Digital Photography Tips

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Use the highest resolution on your digital camera.

If there is any chance you may want to print your image in the future, you will be disappointed if your camera was set at a low pixel resolution. You cannot "blow up" a small image into a large, print-quality photo without losing pixel quality. When it comes to digital image quality, you are better safe than sorry. We recommend that you always use the highest resolution on your digital camera. Buy a larger memory card if necessary (e.g. 1 GB). It will be worth the money. Although your large master images may be too unwieldy for PowerPoint, Email, or the web, you can generate a smaller copy if necessary.

Pixel Dimensions Related to Print Size


Pixels Megapixels Max Print Size at 300dpi (Inches)
640 x 480 .3 1.6 x 2.1 (good for web, email, and powerpoint only)
1024 x 768 .8 2.6 x 3.4
1280 x 960 1.2 3.2 x 4.3
*1600 x 1200 1.9 ~ 2 4 x 5.3
2048 x 1536 3.1 5 x 6.8
2272 x 1704 3.9 ~ 4 5.7 x 7.6
2304 x 1728 3.9 ~ 4 5.8 x 7.7
2560 x 1920 4.9 ~ 5 6.4 x 8.5
2592 x 1944 5.0 6.5 x 8.6
3072 x 2048 6.3 6.8 x 10.2

*We recommend that you shoot photos at 1600 x 1200 or larger.

Not sure what your camera is capable of? Not sure how to choose a high-resolution setting? Send us an email telling us the make and model of your equipment. Also, send a sample image (unmodified), and we'll give you some individual feedback about the camera you are using.

Store a digital master.

We recommend that you download or convert your raw, pristine, unaltered digital photos as TIFFs whenever possible (depending on storage space). You may also want to make a low-resolution JPEG copy of your digital master for Email, PowerPoint, and the Web.

Note: If you never intend to alter a digital photo, there is no harm in storing it perpetually as a JPEG. However, keep this in mind - saving a change to a JPEG will degrade the image. Multiple saved changes to a JPEG will progressively degrade the image.

Prevent quality degradation when altering an image.

If you are unable to use a JPEG "as is" and need to make any kind of change (e.g. crop, adjust color, resize, etc.), we recommend that you first convert the original JPEG to a TIFF master. You can then alter your image and save the changes to a JPEG or TIFF copy. Do not save any changes to your original JPEG. Also, do not save any changes to your master TIFF unless you are satisfied that you never need to undo the change.