DIY Network

How to Create Photo Artwork

It's easy to turn ordinary snapshots into extraordinary masterpieces. And you can get that "photo lab" look right from your home printer.

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Step 1: Watch an Overview Video

Step 2: Experiment With Sizes and Borders

There are two basic types of photo printers, the ink jet and the dye sublimation kind, which is much like a laser printer. For printing a large amount of pictures, a cost effective ink jet is the best option. Ink jets with the best quality have a small ink-drop size (about 1 picoliter or 1 trillionth of a liter). Many printers have dye-based inks but pigments inks may last longer. Higher-resolution sensors on digital cameras keep image quality when you are cropping or enlarging pictures.

Photo printers also come with special features: big image displays, multiple memory card reads for printing without a computer, 4 by 6 photo paper trays, editing functions like red eye removal and fun color effects and borders. Four by six inches is the standard size in photo printing and has the best quality.

The DPI, or dots per inch, tells you how clear and detailed the printer can reproduce your pictures. The higher the number, the better. You’ll want at least 600 DPI. Digital prints will last longest if you use photo paper made by the same company that makes your printer. Try printing all different size, including 8.5 by 11. Iimages can be printed with or without a border.

Step 3: Display the Photos in Stylish Frames

Consider using acid-free matting to display prints. It will keep them from sticking to the glass. Heat and humidity cause the photo to stick to the glass and can ruin it. Photos with similar frames and matting create a bold, unified statement that will give your room a very stylized look. For a timeless look, you might want to experiment and print in black and white or sepia tones.