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Digital Camera Tips: Digital Picture Printing

There are 3 steps to digital picture printing:

1. Getting your pictures out of the camera and into your computer or printer
2. Editing or touching-up
3. Selecting correct picture size

Getting Your Pictures Out Of The Camera And Into Your Computer

For most digital cameras, digital picture printing starts by downloading your pictures into your computer or printer. Kodak EasyShare cameras, however, can be placed in a dock that connects to a printer. You can also buy printers that print digital pictures directly from memory cards.

Downloading your pictures is really quite simple, especially if you have a memory card reader (highly recommended). Just take the memory card out of your camera and put it into your card reader. Select a setting or two and bingo, your pictures start downloading... really fast! The reader stays connected to your computer and is there when you need it.

If you don't have a card reader, it takes a couple
more steps. You'll need to install software into your computer to get it to work
(the software usually comes
with your camera). Since each camera is slightly
different, you'll have to follow the directions in the manual. But once it's installed and you know the steps, it's a breeze. (Except that you have to connect and reconnect it to your computer's SB port every time.)

After you've downloaded your pictures, you can view them on your screen using the software that came with your camera or special software you've purchased. From there you can decide which pictures need touch-up or editing or move on to digital
picture printing.

But there's one thing we haven't discussed yet, and that's selecting the correct digital picture printing size. That's what we'll be covering next...

Selecting The Correct Digital Photo Printing Size

Successful digital photo printing depends on selecting an image size that will print up nicely according to the resolution of the image. So it's important to understand resolution and how it affects picture size.

Digital camera resolution depends on a camera's megapixel rating. When it comes to megapixels, there's a limit to the size you can print or enlarge a picture without losing quality. A limited number of pixels will only look good up to a certain size.

Printing a digital photo beyond the recommended size means you're going to run out of original pixels. In order to print a larger digital picture, you must ask either the camera, the printer, or the image editing software to add more pixels (to fill a larger page).

But cameras, printers, and software programs don't have human eyes — they can only guess which colors to add. This process is called "interpolation," or "upsampling." But whatever it's called, it's a quessing game. And the truth is, computers are
not very good at guessing.

As a result, you get poor digital picture printing results. Printing an 8x10 from only 1 megapixel produces a "pixilated" image that looks blurry or fuzzy. From a distance, the image looks like it has lines across it. Up close, you see "stair- step" square edges.

Always keep in mind that when it comes to digital picture printing, higher resolution gives greater flexibility — you can print larger images with more details or crop and print small sections of the larger pictures. But with low resolution, the larger your digital picture is printed, the more the quality degrades. Less megapixels look fine on the
web or emailed, they just don't print out well. Here's a chart that shows maximum digital photo printing sizes:

Digital Camera Resolution / Maximum Digital Printing Size
2 Megapixels ............... 5x7 print
3 Megapixels ............... 8x10 print
4 Megapixels ............... 11x17 print
5-8 Megapixels ............. 16x20 print

If you stick to the digital photo printing sizes above, you'll print photos you can be proud of.

How to Print An Image

- Open the image file
- Set the image size and resolution (don't exceed maximums.
See chart above).
- Click on the print command (found in the File menu).
- Specify the print options you want. The exact steps vary widely according to printer and operating system. You must read the manual and follow the directions specific to your printer.
- Click OK or Print to send image to the printer.

How to Change The Size Of Your Image

Changing the size of images is sometimes a tricky process, but here are simplified instructions for Adobe Photoshop Elements:

- Select Image > Resize > Image size
- Make sure the Resample Image check box is blank. If you leave this option on (with a check mark in the box), your images will be stretched either ridiculously wide or long. Turning off this option means the number of pixels can't be altered.
- Enter the print dimensions.
- Enter the width or the height you want the finished picture to be. When you change one value, the other changes auto-matically to maintain the original proportions.

When would you want to turn on the Resample Image function?

Only when you want to achieve a specific print resolution. If, so, select the Resample Image check box (click inside the box so that a check mark appears). Then set your desired Width,
Height, and Resolution values.

A second set of Width and Height boxes will open at the top of the dialog box. Set your photo dimension in them using pixels or percent.

A common question among new digital camera owners is whether they need to purchase a special photo printer... or will their everyday printer be enough. Well, that depends. Next: Are digital photo printers really necessary?

Rufina James

1999-2007 All photos herein are property of Pat McNulty and may be placed or used on any website as long as you create a link back to http://www.premierphotographer.com Please feel free to set any picture on this page as wallpaper for your computer or download a free screensaver.