Why dpi is Important when Printing Your Photos
on a Color Printer
Page 1 | Page 2
What You Need To Get High Quality Prints of Your Photos
You've probably already printed many photo's on your home printer and
not thought much about it. But have you really taken a close look
at the photos after you printed them out? If you will be printing
your photos in a document that will be reproduced or on photo quality
paper, you need to achieve a High Quality Print
of your photos.
To get a High Quality Print of your photos,
you need three things.
- A good photo
With today's digital cameras, this is very easy. You can get an
inexpensive digital camera (less than $200), set it on automatic
and without knowing anything about shutter speed, light balance,
aperture size or ISO settings, you can click the shutter and end
up with a picture looks like it was taken by a professional.
- A printer capable of printing at least
This is also easy to accomplish. Most printers that
are advertised for printing photographs (photo printers) will print
at least 1200 dpi or better. The more expensive ones will
print at much higher resolutions than this, but for about $100 you
can get a good printer that will do a good job.
- A Photo with enough Resolution to fulfill
your printout Requirements
To know the answer to this third requirement, you need to
- Print out size of the photo\
What size do you want the photo
to print out on the page?
- Printing dpi
How high of a print dpi do you
want the photo to have?
- Total pixels in your
Does your photo have enough pixels of
resolution to fulfill your printing requirement?
Each of these three items is covered below.
Print Size, dpi and Pixels Will Determine Photo Print Quality
1. What Size do you want the Photo
to Print out on the Page?
Number One is very simple. The size is up to you and will depend
on how you layout your page.
For an example, let's use a
6" x 4" rectangle on an 8½"
x 11" document page.
Depending on what Word Processor, Desktop
Publishing Program or Photo Printing Program you are using, there are
different ways to specify the print out size of your photograph.
You might do it by creating a box into which you insert the photo in
your document, or by adjusting the size of the photo after it appears
in your document, or you might have to adjust the size of the photo
(resample) in a photo editing program, before you insert it into your
document. You will have to become familiar with the particular
program that you use so you can specify the print out size of photographs.
2. How high of
a print dpi do you want the photo to have?
Number Two is also easy. Most of the time you
will want your photo to print at a good dpi quality.
dpi stands for Dots Per Inch.
This is how many dots of ink your printer will squeeze into one inch
on your paper. The more dots you have per inch, the better will
be the quality of the printed image.
Professional printing companies have the ability to print at resolutions
much higher than what you can on a home color printer, although home
color printers continue to improve and you can get some great looking
results with an inexpensive machine. Most home color printers
that are advertised for printing photographs (photo printers) will print
at least 1200 dpi or better. If you have a color printer that
is several years old, then it might only be capable of printing at 300
or 600 dpi.
As a general rule, when printing photographs
on a color printer, use the following guideline:
- 300 dpi = Good Quality
- 200 dpi = OK Quality
- 100 dpi = Low Quality
If you have a color printer that can print higher than 300 dpi, you
might be wondering, "Why wouldn't I want to
print my photos at 600, 1200, or even 2400 dpi?" The answer
is that in most cases, the print quality of a
photo will not be limited by your color printer, but by the number
of Pixels your photo.
dpi means that a 1" by 1" square printed on paper will contain 300 dots
of ink horizontally and 300 dots of ink vertically. Using tiny
dots of ink is how most home color printers print images and text.
They squirt very small dots of ink onto the page using cartridges filled
with different colors of ink. The color of the dot might be made
from a single color from one cartridge or it might be a mixture of colors
from two or three cartridges.
A typical color printer will have four colors
of ink: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. So the color of
a dot of ink in your photograph could vary on the grayscale from white
(which would be no ink), to gray to black, using the black ink cartridge.
Or it could be made up of a mixture of the Cyan, Magenta and Yellow
colors. These three colors can create any other color.
- See Color Systems to find out more about
how color works and how it is created by mixing colors.
Once you have decided on the print size of
the photo on your page
and the dpi print quality , you can
then check to see if your photo has enough PIXELS to get
the job done. We will do this on the next page.
Go to Page 2 to see if your
Photo has enough Pixels of Resolution to fulfill your
Page 1 | Page 2