Q. When I purchase a stock image, how do I know which size or resolution to get for my website?
A. Most stock image re-sellers will often sell images based on several sizes such as Small, Medium or Large and will usually show file dimensions and file size for each category:
Note, image size has to do with file compression, not file dimensions. In other words, how how much is an image optimized during the saving process in a program such as Photoshop. (i.e. 100%, 90% 70% quality etc.)
The rule of thumb is to look at your website and see the area you wish to place your image in and estimate the size in pixels. (There are tools such as Snagit or Photoshop Elements, and Photoshop (full editing program) that can help you determine the exact size of the area in question.) Or you can use the images below to visually estimate size on any website.
Q. Why do my images some times looks blurry?
A. It is always better to reduce an image's dimensions, but never to enlarge it as it will make for a blurry or pixelated image, so always buy images that will be large enough to work with and keep in mind that you may have a future use for the same image so try to be flexible while staying within budget.
Note: On websites never use inches or centimeters as they are not representative of pixel dimensions. Screen and image resolutions are measured in pixels, never inches. Even thought stores advertise monitors and TV's in inches, the screen resolution is what matters.
For example a 1080p monitor has a max resolution of 1920px by 1080px. This is considered an HD monitor. This does not mean that your monitor will only display that resolution since it could be set for a lower resolution by the user. The lower the resolution, the bigger the images will look and vice versa.
Similarly a 25" monitor will not show images that are 25" wide, the images again, are measured in pixels and are based on the monitors set resolution.
Bellow are some example of some images with the actual pixel size (dimensions) next to them:
||200 x 150 px
||380 x 285 px
||550 x 413 px
Q. What about images for print? Can I use the same stock image I used on my website for print?
A. The answer is NO, you cannot use that same image unless you plan to print it very small due to the pixel size.
Enlarging a 72dpi image at say 2” wide, (equivalent to 144pixles wide), will result in a pixelated and blurry image. You may be able to print the same 72dpi image and it may look okay (not great, just okay) so long as you print it at only 2” wide or whatever its actual size is.
There are simply not enough pixels on a typical 72dpi web file to print or much less enlarge a web file.
For best print quality and ideally will need a file that is 300dpi at actual print size or at 100% of the size you want to print it..
72 dpi image:
Enlarged image showing the actual square pixels used to make up the 72dpi image..
Q. What is the difference between RGB and CMYK color?
A. Old style TV's, Plasma TVs and LCD monitors (flat panel displays) use RGB color profiles (Red, Green & Blue). They produce all other visible colours by quickly alternating, or mixing all 3 colors.
Ideal use: Wesbites
CMYK color profile (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black) is reserved for images that will be used for print. You can however print RGB images but the color reproduction will not be as accurate. Just about all home, office and professional printers use CMYK inks to produce highly rich and more vibrant colors.
The only downside to working with CMYK images on a computer monitor is that the final printed material will most likely look slightly different due to the fact that monitors display all images in RGB even if the image has a CMYK color profile.
For this reason it is usually worth while printing a “proof” before mass printing and then adjusting or colour correcting the original image if need be.
Note: there are professional tools & software available that will help professional designer calibrate a monitor to ensure the best color reproduction from an RGB display to print. It is not a perfect solution but it helps. Doing print proofs is always the best way to go unless you have experience with printing and color profiles.