I admit it, I am hooked on big prints. You are looking at a 20×30 inch print (or technically, you are looking at a digital photograph of a 20×30 print). Big prints look great hanging on a wall (or held by one of your favorite models).
There is nothing wrong with 8×10 and 8×12 inch prints, and I have a lot of them framed, but every once in a while an image deserves to be turned into a big print. It is just too much fun not to do that.
Big prints can also be humbling. They reveal your technical short comings. If your technique isn’t spot on, it will show up in a big print. If you want a big, sharp print, you need a sharp image to begin with. Read Getting Maximum Sharpness.
Big prints will also reveal any inadequacies in your equipment. It takes a good quality lens, properly used, to make a big print. Most 35mm and larger film cameras and most recent DSLRs are perfectly capable of doing the job. If your tripod and head aren’t steady enough for the weight of the gear you are using, that will show up too. If your tripod and head aren’t getting the job done, see the links below.
It also takes a good lab to properly handle big prints. Photo labs are not all created equal. I list some of my favorite labs in this article: How To Get The Best Results From The Best Online Photo Labs. This article will also help you prepare your image properly before you send it off to the lab
If you haven’t made a big print lately (or ever), why not give it a go? Pick a great lab, send them a file, and have them make a 16×24 or 20×30 print. Hang it on the wall and be proud!