Review of PhotoZoom Pro 4: Enhance the Photographs They Give You


Quite often these days, clients will ask a ghostwriter to include photographs or drawings to accompany the text being written. More likely than not, these graphics are supplied by the client. Can you guess what shape they will be in?

In a recent job my client handed me some JPEG graphics that he wanted in the book that we were writing. Alas, they were of very low resolution – 72 dpi (dots per inch), which is standard for screen displays. This means that he probably got them off the Internet and thought they look fine on his screen. And of course they did. But they would look wretched in print, cluttered with and bordered by rough edges commonly referred to as “the jaggies.” For print reproduction, it’s common knowledge that everyone needs a minimum of 300 dpi. It then became my task to enhance these photographs for which no high resolution copy exists. How was I to do that?

It’s situations like that in which PhotoZoom Pro 4 shines. When you load a picture into the program, the picture’s current size and dpi are displayed. You can then change both if you like. For example, if your picture is 4 x 2”, you can change it to 8 x 4”. (The program preserves the aspect proportion.) You can also change the dpi from 72 to 300. As this happens, an animated sequence moves a line down the picture showing the removal of the offending jaggies and the general smoothing out of the image. (It’s actually fun to watch.) But it’s not over then. You can fine tune it. For example, you can select one of four JPEG jaggies-removal presets. “Light” provides a modest removal and “Extreme” provides, well, an extreme removal. Of course, there is a trade-off: the more extreme the removal the blurrier the picture becomes. If you really want to get into the process deeply, you can specify certain levels of sharpness; however, this is getting more into the realm of photo retouching than the casual user requires. Usually the program’s default preset (called “S-Spline Max”) is adequate.

Of course, no program can work miracles. If somebody gives you a tiny thumbnail photograph with 72 dpi and expects you to turn it into a wall poster, there’s only so much you can do. It may come out looking blurry or missing important detail. Trust me, it will never look like the original picture. It is then that you sit the client down and tell them the grim facts of the situation and what expectations she can have. But if you want to solve most of your picture resolution problems, you can’t do much better than PhotoZoom Pro 4.
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Author: Peter Bates

Peter Bates is a writer and photographer living in Florida. He is the administrator of this blog and runs the blog The Bodega Project.

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