There are different aspects of an image that help determine its quality in print - file size and DPI are important numbers to pay attention to for a high quality print. You can check these items and more by opening up the image on your computer, and finding the “image size”.
Here’s what we recommend for the highest quality printed product:
File Type: .jpg or .png
DPI: 300 DPI
Color Profile: sRGB
DPI stands for dots per inch - the number of pixels present in each inch of a photo file. The higher the DPI, the clearer the printed image, the lower the DPI, the more pixelated and blurry the image will print at larger sizes.
We recommend that files be sized to 300 DPI for the highest quality print. Anything below 300 DPI may result in a loss in quality, and sometimes pixelation in the final printed product depending on how large the print is.
Photos from an iPhone/Phone or photos from online sources like Facebook or Instagram are usually 72 DPI, sized for the web rather than printing. An image sized to 72 DPI is great for viewing on a screen, but not as great for printing, and it is a low-res image. Not sure if your images are low-res? Our editor will give you a low-res warning for anything below 150 DPI!
Curious how to change the DPI of your image? Check here: Changing the DPI
This is the size of the entire image file that you are working with, and is typically measured in kilobytes (kb) or megabytes (mb). Typically, the larger the file the higher the other two aspects (image size and DPI), but not always - and the file size alone does not determine how an image will print.
Keep in mind: Images must have a file size less than 25mb to be uploaded to our site.
This is the number of pixels in your chosen image - measured width by height. Pixels are the tiny individual squares of color that make up your image. Typically, images with higher numbers of pixels will print clearer, but not always. An image at 300 DPI with a pixel width of 900 is actually only 3 inches wide. A good rule of measure is to increase the width and height of your image to match the size you are printing while keeping 300 DPI.
A few examples of different image sizes and the correlating width and height:
900 x 1500 pixels at 300 DPI = 3 x 5 inches
3300 x 4300 pixels at 300 DPI = 11 x 14 inches
7200 x 10800 pixels at 300 DPI = 24 x 36 inches
Example: 900 x 1500 pixels at 300 DPI = 3 x 5 inches which means this image size will provide the best print results if your image is printed at 3 x 5 inches. If you choose a larger print size or layout, this image will suffer a loss of quality since it is not properly sized for the print size or layout.
Our editor is designed to give a low resolution warning when the DPI of an image is 150 or less at the size chosen for print. For example, the image with the specs shown above would receive a low resolution warning if printed as a 30x20 large format print, but not if printed as a 5x7 everyday print.
What color mode and color profile should I use?
Although we print in CMYK color mode, we require that images are uploaded in the sRGB color space. If any other color profile is used for uploading (such as Adobe RGB), the printed result may have unpredictable variations in brightness, contrast, or coloring. Find instructions on how to change your color profile here.
Will my photos print dark?
Often, it is necessary to edit for the differences in how images transfer from screen to print since ink on paper does not have the same advantages as a high-res backlit computer screen. Also, since we use an uncoated matte paper, ink absorbs a bit more and thus images that are dark can look even darker in print. One trick you can use to account for the transition from screen to print is to drop your screen brightness down slightly (no less than 50%) and then make any adjustments to brightness or contrast from there to help ensure a bright and clear print.
How do I change my HEIC files to jpg?
Some iPhone images are in the file format .heic. These files are great for saving storage space; however, they are not compatible with our editor. Our editor can only upload .jpg or .png images, so always remember to double-check and convert any files that are in any other format before attempting an upload.
In Preview on Mac, go to File > Export. In the Format section, select JPEG or PNG and hit save.
For Windows Explorer, there are just a few extra steps to take.