Size matters — particularly when it comes to printing photos. While digital has become commonplace, most actually still use print sizes made popular from 35mm film. If our technology has evolved so much, then why are we still printing small photos? Snapshots may still have their place — but here are five reasons why those favorite photos deserve much more than a 4×6.
4×6 was popularized by film.
The 4×6 size was easy to create from 35mm film because it uses the same aspect ratio. Developing film in small sizes made it easy to see a photo’s overall quality affordably, with the possibility of enlarging the best ones later. While many digital cameras still use that same aspect ratio, there’s no need to print out every photo to see which one is the best when you use digital.
Small prints waste those details.
How much time did you put into taking that shot? A 4×6 isn’t large enough to see the most details from an image, wasting all that effort to get that proper exposure to leave all those details intact. Larger photo prints puts those details on a pedestal to admire.
Even an iPhone can make big prints.
When digital photography was in it’s infancy, most consumer cameras couldn’t be printed in very big sizes. But, now even the iPhone 7 can print a 21×14 image and still get a good image quality, or up to a 14×9 with no quality loss at all. And that’s just a 12 megapixel iPhone with a small sensor.
Big prints are becoming more affordable.
Gone are the days of buying film and paying for the development of every roll. But even as digital photography maintains its spot in the mainstream, more photo printing options are entering the market, which means print prices are dropping as more competition pops up. Even an 11×17 is only a few bucks at most photo printers.
Prints are no longer just paper.
Printing on paper used to be a given, along with perhaps an occasional canvas. Now, photos can be printed on wood, glass or acrylic, while canvas is also becoming more affordable. All of these mediums offer a number of atheistic qualities, with wood adding a subtle texture and the transparent quality of glass electrifying the colors in your image. Printing on glass and other non-traditional materials are not quite as affordable as printing on paper, but the cost difference isn’t as drastic as size increases. Printing two 5x7s on glass is often more expensive than printing one 8×10 or even an 11×17, even though they’ll take up roughly the same amount of space on your wall.
4x6s remain a standard and are affordable print options — they’re still good for albums or giving out photos in large quantities. But when it comes to printing photos to display, go beyond even the standard 8×10 — the technology is there, the image quality is there and the price difference is smaller than ever before. When it comes to prints of the best photos, bigger really is better.