How to Save Photos for Large-Size Printing

It’s essential to save your photo in its optimal state for large-size printing, because that can really influence the photo print’s quality. Here at Xpozer we print thousands of large photo prints per year and we have poured all our knowledge and experience into these step-by-step instructions for you.

How to save photos for large-size printing

Please note: These steps are for photographers who want the absolute highest quality photo print. Simply saving your photo in a good file format at maximum resolution is usually sufficient for a good photo print. If you want to do it as the pros do, read on!

Step 1: Choose the right file format

Many photographers shoot and edit in RAW. This is a recommended file format because it permits you to more easily adjust your photos without negatively affecting the quality of the photo. However, RAW is not a file format that can be used for printing. 

When you’ve finished editing your photo, we recommend that you save it as a JPG and submit that format for printing. Saved as a JPG file, your photo has the maximum quality that a printer can process.

While a photo saved as a TIFF file technically has more color channels and is often a larger file, we know from experience that it doesn’t result in a higher quality print. The difference between a print from a JPG or a TIFF file is not visible to the naked eye but only in file size. It’s better to save photos as a JPG file for photo wall prints. 

If your photo print includes vector-based designs (text, logos, drawings, etc.), we recommend that the image be saved as a PDF file. 

In Photoshop you can choose your desired file format by going to File > Save As. Then you can select the file format from a dropdown menu. In Lightroom, when you select File > Export, you may select the file format you want and select the size and quality. Make sure they are all maxed out for the best results.

In the image you can see the options for saving a photo in Lightroom.

Step 2: Choose your color space

When saving your photo, you can also set your preferred color spaces. Different spaces offer different levels of color saturation. The most well-known color spaces are RGB (which has multiple variations) and CMYK. 

For photo wall prints, we highly recommend saving your photo in the sRGB color space. sRGB offers a wider range of colors, or a wider gamut, than CMYK. This means that the color saturation will be better and your wall print will capture all of the color nuances included in your photo. 

The difference between AdobeRGB and sRGB is nearly invisible in a printed photo. However, because AdobeRGB is not readable by many monitors, internet browsers and printers, we strongly suggest you save your photos in the sRGB color space. 

Luckily, when ordering a wall print from Xpozer and use the AdobeRGB color space, it’s not a problem! Our monitors and printers can read both color spaces.

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Step 3: Save in the maximum resolution for large-size printing

While the file type and color space are important when saving your photo, the resolution is even more important when printing a photo for your wall. We recommend to always save your photo at the maximum quality and file size. It would be a shame to print your stunning photo at anything less than maximum quality. You’d lose detail and color.

In Lightroom: select the size of photo you’d like to print under ‘Image Sizing’ (for example a 36″ X 24″ wall print). Always choose the maximum number of ppi (pixels per inch) or dpi (dots per inch).

Step 4: Sharpening through paper type 

If you want to print an absolutely perfect wall print, you may want to select the type of paper on which you’ll print. Certain types of paper record the details of your photo better than others. By selecting the paper type in the settings you use to save your photo, you can create maximum sharpness in your photo. The paper type can be set in Lightroom under ‘Output Sharpening.’ 

Are you transforming your digital photo into an Xpozer wall print? If so, when exporting your photo choose the ‘Matte Paper‘ option under the ‘Output Sharpening‘ settings and set the amount to ‘High‘. Xpozer photo prints are printed on our matte, custom-made Vivid Satin photo material. 

Above you see an overview of the preferred settings for exporting in Lightroom.

More tips:

Learn more about how to transform your amazing digital photos into Xpozer Prints with our other articles:

This is how you edit a photo for print with Lightroom

Fast photo editing for large wall prints with Luminar

How to Check Your Photo’s Resolution Before Printing

3 ways to determine the ratio of your photo

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