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Resolution Issues


New Member
Hello. I am relatively new to Photoshop and am having a problem with photo resolution.

A lady I know asked me to help her create a photo book on Shutterfly. She had tried dropping her photos into Shutterfly's standard pages, but kept getting resolution warnings each time she tried to increase a photo's size. She also didn't like their standard embellishments.

She asked me to format her book pages using Photoshop. All of her pictures are a resolution of 72 ppi.

I created each page in a 12 x 12 inch format at 300 ppi. I used Image/Image Size to increase the size of the photos before placing them in layers on the pages. I did not change the resolution.

Everything looked fine. When I uploaded the pictures and dropped them into the Shutterfly pages I got no resolution warnings. All of the pages looked perfect using Shutterfly's preview tool.

When she received the printed book, some of the pictures looked blurry. Not all, although I used the same method on each. She contacted Shutterfly. The agreed to refund her money, but she really wants the book. She's asked me to fix the problems so she can order them again. The problem being that I don't know how to do that. Shutterfly said that they could see some blurry photos but no warnings. I assume that is because the pages were 300 ppi. The blurry photos are no longer photos, as such, since I turned the pages into .jpegs.

I tried taking an original of her photos and increased the size considerably. I uploaded the individual picture and dropped into a blank page on Shutterfly. I got no resolution warnings. Could the problem be that I put a low resolution photo on a high resolution page?

She really wants her photos to be large on the pages. They are standard 4 X 6 photos.

I would appreciate any guidance on this. I need to take low resolution photos and, somehow, format them into the larger page. What if I make the pages low resolution before adding the photos? Of course, I'm not sure how Shutterfly will like that. I'm lost!!!

Here is an example of a page I put together for her.

Piazza San Marco.jpg


The issue is how many pixels there are in the original image. For print you should have around 300 pixels per inch. So if you have an image which is 3000 X 3000 pixels, dividing each by 300 says you can print a 10" X 10" picture.
You can't just change the resolution if there aren't enough pixels to begin with and expect good results. When there aren't enough and you increase the size Photoshop has to guess at what the new pixels should be, based on the surrounding ones.


I would say you are on the right track with your 12" x 12" @300ppi document but the problem arises with the images you put into it.

Pixel dimensions are of the most importance when it comes to printing.

Too few and you get a very small print, which is what it sounds like your problem is.

Without getting too deep into it your only option is as you've already done....to make them larger, but transforming an image to a larger size has its drawbacks....namely what you perceive as 'quality'.

Did you use the correct 'algorithm' when transforming the image?

Some are better for 'enlargements', some better for 'reduction'.

You didn't say what OS or PS version you use so I can't be any more specific than that but whatever method you use ANY enlargement of an image will have an affect on its 'quality'.

Unfortunately there is not much else you can do but pick the best algorithm of the bunch.....but none will be 'perfect'.

Its an all too common problem that images just don't have enough pixels in them to print at a reasonable size.....often because 'printing' was never a consideration when the original image was first created.

Try a different method when transforming the image, and also try to 'enlarge' it by as little as you can get away with.....and do it just the once too!...that is to say if you change it always work from the original image and not an already 'enlarged' one. (Use UNDO or Step Backwards if necessary.)