It's All About the Image: From your digital camera to our digital printing process.
In an age where "Image is Everything", there is an overflow of services that provide consumers with top quality, high resolution stock photos that can be used to promote your business.
Although digital images might look great on a computer monitor, often the quality is poor when these images are reproduced on an offset printing press.
BargainPrinting.com comes across many clients on a daily basis that followed that path and we have been working with them to educate them about what it takes to get a digital image from an "1-shot" personal camera printed without compromizing quality, although we do not recommend that you follow this path.
To ensure that your photos are print quality, follow these guidelines for selecting a digital camera, choosing the proper settings, and handling image files. Keep in mind that images of conventional film camera properly scanned yield the best quality printed material followed by a "3-shot" professional digital cameras.
Choosing a Digital CameraNewer multi-mega pixel cameras offer high enough resolution to preserve image quality in offset printing for most image sizes (except oversized posters). To take high quality pictures for print, you'll need at least a 2-megapixel camera. A 2-megapixel camera has an image resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels. (By comparison, 35 mm film has an image resolution of about 3600 x 2500.
)Cameras with resolutions of only 1024 x 768 pixels or 1280 x 1024 pixels can be used, but such photos must be printed much smaller than images from higher resolution cameras.
Resolution SettingsSet your camera for the highest resolution possible. Many cameras have settings such as "Standard," "Normal," "High Quality" or "Super High Quality.
" Check your manual to determine the specific resolutions these terms represent. Depending on your camera, the resolution settings could range from 72 dpi to 300 dpi. A 72 dpi image is fine for viewing on a computer monitor; 300 dpi is the resolution required if an image is headed for a printing press.
Another way to understand resolution is in its relationship to image size. If a 72 dpi image is 17.7 x 14.2 inches on your monitor, it will be just 4.3 x 3.4 inches when sized for printing at 300 dpi. So, if you submit a 72 dpi image to use in a publication, the largest size at which it can be printed will be about one-fourth of its original size.
Creative Tip: With digital photography it's important to move in close to your subject. Trying to crop the important feature from an already small image further reduces the usability of the image.
Pre press Tip: Adjust your camera's setting prior to taking the picture, rather than trying to fix it afterwards. The wrong camera settings might result in a large image with very low dpi.
File Type and CompressionAlthough the preferred image type for offset printing is TIF, we can also accept uncompressed JPEG type images.
Avoid saving images as JPEGs if possible. JPEG is a compressed image format. Saving an image as a JPEG reduces the size of the file, which is convenient in terms of storage space. However, compressing also degrades the image. The more times you open a JPEG, make changes, and resave it as a JPEG, the more the image deteriorates. If you must use the JPEG file type, take photos at the highest possible resolution and then do not open your images or manipulate them in any way. Simply copy them to your computer (or a disk or CD) and then forward the files to our prepress department along with your layout files. (If corrections are needed, get them all done at once.)
A TIF file can be edited without losing data. Uncompressed PICT files and EPS files also are acceptable. Certain kinds of graphics cannot be used in the editing, typesetting and graphic design programs used to create files for an offset press. These include PowerPoint, Harvard Graphics, WordPerfect Graphics, Corel Presentation, etc. Never embed graphics in a manuscript file, such as a WordPerfect or Word document.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sophie Charalambous is a Marketing Director at BargainPrinting.com (http://www.bargainprinting.com). BargainPrinting.com (http://www.bargainprinting.com) uses state-of-the-art equipment and an all digital workflow to provide professional quality printing, mailing and design solutions. Located in New York City, BargainPrinting.com (http://www.bargainprinting.com) offers print buyers nationwide competitive prices, fast turnaround and above all Fanatical Customer Service. The proprietary tools and technology on the web store makes ordering easy, fast and rewarding for all customers.