Confused about photo formats and sizes? You’re not alone. This is probably the subject I get most questions about. In this article I’m going to try to demystify the subject. I hope it will help you, and please excuse me if I am taking coals to Newcastle!
What is the difference between a landscape shape and a portrait shape?
Landscape shapes are wider than they are deep, and portrait shapes are deeper than they are wide.
What is a panorama?
This is a shape that is very wide and very shallow. I may ask you for this format if I am designing your website headers – I don’t like headers that take up the whole of the screen (people may not realise they have to scroll down, and they may leave your site).
Should I send you jpg, png or Photoshop files?
Please send the biggest file size you have, and don’t worry about the format, I will change it in Photoshop to what I need.
How can I tell what size my file is?
If you have a Mac, look in your Finder and click on the file; information about that file will be displayed. This file size is 2.9mb, and its dimensions are 3600 pixels (wide) x 2400 pixels (deep). The width is always shown first. This is a high-resolution file.
If you have a PC, open the folder which contains your image and hover your mouse over it. The file information will be displayed as shown below.
What are ‘low-resolution’ and ‘high-resolution’ files?
A low-resolution file is typically 72 ppi – that is, 72 pixels (little dots) per inch. This is the correct format for your website, blog or internet marketing. The file size will be much smaller than a high-resolution file. On a high-resolution file, the little dots are very fine (300 to an inch, or 300 ppi) and I will need this if your job is to be printed.
How will I know which size to send you?
I will let you know the minimum dimensions of the file I need. For example, if the file should print on an A4 page, it should be about 3500 pixels on its longer side, and about 2600 pixels on its shorter side. Look on your finder to find the information, as described previously.
What is RGB?
RGB stands for Red Green Blue. These are the primary colours of light, and are used for images that you see on screen.
What is CMYK?
CMYK stands for Cyan, Yellow, Magenta and black black is the Key plate in printer’s jargon). These are the 4 colours of ink that are used in the printing process.
This list is not comprehensive, but it should give you enough basic knowledge about photo files for you to deliver the right type of file to your designer.
About the author
Annette Peppis leads the team at Peppis Designworks, a creative hub of established publishing industry experts who create books, branding, marketing material and design templates for leading publishers and businesses. Keep in touch by subscribing to her bi-monthly emails.