High Resolution vs. Low Res

Hopefully this post will explain to you and educate you about the differences between high res vs. low res digital files. In all of my work, whether it’s for weddings, portraits, or commercial food photography, I always provide the high resolution files (if purchased) along with the low resolution versions for your convenience.

goffstown NH october foliage

High Resolution (for print)

This is used for print. For print only. Literally, only if you are having this photo printed on something physical like paper.  The high resolution files are enormous, in the range of 5760 x 3840 pixels. That’s enormous. And a good thing! The files that come out of the Canon 5D Mark III (and Mark II) are huge and there is no reason whatsoever to use those files for anything other than printing. Because the printing process requires as many pixels as it can possibly get, resulting in a fine quality print.  So if you are uploading your Erika Follansbee Photography images to something like mpix.com (or worse–Shutterfly) be sure you are using the high resolution files.

This is not the appropriate version to upload to Facebook, or to use on your website.

Low Resolution (for screen)

Here’s where people get confused. I think people mistakenly think that low resolution = low quality. It’s NOT true. Simply put, the screen you are currently viewing cannot possibly use or display alllllll of the pixels involved in a high-resolution, 3-6MB each, photograph. It’s TOO BIG. Computer screens, smart phone screens, allbenefit from using a high quality yet low pixel version of a photograph (and by low, I mean comparatively speaking with the full-res files that come out of today’s professional cameras).

For your convenience, I resize each photo into a manageable size that your web browser can deal with. A low res photo is loosely defined as anything below 1000 pixels on the longest side. (all of the wide horizontal photos you see on this blog are 900 pixels wide, usually).   So yes, it does remove many of the pixel dimensions but it does not reduce the quality of the image itself. In fact, due to the sharpening that I apply to low resolution photos, the overall quality is much BETTER.

If you’re posting on Facebook, your blog, sending email, or posting onto any website, you’ll want to use the spiffy sharpened low-resolution web-sized files provided.  Most of the beautiful images you see that I post on Facebook myself are 640 pixels on the longest side.

Keep it Simple

So that’s really all there is to it. When I provide you with a folder called “High Resolution for Print,” that is what you use when you’re ordering prints.  If you want to post your photos on anything that has a screen, you would use the photos in the folder called “Low Resolution for Web.”