All files and images must have a minimum of 300 dpi resolution to print sharp, high quality images. Images on the web are often created at a low resolution of 72 dpi which is ideal on websites to make it run faster and on your computer screen but it is NOT ideal for print.
DPI = Dots Per Inch. A higher DPI means a higher image resolution and better image quality and also larger file sizes.
Image printed at 72dpi
PRINTS FUZZY / BLURRY
(Good for web, not for print)
Image printed at 300dpi
(Good for print)
Zoom in 300% to see the printed resolution.
Can you change my low-resolution picture into a high resolution picture?
We CAN make a high-resolution picture into a low-resolution picture, but we CANNOT make a low-resolution picture into high-resolution picture. If your file is lower than 300 dpi, you can make your picture smaller, which will increase the resolution (dots per inch) or buy, find, or take a picture with higher resolution. If you stretch a low resolution file to a bigger size, it will become even lower resolution, less dpi, and print as a blurry or fuzzy image.
This concept is similar to tailoring clothes. You can cut and hem pants to make it shorter, but you cannot tailor your pants to make it longer than it already is because it simply does not have enough fabric.
How do I get a high-resolution picture?
3 ways to get high resolution pictures
- Take a picture on your own camera or phone camera
- Purchase a high resolution stock image on online photo galleries like www.ingimage.com, www.istockphoto.com, www.fotolia.com
- Search for a high-resolution picture on the web (most are low-res)
Most pictures on the web are low resolution (72dpi) to allow websites to run faster, so if you save a picture from the web, you have to make sure it's a bigger size or higher resolution or you can also filter the search for size. Do not use copyrighted images because that will have negative legal consequences.
- Go to images.google.com and enter in what you are trying to search
- On the results page, click "Search Tools" button and then "Size" dropdown menu.
- Under size, you can usually choose "Medium" or "Large" or "Larger than..." The bigger the image is on the print piece, the bigger the image should be to maintain a high resolution that looks nice for print.
The number that the file size should be larger than = (how large you want the picture to print) x 300 dpi
Ex: If I want the image to fully cover a 4x6 postcard, then I want my picture to be at least
= (4" x 300dpi) x (6" x 300dpi)
= 1200 x 1800 is the file size of an image stretched fully across a 4x6 postcard