Guide to Image Resolution

When you’re dealing with digital images, it’s good to know what image resolution is and what it has to do with your files. Especially if you plan on sharing your photos online and/or printing them! I wrote this post to help you understand the basics of digital photo resolution and what it means for you.

What is image resolution?

Image resolution helps determine the quality of your printed digital photos or photos displayed on digital devices. The more pixels per inch, the crisper the picture.

If you zoom in far enough you’ll see that your image is like a mosaic formed by small tiles, which in photography are called pixels.

Pixels per inch is also known as ppi or dpi (dots per inch).

Here’s an example of how resolution affects image quality:

Why does the top image look so much sharper than the bottom one? Because the top, high-resolution image contains many more pixels per square inch than the bottom, low-resolution image.

An image that’s 4″x6″ and contains 300 pixels per inch will mean that the actual pixels are smaller than the same 4″x6″ image with only 72 pixels per inch- the pixels are larger in that case.

So why would you ever want low-resolution images?

Low-resolution images are better for displaying on digital devices and on the web. They are much smaller, optimized files that load quickly and (typically) display better than high-resolution ones.

Most email servers and social media apps will optimize your image files for you by compressing them into smaller, more manageable files. This helps them save space on their servers. If you try to upload a high-resolution image that requires a lot of compression to manage it, the quality will be greatly reduced.

It’s best to use photos that are already optimized for digital display when posting online and emailing them. 72 dpi is the standard resolution for web-sized photos.

Printing your photos

If you plan to print your photos, high-resolution is the way to go! For best picture quality, you’ll require 240 to 300 ppi. 240 ppi or higher is referred to as “high-resolution” or “print sized”.

Michigan elopement in the woods

I believe you need both

When I deliver your photos, you’ll be able to download them all in BOTH low-resolution and high-resolution, so you’ll have both web and print optimized files! That way you don’t have to worry about resizing them or anything to be sure you have the best quality. It’s just one of the ways I want to make your life a lot easier!

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