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You Want to Enlarge It How Much?! Resolution & Image Dimensions Explained

Posted by Martha DiMeo on August 8th, 2012 | No Comments

Most discussions about image evaluation usually starts with two questions. “How big is the file?” and “What size do you plan on using it in the layout?”

Photographs are now coming from a variety of sources. Any given project could include photos from microstock sites, traditional stock agencies, free sources, or a commissioned photo shoot. With the variety of sources it is no longer a given that the file provided will meet the technical requirements for your reproduction needs.

First Things First

The first task when receiving an image file is to check the size and resolution.
Often times photos are provided with the pixels per inch (ppi) setting at 180 or 72 ppi. That’s not an issue if the plan is to use the image on a website. But if the image is for a printed piece, you need to check the image dimensions with the resolution set to 300 ppi.

How To:

In Photoshop go to the Image Menu> Image Size.

As you see in this example the dimension of the photo is 20 x 29 inches @ 72 dpi. Which–if taking note of only the size and not the resolution–you could mistakenly think the photo is more than big enough for your needs.

Uncheck “Resample Image” and change the Resolution setting to 300 dpi. As you can see, the dimension is now 5 x 7 inches.

Valuable Information Before You Start Designing

A 5 x 7 photo could be perfectly fine depending on your ideas for the design. If you were planning on using the photo for a double-page spread, you now know this file is to small.

Before basing your layout on the selected image–and going through rounds of approval etc.–check with the image provider about the availability of a larger file. If available, you are golden. If a bigger file is not available, you saved yourself a lot of aggravation and the time, expense, and effort of a re-design.


© Martha DiMeo 2012


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