The Small Pictures Guide

You might think the big picture is the star of the show when it comes to photo mosaics, but it's actually the small pictures that are the real stars of the show. It's the memories. Every time you walk by it, and glance at the small pictures, it jogs up all kinds of memories. This is what makes it fun, and what makes you look at the mosaic over and over. The big picture, with no disrespect, is just a very cool bonus after a while, or a theme that ties it all together.

We have so many wonderful memories stored on our phones, yet we rarely look at them. And we can't just print all of these photos and hang all of them on the wall, as that would look like a big mess. But a photo mosaic lets you do just that, all while creating a beautiful big picture that you love.

This guide covers the following topics:

  1. Why "How many do I need?" is a bad question
  2. What's the maximum number of photos?
  3. Creative ways to get more photos
  4. Remove Duplicates
  5. Look through all the photos
  6. Handling bad photos
  7. Easter Eggs in your mosaic
  8. And Getting Help

Why "How many do I need?" is a bad question

This is the single most asked question, yet it is possibly the least important question you could ask. The simple and best answer is "as many as possible", but people who ask this question are usually not satisfied by this answer. They're looking for a number they can go off of, but it would be a huge disservice to them if we just gave them a random number, because you can make a great, wonderful mosaic, that make people cry with very few photos, while you can make a meaningless, terrible-looking mosaic with thousands of photos. It's not about the number of photos. There are so many other more important things.

For example, the complexity of the big picture is has a huge impact on whether you need 100 photos, or 1,000 photos. And how well the colors of the small pictures match the colors of the big picture also has a huge impact. If you have a big picture with a red background, and you have 1,000 photos but none of them are red, then that's not going to look better than a mosaic that has 100 photos, but are mostly all red.

Another example, how large you plan to print it, and the mosaic dimension, have a huge impact on whether you need 100 photos, or 1,000 photos. If you're going to print a post card, then you can't even fit in 1,000 photos. But if you're printing a wall sized mural, then 1,000 photos might not be enough to make every single photo unique.

And lastly, your idea of a good mosaic is different from another person's idea of a good mosaic. Some people don't want any colorization, and actually like it when they can barely tell what the actual big picture is. This is what appeals to them. While some people want to see the big picture as clearly as possible, and this appeals to them. While some people don't want any duplicates in their mosaic, while some people don't mind duplicates as long as the big picture looks good. So it ultimately comes down to your preference, so if you ask "how many photos do I need?" and we just pulled a random number like 100, then you might only use 100 photos when you actualy have 1,000 photos and could have used all 1,000 to get a better result. And if you only have 50 photos, you might not even try it, even though you might have been able to create something amazing with just 50 photos with the help of little colorization. So the best answer is "use as many as possible."

What's the maximum number of photos?

The opposite end of the spectrum from people who ask what's the minimum are the people asking what's the maximum? And this is a good question, and technically, there is no maximum, but not all photos will be used if your mosaic dimension (how many tiles there are horizontally and vertically) that you set has less tiles than the number of your photos. For example, you can make a mosaic with 10 x 10 mosaic dimension, so that there are 100 tiles. You can add 1,000 photos to this mosaic, but it will only be able to show 100 photos because the 10 x 10 mosaic dimension only has 100 tiles. If you were to set the mosaic dimension to 100 x 100, you'd have 10,000 tiles, and if you added 100,000 photos, only 10,000 out of your 100,000 photos would be used in your mosaic.

Now, it also depends on the print size. If you set the mosaic dimension to 100 x 100, so you have 10,000 tiles, and you added 10,000 photos so that every photo is unique, but you print it 10 x 10 inches, then the size of your small pictures are going to be too small to see at just 0.1 x 0.1 inches. So your mosaic will just look like a blurry image. So if you have thousands of photos, and you want to use all of those photos, then you also need to print it large.

Creative ways to add more photos

Some people simply don't have enough photos. It could be that they're not the photographer of the family, or that there's only a fixed number of students in a class. But here are some ways to get more photos when you think you don't have enough photos.

  1. Take more pictures if possible
  2. Scrape social media
  3. Collaborate with other family members, and have them add their photos
  4. Ask your students to draw pictures
  5. Ask them to send you their favorite photos, and tell them a white lie if you want to keep it a surprise, like you're backing it up, or that it's for a secret mission etc.
  6. Add some photos of their favorite people, things, flowers, sports teams, pets, etc.

Remove Duplicates

Mosaically will duplicate photos as necessary, but the algorithm tries its best to keep these duplicates away from each other to make sure you don't see duplicates right next to each other. But if you add the same exact photo multiple times, our algorithm will think those are different photos, and may end up putting them right next to each other. This can be distracting, so you should make sure to upload each photo only once, but if you did happen to upload the same photos multiple times accidentally, scroll down on your mosaic page, and under the section To-Do's to perfect your mosaic, click Remove Duplicate Photos. This will show you photos that we think may be duplicates. Check for duplicates, and delete duplicates.

Look through all the photos

The mosaic can be in any aspect ratio you want, but the small pictures are always squares. This is because square small pictures look the best and most natural. So Mosaically automatically crops all the small pictures into a square. It will detect faces, and try to crop it in a way that does not cut out people, but if you have many people in the small picture, and they're at the opposite ends of the picture, then you may end up with small pictures where some people are cut off. This is why you should scroll through all the photos to make sure that all the auto crops looks good to you, and if it doesn't, crop it manually by clicking Crop/Enhance above the picture.

Handling Bad Photos

Bad photos are photos that stick out like a sore thumb when looking at the mosaic. There are actually two types of bad photos. First type are photos that have really strong colors. For example, if you have a small picture that is bright red, but you don't have any red areas in your big picture, then this red photo is going to stick out. You can remove this photo, or desaturate it (make it less red, or even black & white). The second type of bad photos are photos that don't really need to be in the mosaic. A common example of this is photos of food, objects, or screenshots. Many people have photos of food on their phone, and these have made their way into their mosaic, but they don't really care for these photos. But they see it many times in their mosaic, and it really doesn't add any value to the mosaic. These photos should be removed.

Try moving the slider

Left: Before removing bad photos

Right: After removing bad photos

Easter Eggs in your mosaic

One of the most interesting ways to take your mosaic to the next level is to is to place specific photos in specific spots. For example, some people put their favorite photos into the eyes or the heart of a person in the big picture. This could be their child, their pet, or their favorite thing, and it's a really cool way to make your mosaic even more interesting and meaningful. Some people also write their name, and the date of the mosaic, and then put that in as one of the small pictures to credit themselves of the artwork they created.

Get assistance!

Tell us about your occasion, and who it's for, and your relationship with them, and we can bounce off ideas as to how you can get more small pictures for your mosaic. We can also see if any small photos stick out to us as being "bad". Just ask us by clicking Chat Now at the bottom right corner of our site, and we'll take a look.

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