iPhone camera tips Day 4 – Printing vs Posting online

So, you’re back from your amazing vacation and you captured the whole trip on your iPhone. You’ve taken  some beautiful shots and you’d like to get them printed or put together a book to remember your trip.  What do you do?   Today I’ll give you some tips on printing your iPhone photos.

Quick tip:  The images you take with the main or back lens of your camera will be larger and better quality than the “selfie” front lens of your camera.  So if you plan on large prints, use the main lens. 

The first thing you should know is that it’s incredibly easy now to upload photos and have them printed. There are quite a few app’s that allow you to upload photos directly from your camera roll to the print labs.  I’ll list those apps in second.  If you want to skip the technical part, just scroll down.

First, a quick crash course on iPhone photo resolution:

Each successive iPhone model has come out with better cameras, larger megapixels and better lens’s.   If you mostly just post your photos online, a large megapixel camera isn’t necessary.  The biggest benifit with large megapixel cameras is when you go to enlarge your images.  The larger the megapixels the bigger the file – the bigger the file the bigger the print.  Your iPhone saves the images you take in 72 dpi, or the more current ‘ppi’ resolution.  ‘DPI’  means: “Dots Per Inch”  and “PPI” means “Pixels per Inch”.  This is how much pixel information is contained in one inch.  Computer monitors only require 72 dpi or ppi to view a photo. Since most iPhone images are used online and viewed on computers, that is the default setting for your iPhone. Most digital printers are set for 300 dpi for the best quality images so they must be converted/resized to 300 dpi so they can be printed.

Here is a chart showing you how large the images are (at 72 dpi) on different iPhone models:



Once these images are converted  for printing it roughly translates to this:

Photo Size in Pixels Good Quality 150 ppi Medium Quality 200 ppi Best Quality 300 ppi
800×600 px, 0.5MP 5.33″ x 4″ 4″ x 3″ 2.67″ x 2″
1024×768 px, 0.75MP 6.83″ x 5.2″ 5.12″ x 3.84″ 3.41 x 2.56″
1600×1200 px, 2MP 10.67″ x 8″ 8″ x 6″ 5.33″ x 4″
2048×1536 px, 3.2MP 13.65″ x 10.24″ 10.24″ x 7.68″ 6.83″ x 5.12″
2592×1936 px, 5MP 17.28″ x 12.9″ 12.96″ x 9.68″ 8.64″ x 6.45″
3264×2448 px, 8MP 21.76″ x 16.32″ 16.32″ x 12.24″ 10.88 x 8.16″

Ok, so there’s a little background on print vs internet resolution.  For a handful of iPhoneographers who like to process their own images in Photoshop these are useful tools in prepping your images for printing.

Quick tip:  When you crop your images, they loose pixel dimensions.  Use the tips I mentioned in earlier posts about “Filling your Frame” when you snap your photos. If you get into the habit of not using the zoom feature and composing your images exactly the way you want them printed, you’ll have the full pixel dimensions available to you with more options for larger, better quality prints.  

Great App’s for uploading and printing your photos:

There are a bunch of apps you can download that offer all kinds of print services ranging from simple and inexpensive snapshot prints to photo books, enlargements, merchandise and gallery wrapped prints.  These labs will automatically convert your 72 dpi images to the best quality for prints; all you have to do is upload them directly from your phone.  Here are a few for you to check out.  Tomorrows final post will have a much bigger “must have” list of app’s.

 LifePics: lets you order prints from several local stores on their network – Photofinisher Network. According to their website there are over 12,000 stores located all over the world.  The singup and photo upload process is pretty simple. The app uses your GPS to find local stores near you that you can order photos from. You can also use this app easily while traveling just use the “Get Location” option to find stores on the go. The prices range based on which retailer you pick inside the app so it might be worth viewing options. 4×6 at Office Depot run $0.15 each

Shutterfly for iPhone: Shutterfly is a popular photo sharing site that provides a large number of personalized photo gifts- calendars, photo books, coffee mugs, calendars and more. I am assuming because of the diversity of their photo offers that is why Shutterfly opted not to add the Cart/Order process directly in the app. But you can upload your iPhone photos into your shared Shutterfly albums from the phone or using the camera directly. Shutterfly offers discounts and promotions frequently so I’d recommend this option for parents who will be printing multiple copies and ordering photo gifts from photos of their little ones.

Snapfish: Snapfish is similiar to Shutterfly in that you can order customized gifts from your photos. The app allows you to add photos to your albums and download existing photos from your online album onto your phone. The multiple upload feature worked pretty quickly. Perhaps a photo book of your instagram photos might make a fun coffee table book! *in app photo ordering is not available


Tomorrow – Must have photo App’s for you iPhone.