How can I find high-quality photos that can be turned into prints?
September 6, 2017 1:32 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for some photos that I can turn into prints to hang on my apartment walls. I'm assuming that they would have to be .tiffs. Is there a reputable company that is into this kind of thing? I'm mostly interested in photographs, especially random travel or slice of life photographs, but I've got an open mind. I would buy prints myself, but they're expensive!
posted by Fister Roboto to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Unsplash has high-resolution do-whatever-you-want-with-them photos. If you're looking for poster-size or larger prints, these may be too small.
posted by brentajones at 1:39 PM on September 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

An increasing number of museums and other cultural institutions are making high-resolution images of objects in their collections available as open collections, with few or no restrictions on how they are used.

The Flickr Commons also has a wealth of photographs that are out of copyright, according to their institutional owners, or to which the creator has voluntarily relinquished rights.
posted by brianogilvie at 1:50 PM on September 6, 2017

I'm confused - do you mean you want other people's photos to turn into prints? Or you want your own photos turned into prints? If it's the latter, I can't vouch for them, but Framebridge advertises on a lot of podcasts I listen to and they say they can turn your Instagram photos into high-quality prints.

If you just want photos, on Flickr, there are many people who upload very high-quality photos rights free. I think you *might* even be able to search by the copyright the user has chosen but don't quote me on that. Anything on Instagram seems to be free for public use too.
posted by AppleTurnover at 1:51 PM on September 6, 2017

The library of congress has an immense number of public domain tiffs you can download. You have to sort through a bit to find good ones.
posted by OmieWise at 2:13 PM on September 6, 2017

500pix has a great community of photographers who upload high-rez photos.

They do not have to be .tiffs. They can be high-rez .jpgs, PDFs, or .psd files.

However, I think you will find that unless you have free access to a large format printer, or are just printing on your home setup, that commercially / mass produced prints will almost always be cheaper than a comparable product purchased as a one-off.
posted by ananci at 2:13 PM on September 6, 2017

Everywhere I have made larger prints has worked well - Costco, Walgreens, various online shops. The largest are ... about 60x30. I just used my own photos from a decent Nikon but not DLSR camera.
posted by RoadScholar at 2:16 PM on September 6, 2017

Jenny's Print Shop has some of these.
posted by lakeroon at 3:13 PM on September 6, 2017

I'm pretty sure you could purchase images you like from a stock photo site like Shutterstock or Fotolia or iStockPhoto and then get it printed where needed. Caution - the print shop may want to see proof that you've purchased the image (for copyright reasons).

You can also find lots of random great photos on Wikimedia Commons - just check the license. Some are public domain, some are not. Oh, also search 'Public Domain' photos to find other photos you can use.

Determine roughly what size poster you want to print, and contact the print shop to see what size/resolution they recommend. Not all photos on all sites will have large enough versions. For example, iStock's largest photos are usually labeled XL, but not all photos are available in XL. Taking a look at a random photo on iStock, the XL version is 13"x10" at 300 dpi. You might be able to get away with printing a poster at 150dpi, which would allow you to print at 26"x20". But maybe your print shop recommends 200dpi...
posted by hydra77 at 3:45 PM on September 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Similar to Unsplash - Pexels
posted by pyro979 at 3:56 PM on September 6, 2017

Find a large format collection you like in a coffee table book and slice and frame? Used bookstores have these volumes in surplus.
posted by Freedomboy at 4:01 PM on September 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Google images can be filtered by size. Images->Tools->Larger Than-> 70 Megapixels.
posted by at at 10:39 PM on September 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Flickr contains millions of high resolution images, and unless the photographer disables it you can download any of them at full resolution.

You can also search for Creative Commons licensed images, or those subject to other generous licenses. Searching by camera type is also possible. You will find that photos taken on cameras like Canon's 5D series and Fuji's X100 series are often very attractive.

I have made plenty of 18" by 12" prints from Flickr JPG files and they look great as long as the original camera was high resolution.
posted by sindark at 6:49 PM on September 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

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