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How to Change Resolution in Photoshop (Easy Step by Step)

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Do you want to print a photo but the resolution is too low? You can use Adobe Photoshop can change image resolution.

I’ll show you what to look out for and how to increase the resolution of an image in five easy steps.

Laptop with Adobe Photoshop icon
Photo by Matan Segev from Pexels

What Is Image Resolution?

Resolution is the number of pixels in dimensions of height and width.

For example, the manual of my camera says that the resolution is 8256 x 6192 (W x H) pixels. That means the total amount of pixels is 8256 x 6192 = 51,121,152.
Divide that number by one million. The result is the number of megapixels the camera has. In my case that’s 51MP.

It also describes the resolution. More pixels in an image mean higher resolution. This is because pixel information is denser.
Higher resolution gives you more detail, and more detail means you can print larger. The result will be smooth, continuous tones and colour transitions.

Black and white photo of a camera taking photo of a skyscraper

How to Increase the Image Resolution in Photoshop

It is easy to increase the image resolution in Photoshop, but there are limits.
It all depends on the amount of detail in the image and the purpose of it. It takes some practice and trial and error to know how far you can go.

Step 1: Image Size

Go to Image > Image Size… to open the Image Size window.
You can also use the shortcut Opt + Cmd + I (Alt + I for Windows).
A screenshot showing how to select image size in Adobe Photoshop A screenshot showing how to adjust image size in Adobe Photoshop

Step 2: Increase Image Size

There are a few options to increase resolution of your image. First, you can pick one of the presets based on standard paper and print sizes.
Use the ‘Fit To‘ drop-down menu to pick a preset.
A screenshot showing how to increase image size in PhotoshopUsually, it’s better to set the amount yourself. If doing so, make sure to select the ‘Do not constrain aspect ratio‘ icon.

Now, if you increase the Width, the Height will increase automatically. Photoshop keeps the aspect ratio of the original image.

Type the number of pixels you want in the Height or Width box.
A screenshot showing how to increase width and height of image in Photoshop

Step 3: Resolution

This box sets the number of pixels per inch (PPI). Everybody says this number has to be 300 to print the image, but that’s not exactly true.

An image measuring 3000 x 2000 pixels set at 300 PPI will print exactly the same as 3000 x 2000 at 72 PPI. The difference will only be visible on the screen. The 72 PPI image will appear larger on a screen than the 300 PPI image. So, you can just leave this number as it is.

Step 4: Pick a Resampling Mode

The resampling mode decides which algorithm Photoshop will use to add new pixels. There are two good options for increasing the resolution: Preserve Details and Bicubic Smoother.

I find that Bicubic Smoother gets the best results. You can try both the see the difference.
A screenshot showing how to preserve details (enlargement) of image in Photoshop Here’s a comparison of all the resampling modes.
A screenshot comparing resampling modes of the same image in Photoshop Tick the Resample box and select a resample mode that works for you.
A screenshot showing how to increase image size in Photoshop

Step 5: Sharpen

It’s always a good idea to sharpen after you increase image resolution.

Go to Filter > Sharpen and select Unsharp Mask.
A screenshot showing how to select unsharp mask in Photoshop Drag the Amount slider to 100% and the Radius to 1.0. That’s a good setting to start with when enlarging an image.
A screenshot showing how to adjust the amount slider to change resolution in Photoshop You can add more or less sharpening if the result doesn’t look right.

Conclusion

Photoshop does a good job of increasing the resolution of an image, but there are limits.

The quality and size of your starting image will decide if you’ll get good results. For example, a picture with a resolution of 100 x 100 pixels can’t be resized to 3000 x 3000 pixels and look good. That’s just too much to ask.

It also depends on the purpose of the image. Do you need a high image quality gallery print or a banner to hang against the wall? An image for a banner doesn’t need a super high resolution to look good. Always ask the printing studio what minimum resolution they need.

It’s always best to start with a good image that doesn’t need much editing. Try out our Photography for Beginners course to learn how to take high-quality images every time!

Why not check out our posts on different photo file types or learn all about DPI vs PPI next!

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1 comment
  1. This helped me a lot! It was awesome to read. IMO, upsampling should be avoided to prevent image destruction, but when we want to increase the resolution of an image we need to disable the Resample option.

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