As I wondered what topic we should tackle in this month's blog post, my mind drifted back to a recent conversation I had with a customer who asked me one of the most common question we get, "Is my photo good enough for print?". Given that we answer this question pretty regularly, I figured, why not turn it into a blog post so that anyone out that who had a pressing question on this topic could get their answers!
So here goes! Whether you are looking to print a photobook, photo album, canvas print or any other printed product, these are some important things you need to know.
Make Sure You Use The Highest Resolution:
One of the first things we look out for when determining if is photo is suitable for print, is to look out for its resolution which tells us the level of detail in the image.
For that we use a common measure known as DPI short for dots per inch. The more dots printed per inch, the more details will be captured in the image, and hence the higher the resolution will be.
Here is an example of a 75 dpi image to the left and a 300 dpi image to the right:
A general rule that most printers, adhere to is the higher the better, but after some point your human eye cannot really discern the difference.
So what is the magic number? 300 dpi is our recommended resolution to print at. Which is why we will advise our clients if any of their photos are beyond this tolerated margin.
How can you figure out for yourself what the DPI is for your images? Follow these simple steps:
Right click on the image of interest and go to image properties.
Select details and look for an attribute called "Dimensions" - it should say 3000 pixels x 6000 pixels or some other numbers.
Divide the numbers by 300 each, and that will get you the ideal size of print for that image.
In this example, 3000 divided by 300 will give me 10 inches and 6000 divided by 300 will give me 20 inches, so this particular image is suitable to print up to a size of 10 x 20 inches. More than sufficient for most albums, photobooks and even canvas prints that we offer.
Always make sure your photographer sends across the highest resolution image they have!
Look Out For Blurriness & Graininess:
When viewing your images on your small mobile phone or laptop screen, it may be easy to overlook details that could be more obvious to your eye in print.
Some details that people tend to miss out when viewing them in online galleries include:
Blurry photos - Tends to occur more in photos that are capturing motion, group shots or those with children.
Photos that do not have focus in the right place - This is quite common resulting in an image where your faces (or the focal point of the image) are not as sharp as other parts of the image (and not intentionally so).
Graininess - This is common with photos that are taken in low light conditions. To help the picture look brighter, post-production processes could result in graininess in the photos.
Any of the above details tend to be more obvious when in print, so do make sure you check through your images before submitting them for print beforehand.
How to check? Zoom in on your images at least 200% and go to the important details to make sure they are all sharp, in focus and not grainy.
For example, in the following image, it is clear the focus is on the person on the right (who looks sharper) compared to the friend on the left (who looks blurry and out of focus).
To be clear there is nothing objectively good or bad about what is in focus and what isn't. Sometimes it is just a particular photography style. But if you see your image, and the things that should be in focus is not, then perhaps you want to reconsider using that image for print.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez
If an image is facing any of the above image quality issues, try to look for an alternative image instead.
Images Look Brighter On Screen:
A common misconception of printed images is that they will look exactly the same way they do on screen!
Unfortunately because most of us view our images on a brightly back-lit computer screen, photos will look a lot brighter and colors more vibrant on screen as compared to in print where there is no light source behind the paper for the same effect.
A tip that we share with our customers is to view their images at 40 - 50% brightness to get a better sense of how the print will turn out on matte paper types.
Alternatively, opt for semi-glossy or glossy paper types for a brighter and more vibrant finish.
For images that are heavy with shadows or taken in low light conditions, we highly recommend to adjust the images suitably for print.
Thank you for reading through our suggestions on how to ensure you select the best photos for print!
If you would like to create a photo keepsake with the photos you have taken and would like to learn more about our bespoke photo keepsakes (albums, photobooks and canvases), please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at email@example.com or Whatsapp and we will be more than happy to speak with you.
We are looking forward to creating a one of a kind keepsake for you!