My wife got a fabulous photo during our visit to India with her older 8-megapixel point-and-shoot camera, and I want to make a 13 x 19″ print with my Epson Stylus Photo R1900. But the image file is too small for a print that large at 300 dpi. What is the best way to increase the file size while retaining maximum quality?
An 8-MP photo provides a file size with roughly 3600 x 2400 pixels, Rakesh, while a 13 x 19″ print at 300 dpi should have roughly 5700 x 3800 pixels. You can certainly add pixels with just about any image-editing software using a re-size tool, but very few programs can retain excellent image quality during the process. The best solution is Adobe Photoshop since the Image > Size command provides two very sophisticated, high-tech options for enlarging images: Preserve Details and Bicubic Smoother. I find the latter to be the best solution, but the upsized image will be soft; Photoshop’s Smart Sharpen utility can easily solve that problem.
However, if you do not have access to Photoshop, there’s another alternative. Perfect Resize 9 from onOne Software (US $80), using their proprietary Genuine Fractals technology, does an excellent job of upsizing images. They offer a 30-day free-trial download of their Suite 9 which includes the Resize program. Check out the REVIEW: onOne Software Perfect Resize 7.5 or the Perfect Resize YouTube tutorial, both covering an earlier (but very similar) version of the program.
If you insist on using your own image-editing software for upsizing and will then need a high-tech sharpening utility, I strongly recommend the Output Sharpener tool in Nik’s Sharpener Pro from Google. There’s a free 15-day trial of the Nik Suite, which sells for CAD $169 (including Sharpener Pro) on their website. For a tutorial on how to use it, check out the YouTube video Sharpener Pro 3 – Getting the most out of Output Sharpener. However, here’s one piece of advice from my personal experience: for the most natural-looking effect, use less than the default amount of sharpening. While experimenting, try the 60% option.