Article outline

Introduction

The actual process to enlarge your photos is relatively easy, and you can do it using a variety of applications, some of which are built right into your computer’s operating system. In other words, the process of increasing the resolution of your photos isn’t complicated, nor does it even require you to spend a single penny in some cases. However, the method to upscale your photos matters more once you start zooming in to see the details, and even that may not be important depending on the intended use of the photo.

Why enlarge your photos?

It’s helpful to understand why you’d want to enlarge your photos before diving into the various ways you can do so. We agree that the base reason is that we want to take an image file with one resolution and increase it to a larger resolution, and that is the very definition of enlarging an image. So, what are some of the reasons for needing to enlarge, or upscale, a photo?

  • Heavy cropping

    Cropping is one of the most common edits photographers make during post-processing. It’s one of the first steps I take when editing my landscape photography because my priority is to establish the photo’s composition. In some cases, I have to apply heavy cropping if my desired composition, or the primary focus point, is too small or far in the distance. That often happens when I don’t pair the ideal lens and focal length with the desired composition. As a result, my post-cropped photos tend to lose a lot of resolution, and upscaling is the only way to regain it. When you finish this article and video, I recommend checking out this article on cropping by my colleague, Hillary Fox.

  • Massive printing or displays

    One of the highlights of my photography career was when Time magazine and Google licensed my photo to display on the giant NASDAQ digital billboard in New York’s Times Square. As you can imagine, the resolution requirements were strict, and I had to apply a significant upscale to meet their needs. The same upscaling requirements are valid for photographers who need to print their work for large posters or billboards.


  • Enlarging mobile photos

    The state of mobile photography has come a long way over the past decade. I’m constantly amazed at what I can achieve with that slab of glass, metal, and circuity in my pocket. Despite some smartphones pushing the boundaries of megapixel counts with their sensors, the image file output often requires much work when upscaling to achieve a larger resolution. That is especially true with the Apple iPhone and its 12-megapixel sensor.

 

Not all photo enlargement methods are equal.

Now that you understand why you may want to enlarge your photos, let’s see how some upscaling methods are better than others. And since this is the Topaz Labs Learning Center, we believe the very best option to enlarge your photos without losing quality is [SPOILER ALERT] to use Gigapixel AI.

It’s important to remember that enlarging your photo is more than just increasing the resolution of your image file. The best upscaling methods will also preserve and enhance details that tend to get lost during this process.

The deal is in the details.

Let’s look at this photo of a koala I took in Australia.

I ended up applying a strong crop to the photo because I wanted to focus on the koala’s face while also reducing its cluttered surroundings. Cropping my photo reduced the resolution from 22.1-megapixels to just over 2-megapixels, and my goal is to upscale it to be six times larger. The first method I applied was to use Photoshop’s upscaling utility, and the output file now has a resolution of 74.7-megapixels.

Next, I sent the same photo to Gigapixel AI and used the “Very Compressed” AI model to apply the same 6-factor resolution upscale. The first thing I immediately notice is the improved details throughout the image.

I also placed both photos side-by-side, making it easier to see the improvements in edge detail that Gigapixel AI provides. As you can see, there is no contest between the two results, and Gigapixel AI clearly provides superior quality when enlarging your photos.

Adobe Photoshop | © Brian MatiashAdobe Photoshop | © Brian Matiash

My Gigapixel AI workflow in action.

In this video, I will share my editing workflow using Gigapixel AI to enlarge another photo I took in Cuba several years ago. In the end, I’ll compare the upscaling results of Adobe Photoshop, Apple Preview, and Gigapixel AI.

Try Gigapixel AI for free.

Fill out the form below to begin your free trial of Gigapixel AI and see why it is the best solution for enlarging your photos. It’s completely free, fully functional, and never expires.

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About the Author: Brian Matiash

Brian Matiash serves as Product Marketing Manager for Topaz Labs and manages the Topaz Labs Learning Center. He is also a photo educator and author, with his work being featured in dozens of international publications. Learn more about Brian by visiting his website.
Published On: October 22nd, 2021 / Categories: Gigapixel AI, Photo Editing Workflow Series /

6 Comments

  1. Greg Sinclair November 15, 2021 at 5:28 am - Reply

    Hi Mate,
    Just thought that i mention that in Australia. They are called Koalas not Kuala bear. They are not bears.
    cheers

    • Brian Matiash November 15, 2021 at 10:51 am - Reply

      Ahhh, thanks for keeping me honest, Greg! I updated the article to reflect the proper name. Good on ya!

  2. Kristi November 13, 2021 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    Brian, This is my question too. I have a 35M file that I need to print 16″ x 20″ which equals 190 dpi in its original size. Could I use Gigapixel AI to increase the resolution of the file to equal 300 dpi to print it 16″ x 20″? I do not want to increase the file size any more than I need to, naturally.
    Thanks, Kristi

    • Brian Matiash November 15, 2021 at 12:47 pm - Reply

      Hi there, Krisi. First, when you say “35M”, are you referring to 35 megapixels of resolution or 35 megabytes of file size? I just want to be sure.

      You can open up your image in Gigapixel AI and select the Width tab. Then, change the output width unit to inches. When you do that, you can lock in your width dimension and you’ll also see a Pixels per Unit field where you can enter in 300. That should accomplish what you’re aiming to do. However, I can’t guarantee that the file size won’t increase as you are upscaling with more data. I hope that helps!

  3. Roberta November 7, 2021 at 11:40 am - Reply

    How do I use megapixel only to increase resolution to 300???????????????

    • Brian Matiash November 8, 2021 at 1:58 pm - Reply

      Hi Roberta, I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking. Can you please clarify?

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