Thursday, February 7, 2013

Picture Pixel Pointers for Photo Gifts

photo giftsWhen printing photo gifts, quality relies heavily on the quality of the photo.  Poor quality photos lead to poor quality gifts and unhappy customers.  One important factor is the size of the photo.  I would always read about Pixels, Resolution and DPI and even though I used to be an avid photographer in my younger years, I never really took the time to find out what those terms meant.  So I have done some research and this is what I found.

Digital images are not measured in inches, but in Pixels , which is actually short for Picture Elements.  Pixels are tiny dots, usually square,that are put together like tiny pieces of a puzzle to  make up a photo. The resolution of a photo is its measurements (width x height) in Pixels. DPI means Dots Per Inch, but from what I gather, it doesn't really mean much except in certain special printing circumstances and for the most part can be ignored.  Its the Pixels that really count.

When printing a photo as the image is enlarged the pixels, or dots, get spread thinner throughout the photo, so when they don’t fit tightly together, you start to see their edges and spaces between and the photo looks grainy or blurry.  Ideally you want the resolution of the photo to be 2.5 times the size of the photo times 100, so if you want a good quality 4 x 6 inch print, the photo should measure a minimum of 1000 x 1500 pixels.  Keep in mind, if a photo is cropped and stretched back to its original size, you have lost some pixels and therefore reduced its resolution.

The resolution of a photo cannot be increased after it is taken.  Check your camera settings and set the image size accordingly.  Larger images take up more space and allow you to store fewer pictures on your camera, but if you plan on doing any printing, it will save disappointment later.  Keep in mind there are other factors besides resolution that affect print quality.  Lighting, camera quality, steadiness, proper camera settings, etc are elements that will contribute, good or bad to the quality of a print.

Below I’ve made a chart of some of our photo products and the recommended dimensions your photo should be in pixels.  To determine the number of pixels your photo has, on your computer, right click the image file and a window will pop up, click “Properties”, another window will pop up.  At the top click details and scroll down to the dimensions in pixels.  

Custom Wedding Photo FlagPlease remember , if you think a photo may have to be cropped to give it its best presentation, the resolution may need to be a little higher than recommended.

Recommended Resolution in Pixels
5x7 plaque
1250 X 1750
8 x 10 plaque
2000 X 2500
2000 X 2250
Keychain –square or round
500 X 500
Custom Flags- will vary by flag
2500 X  2500 Minimum
Puzzle Coaster
1900 x 1900
Photo Puzzle Coaster