We talk about high-res JPEG images a lot in PR but it isn’t always clear what is meant by high-resolution images. Many people have a big question mark around the term high-res, so we have put together a simple guide to understand what a high-res image is and why we need them for PR.
So first things first, the resolution of an image is all to do with how it looks when it is printed or used in a blog. A blurry image is low-resolution and one that is crisp and smooth is normally high-resolution. Whether you are using images for print, blogs or social media, a crisp image is the look you should be going for to show a quality image.
So to find out what makes an image blurry or crisp we need to go back to the building blocks of an image… pixels.
What is a pixel anyway?
Fun fact – Did you know that a pixel is the shortened way of saying ‘Picture Element’?
It is the smallest element of an image. An image is made up of lots of these elements, or pixels. Basically, the more pixels you have in an image, the better quality the image will be. A good quality image is crisp and a poor quality image is pixelated. You can see the clear difference in this example:
Simply put, the more pixels the better the image. Each pixel is a square in a grid and is made up of a different colour. The key measure of an image is how many of these little pixels you can cram into the space. The more pixels in a space, the less pixelated it is.
Below you can see a great illustration from Wikipedia of how the same image might appear at different pixel resolutions:
The important factor is what size the image is printed in – so the bigger the image, if you maintain the pixels, the more pixelated it will look as the pixels are made bigger to fill the image.
Some people think that by increasing the size of the image you will get a better resolution – which is not right as it just becomes more pixelated. Resolution is measured in how many pixels there are in a space – and the dimension is always given in inches. So dots per inch (DPI) or pixels per inch (PPI) when referring to a digital image.
Calculating the resolution of an image
An image’s resolution is the number of pixels per inch in the image – so either:
The number of pixels wide / the inches wide or the number of pixels high/ the inches wide.
The end result is a number of dots per inch – or DPI.
PPI or DPI – same but different
PPI is pixels per inch which is the density/number of pixels per inch – so this gives the digital resolution of the photograph. DPI is the printed output of dots per inch so gives the printed resolution. Most people (including Press Loft) use the PPI to calculate the DPI as the PPI determines the quality of the output. For print, resolutions can get complicated and depend on the printer’s own resolution.
Try it out
Have a play – you can see your own screen at different resolutions to test the difference.
Go to your Display Settings and choose the lowest resolution you can find – basically the smallest numbers. Can you spot the difference?
Print vs Digital
Digital images need to be 72dpi or above. Most bloggers we talk to prefer to use high-res to maintain crisp images. At Press Loft we try to only offer high-resolution images for both online and print as our network has told us they prefer to have high-resolution (300dpi) images.
How big should my images be?
We say the minimum size for an image on a page should be 3cm x 3cm – but that would mean if a journalist wanted to use us on a full page or front cover they would not be able to use your images. The bigger the better really, this then gives the journalists a chance to choose what size they wish to use in their feature.
Resampling an image
Resampling an image to make it higher resolution basically adds lots of pixels to the image by generating them and guessing the colours. As computers are not great at guessing what the images should look like, the end result is still a low quality image when printed and can be frustrating to the journalists!
So we have covered what a high-resolution image is, the basic building blocks of images – the pixels and what journalists typically look for. Following these rules is important for getting your products in the press and maintaining a good reputation with journalists and bloggers.
What is Press Loft?
Press Loft www.pressloft.com is a PR platform specialising in the home, gift and lifestyle sectors that helps thousands of brands to get their products into the press.
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