crop Tool & Resize Tool

Apply some Sharpening

Another thing you can do to your image to improve its clarity when printed is to apply some Sharpening to the image. Prints need more sharpening than computer monitors, so apply just a little too much.

SEE: Basic Edits: Exposure, Colors, Sharpen

When you apply Sharpen you have to zoom the photo to 100%. You can do this by clicking the percentage menu in the lower right corner. Only at 100% do you really see how much Sharpen is being applied to your photo. We suggest finding an area with fine detail such as an eye when adjusting the Sharpen amount.

Download as a PNG + print

PNG files compress your image without throwing away information. This means that you can edit the file as many times as you like without worrying about image quality. JPG is destructive to image quality and the more you save over it the worse it gets. Typically by the time you get to the printer you are on the 3rd or 4th "generation" (number of times the tile has been saved over). JPG is particularly hard on text and just plain mean to small text. So, save as PNG to get the best print quality.

Check the DPI before you print

After you download your file to your desktop from PicMonkey, you can double-check the DPI of your image before printing. 

On a Mac: 

  1. Open your image in Preview. Go to Tools > Adjust size...

  2. In the Resolution box you'll see the DPI of your image. If it's different than 300, uncheck the "Resample image" box and enter your desired DPI (300). 

  3. The Width and Height fields above should change to the dimensions you desire (8x8 inches in this case).

On a PC

  1. Locate your file in a finder window.

  2. Right click on the filename. Select Properties > Details.

  3. FInd the DPI in the Image section labeled Horizontal and Vertical Resolution.

More resources:

Still need help?