How Large Can I Print My iPhone Photos?

05/05/2020
by Laura Gardiner
Studio Manager, Tribeca Printworks

Can I print photos I took on my iPhone? The quick answer is, yes! Of course you can. The advent of mobile photography has revolutionized the accessibility of the medium and has exponentially increased the number of photos taken per year. The capability of smartphone cameras keeps improving and has now far surpassed that of early point-and-shoot digital camera technology. The problem is, however, of these millions of photos taken each year, few rarely make it off the phone screen or social media. We’re here to break the misconception that photos have to be printed from a DSLR or high-end camera to be successful. If you want to print your iPhone photos at a significant size, we recommend that you consult a professional print-maker. These photos can be printed many different ways and you can view some of the possibilities here.   

Why should I print photos from my iPhone? The smartphone has become the most intimate piece of technology we could have imagined. Chances are, you carry yours with you everywhere you go and the built-in camera allows you to capture everything around you at a moment’s notice. Your family, your friends, your vacations and everyday musings of an ever-changing world. Within these photos lie your most cherished memories, so shouldn’t you memorialize them? Because we are able to easily document our most important moments, the idea of self-curation is on the rise. Why display someone else’s photo of the Eiffel Tower when you have one of your own? 

How large can I print my iPhone photos? iPhone camera capabilities create files that can be successfully printed at any common snapshot size (i.e. 4×6, 5×7, 8×10). However, not only can iPhone photos be printed, they can often be printed BIG. The iPhone model you are shooting on is one factor that is going to determine how well your photos blow-up. If you have an iPhone 6 or earlier model, then you are shooting at 8 megapixels, whereas all models 6s and on are shooting at 12 megapixels. This means the actual photo files for newer models are 50% larger and will be able to be printed much larger and clearer than photos from older iPhones. The newest iPhone 11Pro boasts an astonishing four separate 12 megapixel cameras! You can read more about file size requirements in this article: How Big Can I Print My Photos and Artwork?  

Another factor to consider when enlarging photos from your iPhone is the conditions under which the photo was taken. The most successful iPhone photo enlargements are going to come from photos taken on newer models with ample lighting (flash or an abundance of daylight), perfect focus, and a steady hand. The light sensor technology on iPhones has greatly improved over the years, but photos shot in low light will tend to have a lot of digital grain or noise – something that becomes more apparent as you increase the output size. While the file size is technically the same, a well lit, sunny shot of the ocean is always going to be more clear and more successful than a no-flash portrait in a dimly lit restaurant. 

Lastly, it is important to consider what your tolerance is when it comes to image quality. We have seen iPhone photos enlarged successfully to 40×60 and larger, but with the understanding that the digital-grain, inherent in all digital photography, would be greatly magnified and visible when viewed up close. Most people’s tolerance for what they consider a successful iPhone photo enlargement maxes out between 30×40 or 36×48, but again, it is case-by-case depending on what kind of iPhone produced the photo and how the photo was taken.       

What are the best printing options for iPhone photos? If you’re keeping the prints of your iPhone photos relatively small, then all paper print options are advisable, especially fine-art papers if you want to add a touch of elegance. These smaller prints can be enhanced with custom framing and are great additions to any gallery wall. If you want to go big with your iPhone photos, due to the inherent digital grain that will appear at larger sizes, I recommend printing on textured fine-art papers and putting in a frame or a textured canvas print for a frameless option. Due to the grain, I recommend staying away from smoother print finishes like prints on acrylic, aluminum, and other high-gloss mediums.  

Unsure of the right size and treatment for your iPhone photos? You are welcome to bring your files to our SOHO Studio or email them to us directly. We’re always happy to view and advise on what the limitations may be and recommend the best printing options by image. If you would like to set up a consultation, call us today! 

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