Confused by ‘high resolution’ and ‘low resolution’ terms for your photographs? It’s easier to remember if you know how you are going to use your images.

The highest resolution photographs are required for printed matter – magazines, leaflets, pamphlets, etc. High quality images that you can send to publishers are imperative as their quality impacts on the magazine or journal as well as your personal brand. Generally, if you’re using a photo for printed matter, it is best to send a ‘high resolution’ jpeg image file, say 3000 pixels on the longest side. This way, the publishers can size it to the space they have for the photograph – whether it is only an inch or two across one column or it is needed to fill a whole page. 3000 pixels sounds big (it is) but virtually all modern digital cameras and even phone cameras will produce images larger than this.

By contrast, a photo required for social media or other digital media can be ‘low resolution’ – around 1024 pixels on the photograph’s longest side, and frequently only 400 pixels. That’s because the resolution of the device you are viewing photographs on is relatively low (compared to published printed matter) A typical smart phone for example is around 400 pixels wide and a tablet around 800 pixels wide. So an image that is 400 pixels on its long side will fill the screen of a smart phone and take half the area of a tablet, when viewed at its largest. Virtually all the devices however change the size of the image to fit the screen, so this is not really a true reflection of the way images get seen on these types of technology.


These photographs are both sized at 150 pixels square. One is the full image, the other is a detail from the same image. The detail represents the size of the original photo, if it had been loaded to the full size (3200 pixels square). It is always better to have a high resolution photograph that you can then adapt for digital use, rather than a low resolution image you want for printed matter.

Buying a professional business portrait session from me gives you the flexibility to have your photos in both sizes. I provide all photographs at 3000 pixels on the long side; large enough to have them printed up to 10inches/254mm at standard print resolutions. I also duplicate the image set and provide them at 960 pixels or 1024 pixels, so they are optimised for large digital use. That means my clients can effectively use the photos immediately with the minimum of effort. If other sizes are required, I will size images to suit a client’s needs.