Why is my image pixelated?
It often depends on where you received the image.
Here's some advice on how to get the best version of your image.
Facebook, Instagram, or another social media/photo sharing site
If you uploaded the file to the photo-sharing site we will need the original high-resolution version of the file. If you downloaded the image from a friend’s album or a professional photo gallery, you will need to contact that person and request a high-resolution file.
Most websites do not store the full resolution of the image you uploaded. Once you upload your photo to these sites, they become a compressed version of the original. Although they may look high resolution on your computer or mobile device, once enlarged they may appear pixelated.
Received via e-mail or text
We do not recommend sending images via text message. It's best to track down the original image. If it needs to be emailed to you again, make sure the sender sets the file to send at “actual” or “original” size.
Images that are emailed or texted are typically become compressed before sending. This results in a lower resolution file than the original.
A Professional Photographer
Contact your photographer with the details of your project so they can provide the correct file size and resolution.
Images that are downloaded from a photo gallery or taken from a screenshot will produce a very low-resolution version of that image. If you have a professional image, please ensure that you have obtained the rights from your photographer to reproduce the image.
I edited the original file
If you edit the file through an app by adding a filter or special effects, you will need to check and see if there is an option to download a high-resolution file from the app. If you are unable to find this as an option and can only access a small file, you will need to submit the original file without the effects. Please note we cannot match filters applied by third-party sites.
If you edited the image in photoshop or lightroom, make sure the base file you were working from is high resolution. We also recommend checking your camera settings at this point to make sure your camera is not set to take small, low-resolution images.
Some applications used for editing your photos may produce a final version that has been compressed or is intended for web use only. Also, if you cropped into the image too far, you may have compromised the original quality of the image.
Google Images, Pinterest, or another web search
You can try asking the owner of the image for a larger version of the image and permission to print the image. In most cases, we find that a larger file cannot be obtained and that a new image must be chosen.
If you downloaded the file from a Pinterest link, blog, or search engine image search, it is highly likely the file you acquired was a low-resolution file meant for web use only. Many files downloaded from these types of sites are also subject to copyright laws (see our copyright information page here).
Scanned from a physical print
We need a high-resolution scan in order to enlarge it for printing. Rescan your photo with a resolution or dpi of at least 600 and save the file as a .jpg or .tif. We also recommend taking a close look at the print itself. If the photo you are scanning looks pixelated or soft already, then any scan you make will also be pixelated or soft, regardless of the resolution of the scan. Utilize your local copy shop if you have any issues with your scanner. Make sure you request a high-resolution scan of over 600dpi.