Low resolution photos cannot be enlarged for printing without severe quality loss.
Any photo that is to be printed 12 inches high (I assume you do NOT mean 12 feet!) requires a fairly high resolution setting on your camera. A 6 megapixel setting would be ideal. If you used a 4 or less megapixel setting, this would explain why your photo is looking degraded when stretched to 12".
The general rule of thumb for high quality printing is 300 pixels per inch. That means a file that is 300x300 pixels will print very nicely at 1"x1". Try to print it a lot bigger and it will look terrible. So 12" high translates to 3600 pixels high. Look at your JPG's properties. Is its height anywhere close to 3600 pixels?
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