What is a 'high res photo'?

There seems to be some confusion exactly what is meant by a 'high res photo'. When a magazine or newspaper editor asks for a high res you need to know what they mean, so this short article aims to cut through the encyclopaedic waffle and just provide the basic facts.

A photo is measured in pixels, which are small dots. High resolution is universally recognised in print publishing as 300 dots per inch (dpi). So if a photo is 300 pixels (or dots) wide, it is capable of being reproduced in print one inch across.

A one inch picture isn't going to be of much use to an editor so you must provide a photo which an editor is able to use at a reasonable size. That reasonable size is 8 inches. So 8 inches x 300dpi = 2400pixels. So that is how many pixels wide the photo needs to be.

JPEG is the universally accepted format in which to save your photo, having sized it correctly. You need to be careful when you save a JPEG as the algorithm compresses the image. It is important not to over compress it as this will severely degrade image quality. Make sure your software is set to save JPEGS at very high quality and low compression.

As a rough guide, a 2400 pixel (8 inch) wide photo saved with the above settings should result in a file that is between 1 and 2 MB.

(If your picture is an upright image then it should be 2400 pixels tall instead.)

Start with a large original and size it as above. You cannot make a small or low resolution image into a high resolution image.

If in doubt, talk to your photographer or give us a call. We're here to help.