How to make photographic prints from .JPG images
by Richenda Fairhurst June 2007
How to get that web image to the photoprocessing center for beautifulLeave a comment
photographic prints, both frameable and often also enlargeable.
First you must determine permissions. You must find out if the picture you want to
reproduce is protected by copyright law, and if so, you have to get permission from the copyright owner to make any prints. You may only reprint images by permission or as
allowable under 'fair use' rules.
For help with permissions research, see my bookmark page Finding Help with Rights
and Permissions. You might also find my article Tips for Researchers helpful. My help,
however, amounts only to helping you to find out for yourself. I am not an attorney or copyright law professional, and my advice may not be accurate. Always seek legal and professional assistance before hitting the 'print' or 'save' button.
The information provided below assumes you are dealing with an image in the public
domain, or one that may otherwise be legally be reprinted.
Back to the subject at hand: How to make photographic prints from jpg/jpeg files.
First the basics, and then a few more advance tips.
You can easily get photographs made from most jpeg files, provided they are large
enough. Most jpeg files on the web are adequately sized to be printed as 3 1/2 x 5, 4 x 6,
or even 8 x 10 size photographic prints. In a nutshell: Save the image to your computer.
Transfer that image to CD. Take that CD to your nearest 'all-mart' or pharmacy
photographic center. Order prints. It's that simple.
1. Save the image to a folder on your computer. To do this: Place your mouse over the link to the image you want to print, or over the
image itself. 'Right Click' (click the right button) on the mouse and drop-down menu will appear. Click on 'save image as.' Now
a window will appears asking you where to save the image and what to name it. Type in a memorable file name (be sure to leave the
suffix '.jpg' at the end of the name) and direct the computer to save the image where you can find it. Click the 'save' button on the
window. (It can be helpful to create a folder ahead of time that you can use to hold all the images you plan to save and print.) The
image will download--usually instantly but larger files can take a moment or two to download.
2. Once the image has downloaded to your computer, it is called a file. Right click the file to add information to the 'Properties'
record. To do this: Go into the folder on your computer where the file is saved. Right click the file and chose 'Properties.' A window
will appear with two tabs at the top. Click the tab labeled 'Summary.' In this window, there is room to record some basic information
about the image. Filling in the URL (web page address) where you found the image, the name of the illustrator or artist, and anything else that might be useful, can help you out later if you ever need more information or need to find the image again.
3. Insert a blank, writable CD in your CD drive. Blank CDs are sold in any 'all-mart,' office supply, or electronics store. They are
sold in what are called 'spindles' (because the CDs stack on top of each other like donuts) and are labeled 'CD-R.' You can buy them
in spindles of 10 to 100 or more.
4. Once you insert the blank CD, a window will appear on your computer asking what you want to do with the CD. A few options
will be listed inside the window. Click 'Record to Blank CD' or whatever option is closest to that idea. Though different computers will
launch different software at this point, a new window should open.
5. Select the images you want to print and 'Drag and drop' the image files into this new window. To do this: Select the files by clicking
them with your mouse so that the file name is highlighted. 'Drag and drop' files by placing the mouse over the file, holding down the left
mouse button, and dragging the mouse across the mousepad. Keep the button pressed until the file 'moves' over the window. Release
the button and the file will copy into the window.)
6. Once you have copied the files you want to print, the names of all the files should be displayed in the new window. Next, press
the button on the window that says 'copy to disk' or sometimes 'copy to CD' or sometimes 'print to CD.' The software might ask
you questions, such as if you want to 'verify' that the files copied properly (click yes) or it might ask you if you want to make more
than one CD (click no). After the files are copied, it may ask if you want to save the files to be copied again later. Click 'no.' The
image files displayed in the new window are only temporary files. All the images are still saved on your computer.
6. The CD drive should open automatically when the CD is finished copying. Take the disk and label it right away! Use a sharpie
pen to mark the top of the disk. Do not add sticky labels (except for manufacturer recommended ones).
Now you are done with the file copying part! Next, on to the photographic center.
7. Take the CD to either a copy center in any 'all-mart' or pharmacy, or take the CD to a professional photographic studio. The
difference will be quality and price. At the 'all-mart' you can get copies made for pennies, and quick, too. The do-it-yourself software
will also allow you to crop, rotate, and zoom. Chose 'matte' finish for art prints, they will look a lot nicer than glossy ones. Photographic studios can offer you much better quality and service--but at a much higher price. Professional photography shops will have matte paper
in larger sizes and so they can make nicer, larger art prints. They will be able to professionally crop or enhance your print. (Bring any
copyright information. Many professional shops will not make copies without verification that those copies are legal ones.)
Tips for better prints:
Software: If you know your way around image editing software, you can do a few things that will help you get the most out of your
image. I'm sorry to say it but most image editors are pretty useless. They are to Photoshop what Notepad is to Word--a quick but
superficially basic program. CorelPAINT or Photoshop are the real deal, but probably overkill for most people as they are both
expensive and complex. If you have them, though, you can do a lot more with your pictures.
File Formats: JPGs are the usual web image format but there are gif images, too. Gifs are smaller but they are lower quality. TIFF or
TIF files are archival quality files that save as much digital information about the image as possible. Usually 'all-mart' machines can't
read them, even at low resolutions. Pros: Tif files are better if you want to make high quality, or larger, prints or if you want to create
a high-quality archive. Tif files are downloadable from some sources on the web, private or public (such as libraries). You can also
scan and save images as Tif files, or set your digital camera to save the pictures it takes as tifs. Cons: Tif files are large files and take
up a lot of space. Also, only the serious collector/printer really needs them. They are overkill for everyday use.
Converting File Formats: If you have a tif file, but only need a basic print, convert the file to a jpg. Do this by opening the image in
a your photo editor. Click 'save as' or 'export to web.' Chose the file type you want, and then hit save. (This works when you are
going from larger, better file to a smaller one. You cannot add quality by simply saving the file to make it bigger.) You can also
reduce the size of your image by 'resampling.' Resampling the image lets you adjust the size and resolution of your image.
DPI or Image Resolution: DPI is dots per inch. Basically the more dots you have, the better the image is. The minium professional
image is probably a 300 dpi tif file that measures at least 8" in either height or width. Images downloaded from the web are usually
between 72 and 100 dpi and only a few inches tall or wide. The smaller the image, the poorer the print quality will be. Ideally, you
need to select images at least 200 dpi and 4 inches wide. Professional Studios will be equipt to handle and read large files, but
the 'all-mart' will not.
Cheating on Resolution: You can print a tiny file at the 'all-mart' through trickery. You can 'resample' the image, and when you do,
make the image larger and add a higher dpi. This will not actually make the image bigger and better. But the (faked) higher resolution
will allow the 'all-mart' machine to read the file. Now you can order prints. The quality of the prints won't be good, but that isn't always
a problem. For example, I print video screen shots this way. A screen shot is one frame of video saved individually. By itself, it is
too small to print. So what I do is this: 1. I open a new 300 dpi file 5 inches wide and 3 1/2 inches tall. 2. I copy my screen shot
image and paste it into the new file. 3. I drag the edges of the image until it fits. 4. I save. Presto, I can now take that file to
'all-mart' and print it.
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