All of your hard work is about to come to fruition and you couldn’t be more excited! You have tallied up 15 grueling hours over the course of 3 weeks putting a photo book together for your parent’s upcoming Anniversary. You are finally ready to send it off to print. Over 60 old photos have been scanned into your computer and collaged into a masterful display of sentimental beauty and grace… or so you thought. As the finished book is placed in your hand you notice that something has gone terribly wrong. You have got to be kidding me! Every photo that seemed to look fine on your computer screen now looks like a grainy, out-of-focus mess with each turn of the page. Maybe this story sounds familiar to you? If so, I can greatly empathize with you.

A lesson in file resolution, like the example above, is one of the toughest to endure for a novice or DIY designer. As in the scenario above, this person most likely scanned their photos at a resolution that is much too low to use for print. I always found it cruel that the industry leader in handling raster artwork, Adobe Photoshop, would set their default resolution window to 72 dots per inch (dpi). An experienced designer knows that working in 72 dpi will give you one option for its application and that is for screen only. If you want to print that 72 dpi masterpiece, you’re going to have to start again from square one… Ouch!

A few tips concerning file resolution for DIY Designers/Photographers…

1. If you ever have intentions of printing a raster (i.e. Photoshop) image or design, make sure that the resolution you are working at is 300 dpi at 100% scale. If you create/capture/scan your image and blow it up to 200% or more, you can also expect to see a loss of quality on the printed page.

2. Always have your digital camera set to High Quality because you never know if you are going to use those pictures at a larger scale or for a print project. There is always a chance that you may capture that perfect shot and you never want to be limited by low resolution! *** You can always pull the resolution back on a photo to make a smaller file but you cannot successfully add digital information to an image that never had it there in the first place. Does this make sense? ***

3. Only use Low Quality settings or 72 dpi – 100 dpi on images or creative projects that you know are only going to be used on screen and will not be enlarged or printed. Just Beware!

The constraints of file resolution can be a real thorn in your side without the proper knowledge and experience. It may seem like a mundane detail but it could make all of the difference in the world as to the success of your projects.

If you would like to learn more or have further interest in the creative process give us a call at 630-442-1926 or e-mail Check our website periodically to learn about our latest programs.