I wanted to print a 16-by-24 inch color print of a finely detailed Milky Way photo through Xpozer. This was the first time I had printed such a detailed photo. Most people do not use printing or calibration software. Therefore, for this article, I decided to keep it simple and easy.

General preparation

Prints don’t always need to be 300 dpi (dots per inch). Xpozer specified that it wanted a minimum of 80 dpi. I prepped the photo by making sure that it was at least 80 dpi (dots per inch), which it was. This can be done by just about any software by checking the image size and resolution.

Brightening

I feel like every time I go to print a night photo, I need to prep it so it’s approximately 20% brighter than what it appears like on my computer monitor. So that’s what I did. This is something to bear in mind for any photo that has darker shadows. Printing so often comes out darker than anticipated unless you are experienced at printing or have special calibration software.

Above, I used Adobe Camera Raw to increase the exposure while dropping the highlights, so I would not blow out the Milky Way highlights too much.

Having my photo checked

I noticed that XPozer checks photos for free. I was curious about printing such a dark photo, so I decided to try this.

I filled out the above form. A day later, I received a friendly email. The person said that everything was fine but that I might want to make it “slightly brighter.”

The scientific definition for “slightly brighter” is 5.6708952% more (just kidding). I increased it by .30 on my slider — almost a third of a stop — using the same method as above. Then I sent it off for printing.

The print arrives

Several days later, the print arrived in a well-packaged triangular package. The print was vivid and detailed and wonderfully free of noise or artifacts.

I hung it in place of another photo. Xpozer gives you a screw and anchor. However the photo, including the frame, is so unbelievably light that I didn’t feel I needed to do that. I simply reused the nail that was already in the wall.