Today I am going to talk about how large or small you need to take your image for different printing purposes. Depending upon what you want to do with a photograph, you can set your camera to shoot the image at different sizes. For professional photographers, this comes naturally but for beginners, it can be a bit confusing. To simplify things, we are going to lay out how large an image needs to be to get a good print. If you are going to use your image for:
Website or email: Image should be 640 x 480
Business card: Image should be 1024 x 768
4 x 6 print: Image should be 1800 x 1200 (2 mega pixels)
5 x 7 print: Image should be 2100 x 1500 (3 mega pixels)
8 x 10 print: Image should be 2400 x 3000 (7 mega pixels)
11 x 14 plus print: Image should be 3300 x 4200 (largest possible setting)
These are some basic guidelines that you should follow to get a beautiful quality print. When you go to the menu options on your camera you should easily find the settings for image resolution.
There is another option to consider when setting your camera for the appropriate output size. There are several options for the file format but for this tip, we will discuss two file types, tiff and jpeg.
TIFF: This file format is uncompressed. Choosing TIFF means that you’re always assured of getting all the image quality captured and processed by the camera. But TIFF files can be quite large, which means that only a few will fit onto a memory card. They can also take a while to be written to the card, which, with some cameras, means it might be a few seconds before you can take another picture.
JPEG: This file format is compressed, which means that the picture information is squeezed to a smaller size before it’s stored on the memory card. Though this compression does not alter the photo’s resolution, it does come at the expense of a slight loss of detail and clarity in the photo. Typically, a camera will offer several JPEG settings, each offering progressively more compression (which translates into being able to store more photos on the memory card), with a commensurate drop in image quality.
If you are wanting more detail and a better quality photograph, purchase extra memory cards and shoot on the tiff setting. If all you are wanting to do is put your images on the internet or print small prints, jpeg will be just fine.
So next time you go out to take pictures, consider the ultimate output of the image. Take a few minutes and make sure that your camera settings are appropriate for the type of shoot you are doing. Remember also, you can always shrink your images once you get them home. You cannot however enlarge the image once it has been shot on a lower resolution. So, if you are unsure of what you will be doing with your photographs, always shoot larger resolution and tiff format, that way you can’t make a mistake.