You're right, Buehlz, on the quality settings, however even on highest quality the image size being 1600 x 1200 if you look at the dpi in PhotoShop, or any program that will show you the dpi, you'll most likely see 72 dpi, unless it was a scanned image with the scanner set to 300 dpi, for example.
So, I convert to 200 or 300 dpi, bring the image size in Inches to what I want, for instance, 5x7, then send to the printer.
If you print the pixel size instead of the print size, then the image is huge and quite distorted.
We quite possibly are talking about the same thing, but differently.
There's Pixel size (number across by number down), and number of dots per sq inch (pixel density, resolution). You could have a large pixel size, but small dpi, spread thinly when printed out, thus the need to convert it to 300 dpi with software capable of doing that.
When I convert to 300 dpi and leave it at 5x7 inches, it prints nicely and is 5x7. However, if I publish it on the Web or view it on the computer monitor in pixel size, I would either need to bring the dpi down to, say, 72, or leave it 300 dpi and change pixel size to something much smaller, such as 600 x 429. Then, as a pring, it's TINY (2x1.43"), but as a screen shot, it's plenty large enough.
72 dpi, pixel size of 504x360 = image size of 5x7 inches.
300 dpi makes it 2100 x 1500 dpi, image size of 5x7. See how the density, or resolution, improves? The physical image is the same, but the Web view would be outrageous and look fuzzy. But, in "print view" with the software program, such as PhotoShop, it looks great and prints great. If you have it set up like that but the software can't display it in print size, and sends it to the printer in pixel size, it will be huge and look blurry.
Making sense? It would be easier to show you than to say it in words. Basically, it boils down to having your camera on best quality, your software capable of converting to 200 or 300 dpi, and your printer capable of printing a much higher quality than the photo image is.