I know you can just trim a photograph down to size with scissors, but I forgot about that and did it on the computer instead. It is a little bit complicated, but is super handy to know how to do (for instance when you want to print a photo for a locket).
So here is a tutorial on how to print pre-sized photos. It is kind of long, so here are some shortcuts to different parts of the tutorial:
- Part I: Crop and Edit your photos.
- Part II: Combine your photos into a grid.
- Part III: Edit the DPI and re-size the image.
- Part IV: Print.
How to print pre-sized photos:
- Pick your picture. Open it in PhotoScape. (PhotoScape is my favorite photo-editing software. It is easy to use, and most importantly, it is free! If you have Adobe Photoshop, I'm pretty sure you can use that software to do everything I describe doing in both PhotoScape and Irfanview.)
- Crop your photo to a 1:1 ratio.
- Do some fancy photo editing (like add text) if you want.
- Save it.
- Repeat with any other pictures.
If you need to print only one photo, you can skip this part and go to Part III. If you need to print more than one photo, putting them into a grid saves you having to repeat Part III for each of the photos you need to print.
- Go to the Combine tab in PhotoScape.
- Add all the pictures you want to print. (Add a photo multiple times if you want more than one copy of it in the grid.)
- Make sure the Checker tab is selected.
- Increase the pixels between the photos (Look for Intervals of photos) to give yourself some cutting space. (I used 20 pixels.)
- Click Image full to make sure the whole photo shows (sometimes one of the other selections will crop a bit from the edge).
- Change the number of Columns so that your photos are evenly distributed . E.g. If you are printing nine 2 in. photos, do a 3 x 3 grid (6 in. by 6 in.). Or If your photos are going to be 3 inches wide, make sure there are not more than two columns by three rows (6 in. by 9 in.) so the grid will fit on a letter size piece of paper.
- Save the grid (PhotoScape will create a new image).
Fortunately, it starts out pretty easy. 100 dpi to 100* pixels = 1 inch! Yay! Here are some examples:
|100 dpi||100 pixels||= 1 inch|
|100 dpi||200 pixels||= 2 inches|
|100 dpi||450 pixels||= 4.5 inches|
However, things start getting tricky when you increase the DPI:
|200 dpi||100 pixels||= 0.5 inch|
|200 dpi||200 pixels||= 1 inch|
|200 dpi||400 pixels||= 2 inch|
|300 dpi||100 pixels||= 0.3 inch|
|300 dpi||300 pixels||= 1 inch|
|300 dpi||600 pixels||= 2 inch|
For super small photos you shouldn't have to worry about using a big DPI. I used 200 dpi for my craft project.
- Open the saved grid image in Irfanview.
- Go to Image > Resize/Resample.
- Under 'Set new size' either:
- a) Select pixels for the unit. b) In Width, enter your DPI times the number of columns in your grid (so for 1 inch photos: 200 dpi x 1 in. x 3 columns = 600 pixel width; or for 2 inch photos: 200 dpi x 2 in. x 3 columns = 1200 pixel width). c) In Height, enter your DPI times the number of rows in your grid (so for 1 inch photos: 200 dpi x 1 in. x 4 rows = 400 pixel height; or for 2 inch photos: 200 dpi x 2 in. x 4 rows = 1600 pixel height). OR
- a) Select inches for the unit. b) In Width, enter the desired width of each photo times the number of columns in your grid (so for 1 inch photos: 1 in. x 3 columns = 3 in. width; or for 2 inch photos: 2 in. x 3 columns = 6 inch width). c) In Height enter the desired height of each photo times the number of rows in your grid (so for 1 inch photos: 1 in. x 4 rows = 4 inch height; or for 2 inch photos: 2 in. x 4 rows = 8 inch height).
- Don't print the image from your My Documents, My Pictures, or any other Windows Explorer folder. (That is what I did the first time.) You'll get the Windows Photo Printing Wizard which (annoyingly) automatically assigns the size of the image being printed without much control on your part. It is fine if you want to print a 5 x 7 or a sheet of wallet size photos, but in this case you want more control!
- Make sure you are looking at your grid image in Irfanview. Go to File > Print.
- In the Print Preview dialog box
- Make sure the right printer is selected and check it's settings (You may need to click the 'Printer Setup' button and correct the paper size. While you're there, you may want to go into 'Properties' and make sure your printer is set to photos printing mode instead of standard or draft.)
- 'Print Size' should be 'Original size (from image DPI)'
- 'Position' should be changed to at least 0.5 in. for both the Left and Top margins to bypass the minimum default margin required by printers. (If you know you're printer's minimum margins you can use those)
- Change 'Units for 'custom' and 'position'' from cm to inches.
- Click 'Print.'
- You can do all of Part III in centimeters, too. Irfanview is flexible like that. Also, I think there might be an easy way to do this in PhotoScape (skipping Parts II and III), but I haven't figured it out yet.
- * I've read that the ratio of DPI to pixels is actually 100 dpi to 72 pixels, or 100 dpi to 96 pixels, not 100 dpi to 100 pixels, but the 1 to 1 ratio worked for my project.
- I'm still trying to figure out how the different resolutions relate to each other. If you're interested, here are some in depth articles on it:
What would you use pre-sized photos for?
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