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image size for internet use

Megan Stone , Jun 04, 2010; 08:04 a.m.

im a portrait photographer, and my clients get the final portrait of them, enlarged on A3+ paper, and framed. nothing more. im often having clients asking for a digital version to send to friends on email or put up on their facebook and the likes. I have decided that I dont mind providing them with that, but want to make sure it's at a size that can only be used for that. Not at a resolution where they can get quality prints. so would a 4*6inch image size at 70dpi be a good setting? please advice.

again, need it so that its a good size for email and facebook, but bad quality prints if they do try.
thank you


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Martin Howard , Jun 04, 2010; 08:29 a.m.

To avoid confusion you should think in terms of number of pixels when resizing images for the web.
Facebook supports a maximum image size of 720 x 720 pixels, so assuming your shots are 3:2 aspect ratio then resizing them to 720 x 480 should do the trick. You could probably still get an OK 6"x4" print from this, but that's about all.
Note facebook recently increased the upload size to 720 from 604 pixels, there is nothing to stop you using a smaller image size of course.

Megan Stone , Jun 04, 2010; 08:34 a.m.

thank you martin, if i want to go one notch down still to avoid a decent 4*6 print but still have something ok for internet viewing, what would you suggest?

Megan Stone , Jun 04, 2010; 08:36 a.m.

i shoot with my nikon d700

Martin Howard , Jun 04, 2010; 08:51 a.m.

Generally 180dpi is considered the acceptable minimum for a good quality print, this would mean that a 6"x4" print would need to be around 1080 x 720 pixels, this is obviously higher than the 720 x 480 I stated earlier, however it is not an exact science as different printers will impact the end result as well as people expectations of quality - (I would not be that satisfied with a 180 dpi print!)
Personally I would be happy sending them at 600 x 400.

Megan Stone , Jun 04, 2010; 09:04 a.m.

thank you martin, very helpful of you. will give it a try and do a test print.
so do i only punch in the pixels? no need for ppi?

Matt Laur , Jun 04, 2010; 09:37 a.m.

The ppi value has absolutely nothing to do with how many pixels are actually there. It can be a useful value for certain printing-related topics, but when it comes to on-screen display of images, actual pixels-wide by pixels-tall real dimensions are all that matter. A 600 x 400 pixel JPG file is still a 600 x 400 pixel file whether it's stamped in the file header as being 10 ppi or 10,000 ppi. So, yes: work in terms of final pixel dimensions. And don't forget to include the EXIF/IPTC data you want seen to help leave a trail, showing who created the image.

Megan Stone , Jun 04, 2010; 09:45 a.m.

thank you matt. where do i put the EXIF/IPTC date? this is new to me, what do you mean? please explain. much thanks.
im thinking of adding a copyright symbol with my name along the border of the image, will create a white border and have that info there.

but please do explain the EXIF. much thanks

Robert Johnston , Jun 04, 2010; 10:26 a.m.

PPI _does_ make a difference. If you give them a 600x pixel file, and make it 300 Pixels Per Inch, they can make a very good print. For best understanding, make a file that size, and print it. PPI is the same as RESOLUTION and the higher the PPI, the larger the print they can make. If they know what they are doing, they can even change PPI from 72 to 300 PPI and make a better print. The lower you make the resolution, the less likely it is they can make a good print. . .
Fool around with the PPI and file size of 600-700 pixels wide to see what quality print you want to send. Some even would do a 600 high, by as few as 52 PPI to make sure a good print cant be made.
Because people normally think of printing in DOTS Per Inch, they dont think that PPI counts when printing. But, a file that is high in PPI, makes a LARGER file even if the length x width is limited to 600 pixels. Thus, a 300 PPI file can make a much sharper original. They can as an example change it to a to a 1200x and get a larger print.
Then when printing it, set the printer to 600 or 1200 DOTS per inch and get a good image.... Larger DPI in printing, also means a better quality print. I never print at less than 1200 DPI, and sometimes on canvas print at 2400 DPI.....

Megan Stone , Jun 04, 2010; 10:35 a.m.

thank you robert. so do you say a 600*400 image at 70dpi will do the trick?

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