Many of you have probably heard the terms “high resolution” and “low resolution”. If you’ve worked with designers or photographers, and have ever sent anything to a printer, you may actually know what they mean. However, there is a real need to understand the difference between the two, and why they’re important.
The resolution of an image or photo means how much information or detail the image holds. The higher the resolution of an image, the more detail picture it will display because it contains more information. This information translates to “pixels,” which are the different colored “dots” that make up an image. DPI stands for “dots per inch” and helps determine the sharpness or detail of image will be.
This is why when we design for print, we always asked that photos be AT LEAST 300 DPI. Just because it looks great on your computer screen does NOT mean it is good enough for print. Dragging or copying and pasting an image from facebook or the internet will most likely not produce a useable image for print. This is because images that you see on computers are only saved at 72 DPI. Below is an example of what a 300DPI image would look like printed, next to a 72DPI printed image.
There are certain ways to tell for sure if your image is safe to use for print.
1. Check the file size. If the file of the image is smaller than 1MB, chances are it is not high resolution. However, like every rule there are exceptions.
2. Check the image in Windows. (7 or 8)
•Right click the image file
• Select “properties” from the menu
• Select the “details” tab and scroll down to where it says “horizontal resolution” and “vertical resolution” this will tell you what the DPI of the image is. But again, there are exceptions to how an image can be re-sized based on the dimensions in pixels.
3. Check the image on a Mac.
• Open the image in preview
• Click on “tools” and scroll down to “show inspector”
• Click on “show inspector” this is where you can find out how many pixels the image is, as well as its size
If you’re ever unsure that your images are high res, just ask your printer or designer to check them. They will be more than happy to let you know whether or not your images are suitable for print. And since there are some exceptions to the rules we’ve listed above, it’s always a good idea to check!