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Optimizing digital photos

Posted on 2004-08-29
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Last Modified: 2013-11-19
I'm a graphic professional well-versed in working with various graphic tools but i'm only just beginning to prepare my digital camera's images for output from a photo printing service and am looking for general advise on how to optimize my files for best quality output.

Probably my biggest question regards the best way to re-sample my camera's images so they fit to 5x7. I'm working with a 5mg camera that saves images in JPG format and will be printing most images at 5x7. I _think this means I'm going to need to convert the JPGs to a different size since a 5mg JPG is not going to fit in a 5x7 area, right?

I use Fireworks extensively and have the impression it's re-sizing/re-sampling capabilities are better than average but i wonder if are there any dedicated/standalone utilities you would recommend for this part of the operation?

The other question is probably more dependant on which service I chose for output...what format(s) they will accept but is any advantage in working in a different format like TIF?



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Question by:juststeve
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Jaime Olivares earned 250 total points
ID: 11926910
A bitmap size and photo size are different concepts. Almost every iamge file (bmp, jpg or whatever comes with a "suggested" physical size). By example if your image is 3000x3000 pìxels and specifies 300 dpi, it will print in 10"x10", if you respect the "suggested" 300dpi, but you can print it with 600dpi, then your physical (printed) image will be 5"x5".
Also you can specify any resolution (dpi) to fit a desired size. By example, if you need to print it in 4"x4", specify 3000/4 = 750 dpi.
So, you don't need to resample an image to print it (unless the big size is a trouble for your), just specify a different dpi while printing.
Good luck,
Jaime.
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by:cheritonit
cheritonit earned 100 total points
ID: 11928498
As mentioned, an image file can of course be scaled if necessary.  When you print out normally (e.g. in Word) you can resize the picture to any size you like.  If you make it larger than its original size, the quality deteriorates, whereas making it smaller can increase the (perceived) quality.  As said before, that is to do with the print resolution.

If you want to print the pictures, save them in the best quality you can, this will give the highest resolution.  

As for image formats, other image formats are "better" for certain applications and reasons.  Bitmap (BMP) images are uncompressed, so they are great, but big.  JPG is a lossy compression.  Some compression isn't lossy.  However, your camera already saves the pictures as JPG, so keep it as that.  There is no point in having the camera save it in a lossy format, then trying to save it in a higher quality.  What's lost is lost.

Think of it like copying a DVD.  If you record the DVD to video, you have lost some resolution, and hence quality.  You have converted from analogue to digital.  There would be no point in converting the video back to DVD, it would just show up the limitations of the tape.
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by:cheritonit
ID: 11930443
oops, that example should've read from digital to analogue!
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