Big, Bold Photo Prints on the Cheap

I don’t usually subscribe to the motto that bigger is better, but when it comes to photo prints, I’m going to have to agree–bigger is way better.  The only problem is that large prints are quite pricey.  That is why I was so excited when I learned that you can purchase engineering prints (a.k.a. blueprints) at Staples.  A 36″ by 48″ print is only $7.29! There are a few limitations though. Black & white is the only option and the quality of the prints is not always flawless, but for $7.29, it is well worth the tradeoff, so we decided to give it a try.  Joey suggested that we use photos that already had flaws so that the lower quality seemed purposeful.  With that in mind, we searched the Library of Congress’ flikr for anything that caught our eye.  We ended up using two photos from the Library of Congress and one photo from deviantART.  They were all public domain, so we didn’t have to worry about copyright issues.   I should note that because the photos were so small, Joey had to do some Photoshop magic to improve the resolution for large scale prints–sometimes I am awfully glad that he is a graphic designer. It makes my life a lot easier.

The photo at the top of this post is by far our favorite.  It was taken in 1911 and shows a hydrogen balloon lifting off the roof of a building in NYC.  It is currently hanging in our bedroom.

The other photo we chose from the Library of Congress was of a crowd gathering for James Edward Sullivan’s funeral in the early 1900s.  Although that might seem like a slighly depressing pick, the photo is so interesting that we couldn’t pass it up.   Sometimes I get very caught up examining all of the details.

The third photo that we printed is of a cassette tape.  It is hanging in our office/craft/music room. The reason we choose this image is because Joey thought it would be interesting to take a photo of a small object and enlarge it.  I have to agree with him that it does look pretty cool.

Pretty neat, right? If you are curious about what we used to mount the photos, it is actually a funny story.  There is a fashion photographer that lives in our building, and he was giving away his photos for free.  Anytime there is something free, Joey can’t pass it up.  So when he saw the photos, he snatched them up and brought them to our condo.  Only problem is, the photos were of scantily clad women.   To Joey’s credit, they were mounted on very nice photo boards.   I agreed that we could keep the the photo boards, but we had to recover them with better photos.  Thus the idea of this project was born.

Oh and one last thing, because we luuuurrrvee our readers, we are giving away free downloads of the optimized photos.  Click on the links below to start the download.

3 Comments on Big, Bold Photo Prints on the Cheap

  1. Kay
    January 22, 2014 at 1:33 am (7 years ago)

    I just wanted to say thank you for providing the improved versions of these photos. I’m absolutely in awe of the hydrogen balloon.

    • Kathryn
      January 23, 2014 at 8:28 pm (7 years ago)

      I’m so glad you like them.


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  1. […] large photo on the wall is from one of my diy projects.  It’s an old photo from the Library of Congress that was enlarged and printed on […]

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