Over the last 5 years the expectation for a copy of a weddings high resolution JPEG files has become normal. Wedding blogs and magazines encourage brides to look for this as a priority when choosing a wedding photographer. But is it really all that important?
High resolution images are those with 300 dots per inch (dpi) or pixels per inch (ppi) and low resolution images have 72 dpi/ppi. The higher the resolution the clearer the picture. To determine which of these you require, you need to ask yourself what it is that you intend to do with the files.
Consider the following options for the use of your JPEGs:
Everybody wants to share with the friends and family their most treasured images, usually via social media or email. Images that are displayed on Facebook and internet browsers are almost always set to display images at 72 ppi. So if the purpose of your images is to share on the internet or any form of social media low res images are the way to go. For more information on high res vs low res images: http://www.genesismoss.com/blog/high-res-vs-res-care/
Many couples like to create a compilation of their wedding photos into a slideshow with music to show their friends and family. Slideshows are a great way to quickly share your favourite images from your wedding day. Slideshows that are to be displayed on a TV or computer screen once again will run more smoothly with a low res image due to the reduction in file size when compared with a high res image.
This is where the need for high res JPEG’s becomes critical. Most printers print at 200-300 dpi and therefore images saved at 72 ppi will suffer from some serious degradation to their quality. Therefore any image on a computer screen may seem perfectly clear but once printed becomes grossly pixilated.
Some other important considerations if you intend to print your high res JPEGs:
Professional photographers spend a great deal of time and money to ensure that their computer monitor is calibrated so that files they print match exactly what they saw on their computer screen. This is done using a colorimeter that measures the colour temperature of the colours on the computer screen whilst taking into account the colour and intensity of light in the room that the computer screen sits. Once calibrated a photographer will then download the colour profiles for not only for the printer but also the type of paper to be used in the printing process.
Where you take your photos to be printed will significantly effect the end product. Department stores and camera stores deal predominately with the printing needs of your day to day photos. Images to be printed for an event as significant as your wedding day are best handled by professional printing companies. These companies specialise in colour management of your photos and the quality of the paper and inks provide a vastly superior product.
Most professional photographers shoot images in a file format more commonly know as RAW. These images are then downloaded into computer software for editing prior to being resaved as high res JPEG’s. Prior to editing, RAW photos can look flat and dull compared to the finished JPEG product. See below for an example of what difference this can make in the final product.
Photographers editing style
Many clients choose their photographer based in part on the style of their images. This style in many instances is a result of the editing the has been performed on the images after capture. If the JPEG’s that you receive are unedited it means that this style will not have been provided. That may be desirable if you intend to edit your own photos. If you don’t want to be involved with the editing you need to either buy the completed product such as an album or purchase the fully edited JPEG’s (if available).
The bottom line……
If you want to share your images electronically whether on social media, the internet or a slideshow, low res images should be your preferred choice. Should you want to print your images you absolutely need high res images. The question you need to ask yourself before printing is whether you have the time, the computer software and editing skills and access to a professional printing service to produce the same quality that your photographer is an expert at providing.
No one answer will fit each couple.
It really comes down to what you want to do with those high res JPEG’s?