In my last blog I talked about what resolution is, why it matters, and how to check it. If the resolution is not high enough, there is little you can do without the help of a professional and the appropriate software. But even then, Photoshop can only go so far—it can’t work magic. What the software does is allow you to change the size of the image, to pack more pixels in a smaller space, or to create pixels to fill in, but that is not always optimal. You might be able to slightly adjust sharpness, clarity, contrast, etc, but it all comes down to the way the photo was taken in the first place. If you are not a professional photographer, have no fear…there are steps you can take to ensure that you have high quality images from the start.
How do you ensure high quality original images? There are few things you can do.
Taking your own pictures:
First things first, your camera settings should be set properly. Set the resolution you want to take photos at before taking them. Here’s a handy little chart to help you determine the best resolution settings: http://cameras.about.com/od/photoprintingtips/a/resolution_tabl.htm
Now the resolution is just right! Will you have perfect images? Not necessarily…. even at a high resolution, a printed image may still not be what you expect it to be, because there are so many factors in play, such as:
- The quality of the camera or lens
- Additional settings of the camera
- The lighting
- The skill of the photographer
If you are scanning real photographs into digital images, you have a little bit of control over the outcome. Your scanner needs to be set properly to ensure that you get the best quality possible compared to the original photo. In other words, you want to capture as much information of the original as you can. We already know that the general rule of thumb is that you want printed images to be at least 300 dpi for sufficient quality. So, you can adjust your scanner to scan at 300 dpi, minimally.
You may decide to purchase stock images for particular jobs. Just make sure they are at least 300 dpi! Here are some resources for purchasing stock imagery:
- iStock: http://www.istockphoto.com/
- Shutterstock: http://www.shutterstock.com/
- Deposit Photos: http://depositphotos.com/
- Bigstock: http://www.bigstockphoto.com/
and some free resources too!
- Stockvault: http://www.stockvault.net/
- Freerange: http://freerangestock.com/
- Stock.XCHNG: http://www.sxc.hu/
The bottom line is that the quality of the original image is the most important thing to consider if you plan on printing your images. Don’t assume that they can just be fixed later.
These steps are a great starting point if you are on a budget and feel confident that you can handle images on your own. However, we strongly feel that you, as a business owner, can do yourself a great service by investing in a professional photographer. We can’t stress this enough! You will save yourself a lot of time, money and frustration in the long run.
Image quality is something that we are very particular about. For our Media Vision clients, we take care of it from start to finish, so the details don’t often become part of the discussion. But on the other hand, AdZipadee’s mission is to equip you – the small business owner – with the tools needed to market your business, while allowing you to be in the driver’s seat. We never want to leave you hanging and strive to provide you with as many tools and resources as we can!
I hope you find this guide useful! If you do, please share it!
Written by Kara Tonnesen