What Is a High Resolution Photo?

Resolution is basically the amount of detail that a digital image holds. Resolution is a somewhat difficult concept to understand because it varies depending on the final output size. Therefore, a photo considered  high resolution in some situations would be considered low resolution in others.

For example a photo intended to be printed at 4×6 inches with pixel dimensions of 1200 pixels x1800 pixels would be considered high resolution (hi-res). However, those same pixel dimensions would be construed as low resolution (low-res) if the final output or print would need to be 8.5 inches by 11 inches.

Example of Low-Res Photo

Low-Res Photo

Example of a Hi-Res Photo

Hi-Res Photo







As a general rule for most purposes whenever a high resolution (hi-res) photo is requested it should be at least 2700 pixels by 1800 pixels or in other words 9 inches by 6 inches at 300 DPI (Dots Per Inch). If your photo is larger than this, that is great! A file can never be too high resolution in terms of print production. Always keep the largest versions of your photo in a safe place in case you need them again in the future.

How Do I Determine a Photo’s Resolution?

Determining whether the photo you have is high resolution or not can be done in 5 easy steps.

Step 1. Open the photo of interest in Windows Photo Viewer.
Step 2. Go to the File Menu and Select Properties
Step 3. Click the Details Tab
Step 4. Under Image look at “Horizontal Resolution” (if it is smaller than 2700 pixels it is Low-Res)
Step 5. Under Image look at “Vertical Resolution” (if it is smaller than 1800 pixels it is Low-Res)

Preview of a Hi-Res photo in Windows Photo Viewer

The circled information in the properties menu of Windows Photo Viewer is what you need to determine an images resolution


Why Do I Need a High Resolution Photo, Can’t I Just Use the Photo I Loaded into Facebook or Somewhere Else on the Internet?

High resolution photos are required for sharp reproduction in print publications. Otherwise the printing quality is very poor. It is our goal to present our client’s inventory in the best light possible. Reproducing a low resolution photo looks unprofessional and can actually make a product or service look ugly or unusable.

How Do I Get a High Resolution Photo in the First Place?

A good professional photographer will usually give you the hi-res photos from the shoot once it is completed and paid for. If for some reason you can’t afford a professional photographer, when taking photos of your product or services you should be using the highest resolution setting on your camera. It is also a good idea to keep the JPEG compression at the highest quality settings. Cameras vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so you will need to refer to your specific camera’s manual to learn how to adjust this.

So Why Would I Ever Want a Low Resolution File?

Low-Res photos typically have a smaller file size than a hi-res photo. Therefore they are favorable anytime you are posting a photo on the internet because a smaller file size results in a faster download. In addition, on-screen viewing does not require the same great amount of resolution that a print publication does even in high definition. This is due to the greater number of lines per inch required to produce something in print verse on screen.

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This entry was posted by Art Director on Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 at 11:24 pm and is filed under Explanation/Tutorial . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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