You could have the best printer on the market, but if you don’t understand printing resolution you could become very frustrated with your print job. Here is some printing advice and knowledge that will make that next print job a little less stressful.
The size of your digital file is measured in pixels and DPI or Dots Per Inch. Sometimes this measurement is referred to as PPI, or Pixels Per Inch.
A pixel is a small dot inside of a transparent. Think of it as when someone talks to you about the type of display your computer or T.V. screen has. DPI refers to the number of dots (pixels) per inch. Resolution is how much detail an image holds. Higher DPI means great resolution, but this does also means higher image size.
Small image sizes mean small prints. Large images, with large DPI and high resolution, are better for photos. Smaller resolutions are for regular print jobs. A general rule of thumb for image size versus print size is: the image size should be at least the size of the print multiplied by 300, at 300 DPI. For example, if you want to order a 4×6 print, the image size should be 1200 pixels by 1800 pixels at 300 DPI. More DPI will not affect the print quality, but smaller DPI will print blurry and distorted.
For the highest quality print, test prints at several different printing resolutions should be made and compared. Then, the best print can be selected, and the printing resolution for that print used for the final print. A photographer might print copies of the image at 200, 250, 300, and 360 PPI. Once you have printed in different ranges you will not have to test print every time you print.