I entered a charity calendar competition and the picture of my cat won, but when they tried to make it larger to put on their 2016 calendar it wasn't a good enough quality. It was blurred. I was gutted.

Is there any way my picture can be improved so it can be made bigger, or can I send it somewhere over the internet for them to do it for me? I love the picture and would like it to be used.

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    \$\begingroup\$ How large is your picture (in pixels) and how large should it be? \$\endgroup\$
    – null
    Oct 22, 2015 at 15:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ How large should it be in centimeters/inches? \$\endgroup\$
    – Zenit
    Oct 22, 2015 at 15:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ This 2 data null and Alex are asking is to know if the image is large enough as it is. Becouse resizing it "bigger" is in reality a veeeeeeeery limited option. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rafael
    Oct 22, 2015 at 15:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ What camera did you use, and what file format was it? Could it have been scaled as part of the export/send process as per my comment on @Itai's answer below? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 22, 2015 at 16:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ It would help you to get a good answer immensely if you provided the information that people have asked for, including: What camera, how large in pixels height x width was the out of camera image, was the image processed before sending. If you posted the original on a ebsite where you retain fill copyright people could immediately see what was possible. (Images posted to this site have a creative commons "CCSA" licence as part of the usage terms. ) \$\endgroup\$ Oct 23, 2015 at 6:08

2 Answers 2


Assuming that what was sent is a file produced by the camera:

That is not possible. A camera has a sensor which captures a certain amount of details. You cannot make up for missing pixels, the information is not there. That is why it matters to use a camera of the right resolution for print-size and viewing distance. See this answer for a nice chart illustrating this.

One can make things a little sharper by using a sharpening filter but that would allow only a very small increase it print-size, if at all. To do this, you use an image processing software like Photoshop Elements or Lightroom. Even some free software can do this.

If you processed this file somehow, perhaps unintentionally, it may have been reduced in size. In which case you have to go back to the original from the camera and check if the resolution is the same.

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    \$\begingroup\$ In terms of whether it's possible for the file that wassent, then this answer is correct, but it's important to point out the possibility that the image was somehow reduced in size as part of the export/send from the original. It may have been captured in RAW format, or high res jpg, but using an export, or Send To > Mail Recipient may have scaled it down \$\endgroup\$ Oct 22, 2015 at 16:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ah, OK, editing to cover that possibility. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Oct 22, 2015 at 18:22

You cannot increase the actual resolution of an existing image. There is fixed amount of information in the image, and when you increase the pixel dimensions (resize up) you're just spreading that information out and not actually increasing resolution.

Having said that, there are ways fake increased resolution. One technique I've used is to

  1. increase the pixel size slightly, maybe 10% or so
  2. then sharpen ever so slightly (an amount of sharpening on the verge of not being noticeable).

Repeat these steps over and over. You might be able to increase the size of the image and have it still look decent, but you might not, it depends on the image and it depends on the units of enlarging and sharpening. It might begin to look oversharpened, in which case you should start over and use smaller amounts of sharpening at every step.

There's also software that uses some high-tech magic to fake increased resolution, like Alien Skin Blow Up.


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