How to enlarge a photo

Photos are the real symbols which remind you your memories. They help you relive them with a smile on your face. With the help of the photos, you can release those golden moments which you captured during the good times. They will surely make you smile again, whenever you look at them. How to Enlarge a Photo article will help you on that.

So, photos help you capture those special moments. Many times you want to enlarge a picture or even made it a bit smaller. But different problems can arise when we expand a photo since it is difficult to manage the photograph without distorting the pixels.

When you enlarge a photo in an unprofessional way the pixels which together make up a photograph extend as well. Thus, reducing the clarity that a picture would provide in the smaller size. You can witness this pixel distortion when the photograph is printed and thus, reduce the purpose of the photo in itself.  

Have you ever tried resizing an image to make it larger? This usually results in loss of quality and the enlarged image looks blurry and unprofessional. Recently one of our users asked us if it was possible to enlarge an image and make it larger without losing quality.

In this article, we will show you how to enlarge a photo to make it larger without losing the quality of the photograph.

Why photo enlarging tampers the image quality?

Different image formats are used on the web as well as on a computer or a mobile software. Out of all those formats, bitmap images are the most common. All the commonly known formats – a JPEG and a PNG files are also actually just bitmap images. They just have a little different composition than each other.

So, with all the major file formats being just a bitmap image, the definition of this format truly needs to be known. It will help to understand the mechanism of all the different formats. Bitmap images comprise several thousands of pixels. When you enlarge a bitmap image, you can easily see these pixels since the pixels expand with the photo.

This reduces the clarity of the photograph since, the pixels which are a unit to express the color of the photographs, now act as the used blocks of the colored squares.

The role of these pixels

These pixels are present at a particular mapped location on a photograph. Hence, they arise with the name bitmap. Most image editing software shrinks or enlarges these pixels to resize an image. This is why when you resize an image to a smaller size; there is no visible quality loss. This is mainly because those pixels become even less visible.

Whenever you are using an image editing software, unprofessionally, they only expand or shrink the size of the pixels. So if you surpass the limit, then the photo’s clarity will be compromised. This is because the size of the pixels will expand to a large extent.

Therefore, enlarging a bitmap image only means that you might come out with a pixelated image, which will not be clear.

What’s the solution?

The solution is to compensate for each enlarged pixel so that, it matches the properties of its nearest pixel. This method is called Fractal Interpolation or simply Fractals. It produces a much better result when an image is enlarged using this technique.

This is why, it is important to understand how to enlarge a photo without compromising the overall quality, Thus, optimize its real potential up to the best.

 Before we get into the mechanics of how you can resize a photo without sacrificing its quality at all due to distortion of the pixels, you need to understand some basic terms to get yourself warmed up for the overall information about the process.

PPI(Pixels Per Inch) and DPI(Dots Per Inch)

One can replace these two acronyms during some talks, but they are certainly not the same and have different meanings.

So let’s dive into what PPI and DPI really mean.

PPI (Pixels Per Inch) is the resolution in which the photograph is displayed. It is the total number of pixels that a photo comprises of. Pixels per inch calculate the total number of pixels found in one unit of the specified area in inches.

It determines the overall quality of the photograph since you can assess the expandability of a photo with the total number of pixels that it comprises. This, in turn, facilities the enlargement process without compromising the quality since a large number of pixels provide greater flexibility.

PPI is a great determinant of the clarity that a photo is willing to provide. The pixels per inch for PPI depends upon the software quality which assesses the picture quality of the snap captured.

DPI (Dots Per Inch) refers to the printer resolution or the number of dots of ink on a printed image.

Dots per inch or DPI is the measure in which we can assess the capability of a printer to process high-quality images. However, this guide will use only PPI (Pixels Per Inch) to describe the resolution.

Now, you might be curious as to know how a printer may be able to do so.

Well, the primary way in which dots per inch works is that it measures the total number of dots of ink that a printer may provide on a specified area in inches on a piece of paper. If a printer can provide more dots per inch, then the photo clarity increases and the depths of the photographs are much more due to high color expression.

Since the colors are much better defined and the different shades come out, dots per inch of a printer is a major factor which affects the clarity that a picture may provide.

A more advanced printer helps you in increasing these dots per inches, and there is no other way to do so. So, if you want to print a better picture quality, then you need to sell out some more bucks and buy a nice printer for yourself.

Options for Photo enhancement

There are many options in which you can enlarge a photo by not letting it hamper with the picture quality. Many applications are willing to provide advanced features which a beginner may not be able to understand that easily, but with the help of an advanced technician, it becomes easy to enlarge a photo without compromising with its quality and without stretching out its pixels which may reduce its clarity.

 So, now let’s start by step by step so that we can focus on the different ways in which you can enlarge a photo, with the most appropriate application and also reduce its size without compromising the quality.

Adobe for Editing

 Adobe is one of the most trusted software when it comes to photographing editing. One of the most trusted software in the market, it is one of the most complex ones as well. People take Adobe lessons so that they can understand the mechanics of how the application works since it is also a great tool for graphic designing.

Changing the resolution as well as the size of the image is too easy with Adobe Photoshop since all you need to do is control its complex functions and it provides the best performance in the market.

So simply stated, it is the best software available in the market. And if you need to enlarge a photo or do any activity of that sort with any photograph, including editing, Adobe Photoshop is the best.

Now, let’s look at the steps in which you can enlarge a photo by keeping its pixel density in control and the clarity top notch.

How to enlarge a photo with Photoshop

It is easy to enlarge a photo with Photoshop, but any professional will recommend not to overdo it. When you expand an image, then there is a limit up to which it is going to stay clear without the pixels getting turned up.

 This is why the photographs with greater quality have a much higher flexibility of being expanded without losing their quality but as the expansion takes place some quantum of quality is always compromised.

So, make sure that you enlarge a photo only when you need it for some purpose. It can be a case where you have to print a large version of the photograph or upload it in a document or an online form in a specified size.

So you can easily say that clarity and expansion of a photograph do not go hand in hand.

Steps of how to enlarge a photo using Photoshop

Selection of the image

The first step would be selecting the image which you need to edit. When you open up the Photoshop software, you will see a menu on the top right. You need to select file option and then click on open. A new window will open where you need to browse through the data stored on your computer. After this, select the photograph that you need to expand. 

Photoshop also provides you with the option to practice your skills on a sample photo as well. For this, you can right-click with your mouse and select the image of the Tiger. It is pre-loaded onto the clipboard of Photoshop. You can first test the performance of the process that you are going to undertake on it.

Before the enlarging process, you should keep in mind that many photos possess non-clear spots called as ‘noise’. If these noisy particles are not taken care of before the enlarging process, they will hamper with the quality of the image. These problematic areas will enlarge along with the other details of the photo.

So, remember to keep them at bay before you start with the next step.

Navigation to Size option

 The next thing you need to do is to find the option which will let you change the size of the image. For this, go to image and select the option of image size. An image size dialogue box will appear.

Set the size

Enter new pixel dimensions, document size or resolution. Once the dialogue box appears, enter the numerical values of the new dimensions of the photograph. You have to set the pixel dimensions, the resolution and the size of the photo manually. This is why you need an expert to specify the appropriate values to enlarge the photo.

So, you would want to keep the resolution according to the dimensions of the photo. Also, the quantum of increase in the dimensions should be proportional to the resolution of the original image. Thus, the change in both should be equal.


Before you click on Ok to complete the enlarging process, the re-sampling process needs to take place before you save the photograph. It is important to set the new pixel information, which is also known as the process of interpolation. When you enlarge the photo, it ensures that the clarity stays constant even when the expansion takes place.


 Bicubic is one of the best settings which provides the most precise picture quality for photos with smooth gradients.

It keeps in mind the average pixel density of the surroundings along with the object. Thus, it can provide a clearer picture with the calculation of the boundaries as well.

Bicubic Smoother

When you enlarge a picture, it becomes difficult to keep the overall texture smooth and consistent. The enlargement of the pixels tampers with the consistency of the image. The bicubic smoother emerges as a much more extended version of the bicubic sampling.

It creates a much smoother picture when there is a significant amount of image noise. It helps to furnish surroundings and calculate the pixel densities. This, in turn, allows creating a software texture and an overall uniformity regarding clarity when you enlarge a photo.

Accept the changes by clicking “ok”

With not much to explain in this step, it completes the process of increasing the size of the image but always keeps in mind that a photo has its own specified limit. When you start surpassing that enlargement limit, it becomes difficult for the image to possess and retain its clarity.

How to enlarge a photo using Gimp

Whereas the famous Adobe Photoshop is a paid software for the professionals, Gimp turns out to be a free alternative to it. And even without paying anything, it provides the professional features that you require to correctly understand how to enlarge a photo without losing its quality. It keeps in mind the enlarging of pixels along with the photo and keeps it under control so that a minimum quality loss takes place.

But of course Adobe Photoshop is a professional software, and no other software can match the services that it is willing to provide. So you can expect the resize from Gimp to be one stage below the perfect resize by Adobe Photoshop.

Steps of how to enlarge a photo using Gimp

Open the image you want to resize in Gimp. Simply go to Image » Scale Image. Enter your desired dimensions under the Quality section.

  • First, you need to select the photo that you want to resize. You can do this by browsing through the documents and then opening the image with Gimp. Once you choose the photo, the software adds it to the clipboard automatically. You now need to select the option named image and then scale image.
  • To resize the photo, you have to enter the new dimensions that you require. After you have received the photo, before clicking OK, go to the quality section and choose Sinc (Lanczos3) as Interpolation method and click on the Scale Image button.

  • After the resizing of the photo, you can save it or export it to some other destination or even to the web. Although the quality of the photo after re-sampling by Photoshop would be one class above than this free alternative, there is not much difference in both.


How to enlarge a photo using IrfanView

 IrfanView is another free editing program which can act as an alternative to Adobe Photoshop. It is not a very extensive software and only has the important features which Photoshop also possesses.

With a much more compact software program and only available for Windows, IrfanView does not have a much wider reach as compared to the other software. But it is still a great alternative to resize the images and enlarge them without compromising the quality.

Steps of how to enlarge a photo using IrfanView

Simply open your image in IrfanView and go to Image » Resize/Resample. As we are talking about IrfanView for Windows devices, you can easily open the photo with IrfanView.

  •  Once you select the option to resize or re-sample the image, a popup window will appear with the necessary measurements that need to be put in to expand the photo. Now, you need to set the desired size of the image and then re-samples it under the size column.
  • When the drop-down menu pops up, choose Lanczos which comes with the slowest setting. After you have selected this option complete the process by checking the box titled ‘Apply Sharpen After Re-sample’.

  • After you perform these actions, you will get a resized photo. You will not see a pixelated version of your photo.
  • When you enlarge a photo, there is going to be an obvious loss in quality. But, if you are using any of this three software, you can expect it to be a pretty minimal quantum.
  • So for the professional edits, you can adopt Adobe Photoshop. You can also do it at home yourself with two great alternatives at your disposal as Gimp and IrfanView.

So, these were the different ways in which you can understand how to enlarge a photo without compromising with its quality.

Morgan Dominguez

Scroll Up