Exporting Your Digital Photography for Large-Scale Printing

Right now you have a killer Composite you’ve just created and you’re wondering, “How do I do what Photillustrator does and make this small digital file into a big awesome print?”

In this video tutorial, I’m going to show you 2 different ways you can export your image for large print, and which way I believe works better.

Let me start, however, by saying, there’s nothing like seeing your Composited Photography in a large 60” or 70” print, and as cool as it looks on your fancy computer box, it looks so much better in person. I feel so strongly about print that except for myself and my wife, nobody sees one of my finished portraits until it’s printed.

Don’t want to watch the video tutorial? Then keep on reading.

Isn’t Exporting Digital Files Easy Though?

Hey, Not everybody’s as smart as you, alright?

YES, but you don’t know what you don’t know, right?

If you’ve made it this far or you’ve watched the video tutorial, odds are you’re about to export one of your digital images for large print, or you’re wanting to, but you’re not sure of the best way.

A few years ago I was in the exact same position as you are right now and I decided to do what you’re doing right now, which is find a video on YouTube to show me how to do it.

So, I searched and searched, and when nothing came up in my searches, I searched some more.

I seriously couldn’t find a video to show me how to export my digital files for printing.

With no other options, I was just forced to figure it out for myself, and this is the first Creative Family Portrait I nervously printed as a 46” canvas print.

conceptual photography of crazy town created by dallas advertising photographer

My client was paying me something like $2,600 and I remember being so nervous about how their portrait would print. I had a lot riding on this and I didn’t want to screw it up.

I’m sure you know exactly how I was feeling.

What You Need to Know

If you want to know my step-by-step process for exporting your small little digital image to be a big large print, just watch the video tutorial.

Since I record the video separate from writing this article, here’s what you may or may not have gotten from it.

The Type of Printing Matters

I’m not an expert at the different types of printing there is, but I do know the process for printing your digital images onto photographic quality paper is different than printing large media such as billboards.

Since I only print for photographic quality paper, all the information in this video tutorial applies to this process only.

If you’re exporting your digital image to be printed on photographic quality paper, it’s important you export at the exact size you will be printing.

For example, my most common print size is 60” horizontally, which means my exported image is sized at 60” horizontally. Exporting the precise size of image you’ll be printing is the only way to guarantee image quality.

You Can’t Trust your Computer Screen

Again, I’m not an expert at computer screen vs. printer quality or that “dpi” stuff, but I do know the image you see on your computer screen is different than the image you see printed out.

Here’s what I’m talking about.

Your computer screen resolution is less than the high end printer that will be printing your digital image.


Once you’ve enlarged your digital file to the precise size you’ll be printing and you blow it up to 100% on your computer, it will look like CRAP!

The first time I did this scared the bejesus out of me because I thought what I saw on my computer screen was what I would be getting in print.

Thank God it wasn’t, and that’s because your computer screen and your printer are two different things.

That’s a Wrap

Exporting your tiny little digital image for large print isn’t difficult as you’ve seen in the video tutorial. I hope, however, this video and this article help give you peace of mind as you go through the printing process.

I do recommend you don’t do what I did and run a large practice print for your own piece of mind.

I also recommend building a relationship with your printer and ask a lot of questions. They’re there to help you and a great printer relationship is priceless.

BTW, I use BWC in Dallas and if you’re interested in checking them out, I highly recommend talking to my man Anthony.

Hope this helps. If you have any questions or know other exporting methods, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

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