Do I need high resolution files or low resolution files?

Whether it is portrait photography, food photography or product photography there is always the little matter of post production. Post production can include anything from naming the files to full retouching of image. And when post production is completed you need to decide whether you need the final files in High Resolution or Low Resolution.

Which do you need for your purpose?

The digital file with your photograph can be delivered to you as a HIGH RESOLUTION file or/and a LOW RESOLUTION file.

If you look at the high and low resolution versions on your smartphone or computer screen they will appear virtually identical.

High resolution 300dpi image.                                                                                   Low resolution 72dpi image

High resolution 300dpi image.                                                                                   Low resolution 72dpi image

But if you were to print the high and low resolution files you would see a notable difference.

The high resolution file has much more information than the low resolution file - normal range for high resolution is between 240dpi and 300dpi. DPI is an acronym for Dots Per Inch(square). The high resolution file is used for printing, for magazines, newspapers, brochures, flyers etc. for all quality printing.

The low resolution image has a smaller resolution - normally between 72dpi -100dpi (72 - 100 dots per inch) This is more  than sufficient for viewing on smart phones, computer monitors, tablets etc… And most importantly is an ideal size for web sites and social media. 

The rule is: Use High Resolution files for quality printing. Use Low Resolution files for social media, web sites and viewing on screen

Both high and low resolution images viewed at 100%. Its obvious which one is high resolution.

Both high and low resolution images viewed at 100%. Its obvious which one is high resolution.

Don’t be tempted to use a high resolution images on your web site or social media applications in order to improve quality. It won't help. And they will take much longer to upload and open on your web site and social media apps and will slow everything down.

A professional photographer should be supplying you with either or both resolutions based on your needs. If you do not have software that allows you to resize your photographs then your photographer should be able to assist you here. Also it is very important to file the high and low resolution files in different folders and name them appropriately. This will help prevent any confusion for future use.(The last thing you want into send a low resolution file out for printing or for an advertisement.

As a professional photographer I keep the digital files backed up in my archive and can reissue the files at a later date when requested and in the appropriate resolution for the task in hand.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of photography or digital files feel free to contact me at any stage

Eugene Langan PhotographyStudio Eight, 32 North Brunswick St., Dublin 7. D07 TWX3

e-mail: - tel: 353(0)872597907 - web: