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Best Photo Quality For Your Next Print Or Web Project

By Kim Adams

Not all photos are equal. Depending on the quality of your image it can make or break your project. This is not about a photo’s content but about the file itself.

For graphic and print design, all photos need to be in a high quality format to look crisp, clean and professional when it is printed out. Web sites do not benefit from that same format. In fact, high quality photos can make things worse.

Photos For Graphic And Print Design

High quality print format photos are usually in 4 color, CMYK, at least 300 dots per inch (dpi) and in TIFF format. These are optimum settings for most print projects. It is always a good idea to check in with your printer to make sure. The file size for these photos are normally very large, ranging in the multiple MBs, and can take a long time to download when transferred by email or Internet.

Photos For Web Design

Photos for web design are easier. They only require 72 dots per inch (dpi) and are RGB instead of CMYK. This significantly reduces their file size without causing a loss of photo quality when viewed on a monitor or tablet. The smaller file size is very important for screen load time of your site.

Preparing Photos For A Web Site

There are three different file types that a web site will accept: JPG, PNG, or GIF. Each of these file types are used for certain applications on a web site. JPG will be the one you will use the most for photos as it gives a good balance of photo quality and file size.

Troubleshooting Photo Quality

If you save your photo and it looks pixelated on your web site it could be the quality of your JPG. When saving a JPG notice the Quality slider, usually found to the right of the Save for Web feature in Adobe Photoshop. A quality of 20 will give you a small file size but a more pixelated poor quality look to the photo. A quality of 60 or higher will give you a larger final file size but a crisper photo for your site.

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