Turn pixels into prints

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One-hour service

If you can’t wait a couple of days for your prints and you don’t have a printer at home, look for a drugstore or a one-hour photo lab such as Wolf Camera. Many of these establishments have photo kiosks that can read all major media, including CD-ROMs. After you insert your memory card or disc, you’ll be led through options very similar to what you’d see on a photo-printing Web site. When you submit your order, it’s delivered to the in-house photo lab, which develops your prints just as if you’d dropped off a roll of film. Turnaround times can vary, depending on how busy the store is, but you can usually come back for your prints within an hour or two. I sent my test images to Wolf for processing. Although the results weren’t as good as what I got from some of the better online services, they weren’t bad. If you’re in a hurry to get your prints, or if you don’t have a fast Internet connection for uploading, then kiosk printing is a speedy, affordable alternative.

Counting your pixels

Although different services may have different specifications, here are some general guidelines for how many pixels you’ll need to print at standard image sizes.

Keep in mind that if you’ve changed the Quality setting on your camera, it may not be using its full pixel capac-ity when snapping shots. So while your camera may be able to capture 3-megapixel images, if you’ve set the Quality to Medium to save space, your images may be considerably smaller. If you’re using iPhoto, you can check your image’s pixel dimensions by selecting it in the library and pressing Command-I. In Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, go to Image: Image Size and Image: Resize: Image Size, respectively.

Print Size Minimum Resolution
4 x 6 inches 1,280 x 960 pixels (roughly 1 megapixel)
5 x 7 inches 1,600 x 1,200 pixels (roughly two megapixels)
8 x 10 inches 1,600 x 1,400 pixels (roughly 3 megapixels)

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