Resizing photos for the best results

Written on the 4 September 2012

Large digital photos make great posters or flyers but are difficult to email or use on the web. What can you do to make sure your photo is the correct size for print, emails and websites so you get the best results?

Digital photos are made up of thousands at times, millions of pixels (picture elements). Pixels are the smallest controllable elements of a graphic image. As a general rule of thumb, the higher the number of pixels (i.e. 600x800 versus 150x120), the better the quality of the image.

Where will the picture be used?

Print: The higher the resolution, the less pixelation. Aim for 300 pixels per inch (or dpi). Photos should not be overly enlarged. Try to use the original size and quality of the photo for printing.
Email: Photos need to be small enough to be emailed but big enough to be viewed on a computer monitor.  A resolution of 72dpi is sufficient, and a file below 300KB in size is best.
Website: Digital images intended for web use or email attachments are usually around 150x250 pixels for thumbnails, or 600x800 for full images.

Resizing your image

1. Open your photo software, for example, Photoshop or InDesign (Photo. Click on File then Open.
2. Find the photo on your hard drive (usually in Documents in My Pictures). Double click on the photo you require.
3. Click on Save As, rename the photo, then Save.
4. Click on the Crop Tool symbol on your toolbar then click on the top left corner of your picture that you want to resize. Drag the square across the image until the area is highlighted. Click on Image and then Crop.
5. Click on Image then Resize then Image Size.
a. For email, the longest side of your image should be between 1 or 3 inches. Reduce resolution from 150 to 75 pixels per inch.
b. For web, change the size according to what youre using the image for (thumbnail, whole screen, etc.)
c. For print, keep the size as close to the original as possible.
6. Click on View and then Actual Pixels to see what the end result will be. Click on Edit and Step Backwards to make any changes. If youre happy, Save then Close.
7. Find your image in the directory and hover your mouse over it to see the dimensions and file size.

For more advice on how to resize photos for any of your design, print or website needs, contact our experts at Snap.


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