What can I do with a cell phone photo?

I have a wonderful photo, that someone, unfortunately, shot with a cell phone.

It’s a one off, and a great picture, but I can’t hardly print it, without any alteration and have it come out without looking slightly pixelly.

So, any suggestions? I’d love to make a print or improve the photo quality in any way whatsoever.
What can I do?

Email it to yourself? Text message it? Does the phone have a removable memory card you can transfer it to, then take it out and transfer it to a computer? If the phone has bluetooth capability, you can transfer it via that to a computer with a bluetooth adapter.

What’s the resolution, like 640x480? There’s a plugin for Photoshop called Noise Ninja that can clean up the noisy pixels, which does help improve the appearance in general. But it’ll still get blocky as you enlarge it, and the best you can do is find a blur setting that strikes a balance between pixelated and unrecognizable.

(apologies in advance if this sounds too snarky, but) Isn’t this a question to ask before getting a phone that has a camera?

(My phone does not have a camera, and part of the reason is that I hardly ever find myself saying, “Oh, that would be a great picture even on a tiny cellphone camera! I wish I had one!”)

It’s very difficult to add data to an image once it’s been taken. The best you can easily do is clean the image (Noise Ninja may not help much if the problem isn’t noise), run it through PhotoShop or any other image processing program to sharpen, crop, and color correct, and print it small.

You can use programs to increase resolution by interpolating pixels between the existing ones, but they work best with a good image to start with. If your image is already muddy it’s going to make a mess.

Make a very small print. Put it a locket.

Yeah, I didn’t take it and don’t have a phone.

But I can get access through a social networking site.

It’s such a lovely photo, I’d just love a print, but when I try it doesn’t come out great.

What about printing it smaller will that help?

Basically, it hides the flaws in the photo. If the problem is that things look pixelated, you don’t have enough pixels for an image of that size and printing it smaller is the only solution. If your problem is the image is out of focus, noisy, or taken with a crappy camera phone then printing smaller will hide much of that.

Things on screen are 72 DPI. Print usually requires between 200 and 300 DPI to look good. That’s why pictures that look OK on your monitor won’t print at a similar size and still look good.

Sites like Facebook will often shrink images that have been uploaded to save space and time, losing even more quality. You should try to get the original sent to you straight from the phone if possible.

Depending on the subject and arrangment, it might be suitable for rasterbation

I don’t think it’s that kind of picture, but who knows…

I took an awesome photo of my dog with my shitty Razr phone, in bad light. I ran it through a Photoshop filter called Crosshatch and it turned out great!

Pixelating it further with an artistic filter seems to really help phone photos.

Wow! It looks like a children’s book illustration.

Make sure you do this.

What type of phone?

As above, if the pic is on a social networking site it is very likely reduced down from the original. So it will be worth trying to chase the original. Phone cameras are never very wonderful, but modern ones are better than the older ones, and it isn’t impossible that the original resolution is significantly better than the version you have. (Phone cameras come in anything from 680x480 - which is pretty dreaful, all the way up to 5 mega pixels - which is vastly exceeds the resolution of the cruddy optics the camera usually has.)

You will need to get the owner of the phone to download the photo to a computer and email it to you, and ensure that they don’t resize it from the original. MMS will also cause it to be resized.

Even if the resolution isn’t much changed, each times an image gets munged in format conversion or resizing, it significantly degrades the quality. Always try for the original.

I’m not disputing this at all. I’ve seen plenty of photos on my own screen that printed awful. But I’m trying to understand WHY this is so. A 1/72 inch dot is a 1/72 inch dot. Why would it look fine on a screen but pixelated on paper? Does it have something do to with the brightness of the screen or the shape of the dot?