You know the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” So what does a low quality photo say?
I’m not just talking about a bad picture with someone photobombing in the back, I’m talking about a low resolution photo that only looks clear when it’s a tiny thumbnail; when blown up to fit on a poster, becomes more like those pixelated images in a minecraft games.
In the design world we tend to use professional graphics from stock photo sites that specialize in high quality or high resolution images. We can find just about any type of photo for a campaign, newsletter or annual report but what we cannot find are photos that have that personal touch involving actual members, staff and your business locations. Many times photos are taken at events or meetings for display in a newsletter or annual report, but sadly the photos are not print-worthy. Meaning they are not of a high resolution. Of course most of these photos are great for digital placement – like Facebook or a website. Online graphics have a lower standard and they can be smaller file sizes and lower quality resolution, and look good. However if you’ve ever tried to print a photo off of a website or social media site, you’ll know that they don’t always turn out well.
Here are a few things you can do to make sure that you have print-ready photos that capture your events and highlight your actual members, clients and staff:
1. First, check your camera settings
Have your camera or phone camera set on the highest resolution possible when taking your photos. Yes, it takes up more memory on your camera or phone so you will need to download your photos more often to free up space.
2. To zoom or not to zoom?
There are several ways you can lose resolution so one thing you need to avoid is the zoom button. The zoom function on a phone is not an optical but a digital zoom. So zooming and cropping on your phone is the exact same thing, except with zooming you are going to end up with a smaller photo with less pixels. So instead of using the zoom feature on your phone, get closer to your subject. Or rely on zooming in when editing on your computer.
3. Busy backgrounds
Lessen the background images, or noise, so there are less distractions. If your taking staff photos, have your employee stand in front of a blank wall or a branded backdrop. If you are having an event than invest in a nice step-and-repeat or backdrop, create a space where your members or clients can have fun and the photos instantly showcase your brand.
Make sure you have enough lighting. Photo saturation can be adjusted and the color can be balanced but if a photo is too dark then there is very little we can do to lighten it up and still have it look vibrant and eye catching. Natural light is most always preferable to florescent office lights.
5. You’ve taken the photo, now what?
Don’t email or text your photos from your phone unless you can guarantee that it will send the photo in its original size; many times it downsizes the photo in order to send it faster. Your phone might have taken a photo that was originally 5MB and 300 dpi but when sending via email it downsized it to 500KB and 72 dpi. To be on the safe side, connect your camera or phone into your computer through a usb port and actually move the photos from your device to a folder on your computer. This way you insure that the photo stays intact.