My friend Shannon called me, she said she was photographing her sister's band. She would be photographing with a Canon Rebel T1i. "Is this camera good enough" she asked me? Uhhhhh Yes! I started my business with a Canon rebel T1i! With the stock lens! Shannon's main concern was could these photos be enlarged? Here are some basic guidelines on that subject.
The Canon Rebel T1i has 15.1 megapixels. What is a megapixel? A megapixel is an amount of individual digital dots of color it takes to build the image on a screen. For example - a 15 megapixel image would have 15 million of those dots of color. I don't want to get super technical here but that is more than enough for your prints. To break it down - all you need is 5 megapixels to print a great 8x10 print, so yes Shannon - I think you are good with your 15 megapixel Canon T1i!!
Another important aspect is the resolution of the photo. On your computer, you can hover over your photo and a pop up box will give you the pixel dimensions of your photo. Once you know the dimensions of your file, you can figure out how big it can go. For example if you want an 8x10 print, your full resolution dimensions should be around 2000x3000. How you plan to display your image is also important. If your image is only 2000×3000 pixels but you still want a 16×24 to use on a large wall space, do it!! It's not likely that anyone who comes into your house will be examine your photo up close and counting pixels! It will look just fine.
The lab you use will also make a difference. Labs use different quality of paper, different quality of printers. The old adage rings true that you get what you pay for.
None of this matters if you don't 'take' a good photo. If it's out of focus or too dark, you won't get a good print no matter what camera or lab you are using. One of my biggest challenge is being still when I'm shooting. Because of my clumsy nature, I don't have great balance. So I stand with my feet spread apart and literally hold my breath when I snap. I can see the difference in the quality of my photos when I start having fun and just snapping one after another. My photos lose that sharpness we all want. I have learned that I can't shoot with my 70x200 lens without a tripod. It's too heavy for me so I can't hold it still.
Hope these super basic tips help you!