• Choosing the right photography for print

    A photo that appears sharp on your phone or computer screen won’t necessarily look as crisp when printed. Here are some tips to make sure photos you select look picture perfect in print.


    For photos to print clearly, 300 dpi (dots per inch) at the dimensions they will appear in print is ideal, but photos must be at least 150 dpi. Most images on websites are 72 dpi. That is why photos you download from the internet probably won’t work in print. When you’re downloading or sending photos from your phone or camera, choose the largest size possible when prompted; the bigger the file size, the higher the resolution.

    Why dimensions matter

    Another consideration is the physical size the photo will appear in print. A two-inch-by-three-inch photo at 300 dpi won’t work if it needs to be six inches by nine inches in print because when you increase the size of a photo, the resolution and therefore the quality of the photo is reduced. Double-check to be sure the photo is no less than 150 dpi when enlarged.


    Photo size in print Image size at 150 dpi Image size at 300 dpi
    2" x 3" 300 x 450 pixels 600 x 900 pixels
    5" x 7" 750 x 1050 pixels 1500 x 2100 pixels
    36" x 24" 5400 x 3600 pixels 10800 x 7200 pixels


    Acceptable formats for print are pdf, jpg, psd, eps, and tiff. Please do not submit photos in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, or any other program file.

    How to send large files

    If a photo is too large to send as an email attachment, use the free file transfer service WeTransfer.com.

    How to send a high-resolution photo from an iPhone

    When emailing photos from an iPhone, select the ones you want to send from the Photos app, click the send icon in the lower left corner, and choose email. After you hit “send,” you will be asked to choose an image size. Choose “actual size.”

    To find the dpi of your photo on a PC:

    1. Locate the photo file on your computer.
    2. Right click on the file name and select Properties.
    3. Under the Details tab, view the horizontal and vertical resolutions (should be the same number). This is the dpi.
    4. If the dpi is less than 300, select another photo if possible.

    To find the dpi of your photo on a Mac:

    1. Open your photo file in Preview (usually the default photo viewer).
    2. Select Tools from the top menu bar.
    3. Select Adjust Size.
    4. In the window that pops up, you should see the width and height as well as the resolution.
    5. If the dpi is less than 300, select another photo if possible.


    If you have questions not addressed here, contact the Marketing and Communications Office at mcs@hamline.edu.


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