There are three aspects of an image that help determine its quality - file size, image size, and DPI. You can check all three of these items by opening up the image on your computer; seen below through Preview on a Mac. Here’s the lowdown:
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 18mb to be uploaded to our site. See a video on how to resize files at the bottom of this article.
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.
DPI stands for dots per inch - the number of pixels present in each inch of a photo. The higher the DPI, the clearer the printed image, the lower the DPI, the more pixelated and blurry the image will print.
There is no way to change the DPI of an image. If you increase the number of dots per inch, you decrease the length and width of the image.
Our editor is designed to give a low resolution warning when the DPI of an image is 72 or less at the size chosen for print. For example, the image with the specs shown below 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 resize my files to be less than 18mb each?