So you want to print an image onto a roller banner. A large roller banner! You’ve got a reasonable camera, but before you start clicking and printing you want to make sure your image is going to look the business. Here’s a few tips for taking photos for large format printing, to help you achieve a great result...
When we are printing big, megapixels matter. Perhaps that sales guy in Curry’s knew something after all… Your image may look sharp on screen but that doesn’t mean it will necessarily look the same when it’s printed on your new large format outdoor banner or roller banner. The last thing you want is for your image to look like a Roman mosaic.
First you want to check if your camera is up for the job. You should be safe with a minimum of 20 megapixels. Sorry to say, but that brand new smart phone of yours won’t be up to the job on this occasion.
Next you will need to make sure your camera is set to record images as large as possible. Check your menu settings on your camera. You want large, high or even better if you’ve got it – RAW. Choose uncompressed RAW over compressed JPGs.
We won’t bore you with the technicalities. Put simply, the higher the resolution, the better your photo will look when printed. If you’ve not used your camera on these higher settings before you’ll notice the file size of each image drastically increases. Don’t be surprised if that memory card seems to be a little sluggish or running out of room much quicker. You may not use this menu setting everyday to print your 4” x 6” photos, but it’s great to have a higher setting available for moments like this, when you are taking photos that will be printed on a large scale.
“I’ve got Photoshop” you say, “why can’t I just enlarge my existing image?” By all means make an image smaller to reduce file size, and when your output is digital, but don’t use this feature to make your photos larger, especially when printing and printing big! Doing so will give you a result that will take you back to our Roman friends mentioned earlier.
Photoshop and other photo editing suits enable you to view the dimensions and resolution of your image easily. Quick tip – your images should be 300ppi (pixels per inch). Your print specialist will work in dots per inch, but in this example they are interchangeable. When saving your image, compression options should be set to maximum, or the least amount of compression possible, depending on how your program words it.
If you want a vibrant image that will ‘pop’ out of your banner, here’s some best practice to consider. Light is key. If you’ve got time on your side, it’s always worth waiting for a bright sunny day. A grey overcast day will dull the colours of your subject.
It’s important to remember when you view your photographs on a screen, you’ll be viewing them in RGB. Your end-product, a large format roller banner, will be printed in CMYK, which is a narrower colour mode. Some of your RGB colours will be lost in the conversion process. So shooting on a grey overcast day and then outputting to CMYK could give you a result far from what you had in mind.
Here at Eazy Print we love to share our team’s knowledge and quick tips with you. Here’s a few more which we hope will help and inspire you to get snapping:
- If you’re photographing a landscape scene remember to select an f/stop which will maximise the detail of the scene. Try not to go lower than 5.6, unless you’ve got something a little more arty in mind.
- When proofing your image on screen, view at 100%. Slowly scan the image in rows looking for any issues. Any imperfections you see in the digital file will only be exaggerated when printed in large format.
- If you’re using a DSLR, and on occasion change your lens. Make sure your sensor is clean. You don’t want grey polka dots all over your image.
Look out for the design button on our website and click through to use templates to design your own PVC or roller banner. Load your photo and text to our templates or select one of our pre-designed layouts. For roller banners we’ve designed three different layouts for you to choose from and update:
- Picture led
We like to take the stress away from the design process and help where we can. Plus, if the above layouts don’t take your fancy, then our helpful design team can help from as little as £15!
Would you like to know more? Ask our design team to review the quality of your photograph before we print it. We hope you found our tips for taking photos for large format printing helpful. If you'd like to discuss your photos further or order your Outdoor PVC banners, feel free to call our friendly team on 02380 700 111.