How We Make Sure Your Photos Are Perfect

The science behind printing and framing your favorite pics

All photos are not created equal.

Aside from any artistic or sentimental qualities they may possess, the image resolution may range from very low to extremely high.

Usually, the naked eye can tell the difference and you'll hear people throw around the terms "high-res" and "low-res," but there is a bit more to this concept and how it affects print quality when you go from digital image to a framed photo on the wall.

The Science

The Cannon and Epson inkjet printers we use to produce your photos create giclée prints by placing many, many individual dots of ink on paper.

When printed close together, our eyes perceive these tiny dots of archival pigment as one continuous image. So the more tightly together the dots are packed, the sharper your images look.

"DPI" (dots per inch) is the measure of how many dots are contained inside a square inch of printed material.

But unlike prints with their ink dots, a digital image is a grid of tiny pixels, each representing a single color.

Think of a pixel like a square dot -- zooming in far enough on any image will reveal these individual squares with no gaps between them:

Image specs

If you right click on 'Get Info' on one of your digital photos, you should be able to get its dimensions in pixels. Here's what that looks like on a Mac:

To translate this into another term you may recognize, multiply the horizontal and vertical pixels to calculate the number of megapixels.

So in the example above:

2,675 x 3,568 = 9,544,400 pixels, or ~9.5 megapixels.

Put simply, an image with a lot of pixels is considered high-resolution, and one with a low number of pixels is considered low-resolution.

Tying it all together

Okay, so we know that more dots printed per square inch (a high DPI) results in a sharper, better looking photo. It follows that the more pixels you have available to cram into each square inch, the smaller they will appear until they blend together smoothly.

This is where print size comes into play. A high resolution image will print beautifully at a small print size because you are cramming so many pixels into a limited area.

But what happens when you make the print bigger?

As you increase the size of the paper, you have fewer and fewer pixels to pack into each square inch because while the image is expanding, the number of pixels stays constant. At some point those pixels become bigger than the tiny ink dots:

The resolution of this image was too low for the print size

How we handle your photos before framing them

The vast majority of photos we see uploaded for printing and framing are of excellent quality.

Any smart phone or point-and-shoot digital camera less than a few years old can produce images that print well up to 20" and sometimes higher, assuming a high degree of sharpness and focus in the photo.

This is where online custom framing makes things easier.

When you upload a photo for us to print and frame, we analyze the aspect ratio and resolution on the fly to generate a range of acceptable print sizes to choose from. Once a selection is made and your order placed, we use software to resample the image up to 300 DPI for a super high-quality print.

At this stage, we can see onscreen the exact print quality of each photo for the size ordered. If we spot any pixellation or noise, we will reach out immediately to request a higher resolution file or suggest a smaller print size. Once the photos are printed, they must pass a second eye test before getting custom framed as part of our quality control.

Using AI to boosting the resolution

When you upload a photo, we'll provide a range of print sizes that fall within the limits of high-quality prints with the given resolution.

If your image does not provide the print size you are looking for, look for the "Boost Resolution with AI Enhance" feature which can increase the resolution and open up more options.

Just make sure to inspect the new image carefully and make sure you are satisfied with the changes.

Don't forget the frame!

Whether its for artwork or a stunning digital image that we are printing for you, we're going to handcraft a custom frame to fit using all-wood profiles, museum-quality matting and crystal clear acrylic.

We provide the same care and expert treatment of your photos when printing to make sure the combination of the two turns out perfectly.

We do the same for artists and photographers who need help selling prints and framed versions of their work. If you are looking to discover something new and exciting, check out our selection of featured framed artwork from around the world.

Discover new artwork to frame

More ways to frame your photos with top quality prints

Can't decide which photo to frame, or want to tell more of a story with your pictures?

We have a range of curated collage picture frame designs, as well as a collage frame builder to design your own layout with up to 24 photos.

Collage picture frame layouts from Level Frames

Or, transform an entire wall with one of our gallery wall designs.

These layouts can be further customized with your choice of frame color, or mixed and matched to create an even more epic display of your best framed photos and artwork.

Framed gallery wall layouts from Level Frames - The Large Portrait Trio

One last possibility to mention is the ability to customize your framed photo with an image or custom text inside a second mat window opening.

It's a great way to memorialize the date, location, event or anything else connected to your image.

Personalize a framed photo with text at Level Frames

Wrapping up

So from an iPhone shot of your pet going up in a gallery wall, to an insanely high-res photo you're printing and framing as an oversize statement piece, to limited edition prints from the world's top photographers, we have you covered.

If you run into any issues uploading incredibly large files or want to submit other formats including PDF or TIFF, just get in touch so that we can assist.

Please also don't hesitate to reach out with any questions about the resolution of your photo or which type of paper to select.

You can always contact us via the chat bubble at bottom right or by sending a note to

Happy framing!