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  • Ashley Cooke

Photo File Size - How will you use your photographs? 

Updated: Jan 13, 2022

New Braunfels - Bulverde - Boerne - Blanco – Professional Photography Advice

Small - Medium – Large

Bigger may not be better, or maybe it is....

File size matters, but why?

Knowing how you intended to use your photographs is key. When you know the final purpose of your images, it will help determine what file type and size you need to start with. If your purpose is to create a billboard with your image, I’ll need to know that before photo day to capture files large enough to handle such a large output. Conversely, if you need images for web display only, I will capture your images accordingly. To determine the best way for me to photograph your session I will ask some simple questions during our consultation to get an idea of how I can serve you best.

Are you going to be using your images for web viewing only (blog posts, social accounts, website)?

Will you be printing your photos for brochures, or business cards?

Will this image be on a billboard or sign?

Are you planning to decorate your storefront with beautiful imagery to attract customers?

Will you be creating products with your images (mugs, announcements, calendar, poster, etc.)?

Whether you are printing your images for a frame, photo wall collage, or gift it is important to know what file size you will need. I have had experience with clients who had opted for a small file size and then create a product that is less than pleasing to the eye and they were super bummed. So, I’m here to help avoid that mistake!! I have laid out the basic jpg file sizes and their best use so you’ll be well on your way to creating kick-ass products with your portraits.

Low - Medium - High Resolution Explained

Low Resolution Files (Small)

  • This file size is good for creating (what I like to call) gift size prints: 4x6 and 5x7

  • Good for web display (social media, website, blog post)

Medium Resolution Files (Medium)

  • This files size is good for creating display size images: 8x10 and 11x14 prints

  • Okay for web display but can make loading a tad slower.

High Resolution Files (Large)

  • Good for printing wall size photos for display: 16x20 and larger.

  • This file size is not good for web display because of the long load time each image would need.

  • This is the largest file size I give to clients (however, it wouldn’t create a billboard...that’s something extra-large and extra-special)

I have been asked by clients in the past “can I just have the unedited image?” Well yes you can, but you probably won’t even be able to open it, much less use it. An educated photographer will be shooting in a file format that must go through an initial editing process with the right software to be able to view the image. This RAW filetype ensures that I capture every bit of detail and color available to create the best possible image. One of the many reasons to hire a professional so you can be sure you end up with a quality product you can be proud of.

I whole-heartedly believe using personal photos to decorate the walls of your home or office can lift our overall spirit and well-being. Not only that, having personalized art for your home with you and your loved one as the subject will always be an “in” way to decorate.

No one has ever had regretted printing family photos!

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