Digital Imaging


You may create printed products using digitized images from a variety of sources. Your designs, photos and images can come from a digital camera, scanner, or the Web. Any image you plan to use must be saved at approximately 300 PPI (Pixels Per Inch) at 100% output size for the very best printing results. In other words, determine the dimensions at which you wish to use your image in print. At that size, your image must be at a resolution of 300 PPI.

For example, at 300 PPI a 1” x 1” logo should be at least 300 x 300 pixels, a 3”x5” photo should be at least 900 x 1500 pixels, and so on. If you use images at a lower resolution than this, the quality of your printed piece will be affected. (See Understanding Resolution for more information)

It’s helpful to know that shrinking an image (inside of Adobe Illustrator for example) will increase its resolution. For example, an image captured at 600 x 900 pixels has 150 PPI at 4”x 6”. But it can be printed at 300 DPI by reducing its dimensions to 2” x 3”. Increasing it more than 5-10% causes a resolution reduction below the recommended 300 PPI and may result in poor image quality.

Images from a Digital Camera

If you wish to use images from a digital camera, before you snap pictures make sure the camera is set at a high enough resolution to result in 300 PPI at the intended photo print size. Most cameras have various settings for resolutions. the highest resolution for your camera depends on how many Megapixels it has.

A photo taken at 1280 x 960 pixels will produce a good quality 4” x 3” image. If you want your printed document to include a larger photo, you’ll need to set your camera’s resolution higher. You cannot increase the resolution of a photo after it is taken, except by reducing its dimensions.

Be careful when cropping a photo after it is taken. Cropping will reduce the number of pixels in the final image. For example, if you had the 1280 x 960 pixel image mentioned above, but cropped it to about half its original size, you’d end up with a 640 x 480 pixel image. So now instead of being able to use it at 4” x 3”, you can only include it at 2” x 1.5”.

Images from a Scanner

Like a digital camera, a scanner must be preset to the proper resolution before image capture. Many scanners default to 150 PPI (or SPI). Set your scanner’s resolution so that it results in 300 PPI at the image’s final print size.

If your resulting scanned image is smaller than the recommended size or has less PPI than you need, you should either re scan your original at a higher resolution, or use a smaller size of the image in your document.

Images from the Web

Images found on the Web are typically at a resolution of 72 PPI. this resolution is much too low for quality printing. In addition, most images on the Web are protected by copyright laws. For these reasons, we do not recommend using images from the Web. However, if you have a low resolution logo or design that you would like to have recreated at high resolution, please contact us.