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12 x 18 and 20 x 30 size prints, do they sell?

andreas varro , Jan 14, 2010; 05:22 a.m.

I would like to ask you if you have orders for 12x18 and bigger print sizes from your wedding couples?
I'm planning my prices, and don't know if i should have 12x 18 and 20 x 30.
I shoot mostly in Raw, but to speed up my workflow i will shoot Jpeg, and need to know what maximum megapixel i need to aim for. If i shoot large with my D700 in FX mode it would generate 4256x2832 pictures, and according to my lab that's enough, slightly under a good quality print. (calculated from a generator they have, so it might not be 100% accurate, more like a guideline)
Large jpeg 12 megapixels= about 3,5mb
Medium jpeg 6,7 megapixels= about 2,1mb

Lets say that i get 1000 pictures that i feel that i want to show the couple (just to make an example, still feels low to me)
Large= 3500mb
Medium= 2100mb

Now, in terms of uploading to computer, importing to lightroom, exporting to smugmug. I guess this is only some of the things i need to deal with when it comes to speed. But if i shoot 6,7 megapixel the 20 x 30 size will definitely be to big to reach a good quality.
I want a fast workflow, and i guess that many of you think that i should not worry about this in the beginning. But i want to, i like to plan and be sure of what I'm doing. Also the first couple of weddings i will shoot raw just to be sure, not a good idea to start experementing on someones wedding.

I might be wrong here, if i am please correct me. This is just my calculation.
Thanks for your time


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Mike Earussi , Jan 14, 2010; 08:56 a.m.

Have you actually made 12x18-20x30 enlargments (or at least crops from those magnifications) from your D700 yet to see if you like the quality? From my own experiments, for portraits at least, 11x17 is about as big as I care for from a 12mp camera before the fine facial details start becoming blotchy.

Bob Bernardo - LA area disabled , Jan 14, 2010; 10:36 a.m.

Mike, I don't own the D700 so my comment may not be valid. For enlargements I give the lab Tiff files not jpegs.

With your experience working with the D700 have you made prints from tiff files or jpegs?

Mike Earussi , Jan 14, 2010; 12:38 p.m.

Bob, I haven't worked with the D700 just other 10-12mp dlsrs, but the results, as far as resolution goes, should be similar. And I always work from tiffs when printing at home, though, from my experiments, it's hard to tell the difference between a good high quality jpeg and a tiff file.

Also, my comments about maximum size are based on my own taste. My point is that if you haven't done your own tests then you really don't know how big of a print will look good to you. That's why I feel that asking other people how big a print can be made from a given mp/file size is ultimately futile, as only you know what your standards are.

Steven Crist , Jan 14, 2010; 02:53 p.m.

I sell some 13x19 (not 12x18). They seem to work in foyers, corners, foyers, etc. The 20x30 for me is not popular at all. I sell many 20x24's as they basically fit the 8x10, 11x14, 16x20 ratio.

Dave Luttmann , Jan 14, 2010; 03:40 p.m.

First off, I would never shoot jpg in camera. Throwing away so much tonal information before any interpolation is a recipe for low quality.

Second, 20x30 is beyond what I feel a 12mp camera is capable of producing. I sell a fair number of 8x10, 11x14 and 16x20. 20x30 is very rare. I wouldn't even really bother.

B. Psyentific , Jan 14, 2010; 04:14 p.m.

I'm a landscape photographer so I can't answer your entire question, however, I regularly print at 20x30 from my D200. I use Genuine Fractals to enlarge the files and my customers and I are extremely happy with the results. 12x18 is no sweat either. While I agree that throwing away tonal info is not great, shooting JPEG vs RAW doesn't matter unless you are doing heavy editing to your files. But you probably understand that since you have a D700.

David Wegwart - Denver/CO. , Jan 14, 2010; 04:52 p.m.

On speed:
I upload a 1200 pix image to SmgMg, then proof it for three days. If someone orders an enlargement, I then add those files to the gallery in large size.

For printing fies from the D700; I use high level jpgs. about quality 10 from LR. I can get great 16x20's from that and no need for uprezing, just give the printer the file.

Marc Williams , Jan 14, 2010; 07:04 p.m.

I do a couple of 17 X 22 prints for most every wedding ... this included prints that large from a D700 when I shot Nikon. That camera isn't just 12 meg, it's full frame 12 meg. = fat pixels and great tonality. No problem.

Of course it would depend on what ISO and that it is well exposed with good white balance.

I always shoot RAW ... you can go back and make larger prints if someone orders one. This is very easy if you use Lightroom since all the adjustments are non-distructive.

Pete S. , Jan 14, 2010; 07:19 p.m.

Normally it's the subject matter, what paper type you use, what type of printing process, how good the image quality is and how good you are at post processing and printing that will determine if the result look good or not. That's one reason why opinions vary.

I suggest you shoot a few images and print them using your intended workflow. Then you can decide of the quality is there or not. That's the only way to know since someone else will get different results. Then you can decide if you will offer it or not. That will vary too. Just because it doesn't sell somewhere else using someone elses images it doesn't mean you can't make it work. Or the other way around.

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