How Long Does A Photo Last?

How Long Does A Photo Last?

It’s a fair question. You’ve no doubt seen old photos in various states of fading, curling and cracking. That’s probably what today’s prints will look like in 50 years, right? Nope.

 

Digital cameras aren’t the only evolution in photography this century. Print technology has been improving just as rapidly, in two ways.

  1. Silver halide printing machines, which still use light-sensitive paper and chemicals to print “real photos,” have perfected the process and materials to yield prints that last over 100 years without fading in normal indoor lighting conditions.
  2. Inkjet printing has pioneered new technologies that surpass even the best silver halide photo prints in dynamic range and permanence, now claiming up to 200-year stability in indoor lighting conditions!

How Long Does A Photo Last?

Most of these improvements have come to market within the last decade or two. So how do we know they’ll last a century? Manufacturers and independent testing labs accelerate the effects of aging by exposing prints to voluminous combinations of light, heat and moisture. The simulations are carried out in tightly controlled conditions so that print types can be rated on a series of benchmarks, like how long the paper will remain pliable and how long the inks or photo dyes will remain true to their original tones.

It’s very possible that the prints we make today will outlast us and our hard drives. So the photo legacy you leave may not be much different from the one you inherited. In which case, we should all start printing more!

How Big Can I Print, Really?

How Big Can I Print, Really?

You probably know the resolution of your phone’s camera. But what does that mean in real life? Can I make this big enough to live on my wall? Or just on my bookshelf?

You’ve probably heard the detailed answer before, or at least the first few sentences before your eyes glazed over. It’s the one where we start dividing the number of pixels by the desired print resolution to… are we losing you already?

How Big Can I Print, Really?

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a much simpler rule of thumb: MP = IN, or megapixels = inches. If your iPhone has a 12MP camera, stick to prints no larger than 12”. A square 12×12 or a rectangular 12×16. It’s a rough guide and there are some exceptions, but the math works out to about 300 pixels per inch. Here’s an example (skip this if the details bore you):

The camera(s) on the iPhone 8 and iPhone X capture 3024 x 4032 pixel image. Multiply to get 12,192,768 pixels, or 12.1 megapixels. If we instead divide them each by 300 (the threshold for photo-quality prints), we get 10.08 x 13.44 inches. That’s the largest size you print that will technically be considered photo-quality.

If, like us, you’re a stickler for quality and only the highest resolution will do, we’ve got you covered. We can diagnose any image you throw our way. But this quick tip will get you in the ballpark without any unnecessary math anxiety!