July 16, 2015

Ready to make a photo gift? Did you know that MailPix accepts photo file formats JPG, JPEG, PNG & TIFF.  That means you can use photos from a cell phone that has a camera, a point and shoot camera, a DSLR, or your analog art that has been scanned and converted into a digital file.

When you’re ready to start making your own Photo Coasters, Photo Canvas Prints or even a brand new Photo Book, here’s a little more to know about best file types to use to make a photo product.

The maximum files size we can accept is 10MBs.

NAC_0871What File Sizes are Best?

We recommend that uploaded files be a minimum of 300 DPI (dots per inch), 8-bit and have an embedded sRGB color profile. Here’s a grid that lists recommended maximum print sizes:

Your Camera or Device
Maximum Print Size
3 Megapixel Smart Phone or Camera up to 20″x15″
5 Megapixel Smart Phone  or Camera up to 30″x25″
8 Megapixel Smart Phone  or Camera up to 50″x40″
10 Megapixel Smart Phone  or Camera up to 60″x50″

One rule of thumb: If you are preparing something that is small, like an Easel Back Photo Print, you can get away with a lower pixel count. Are you creating a product that shows a large picture, such as a Framed Canvas Photo Print that’s 16” x 20”? The more pixels in your file, the better. Larger photo files (higher quality setting, a higher DPI and/or bigger height x width count of pixels) generally provide more information, and can often better reproduce a larger print. Larger photo files may also deliver more clarity and color range to a final print.

Photo Quality Settings Affect Size
If you will print something, we suggest you switch the quality setting* on your divide to the best quality option before you take the picture–for example Super Fine or JPG Best Quality. This means a higher pixel count, but you get more information and detail in your photo file.

What is an Aspect Ratio and Why Does it Matter?
So you’re ready to order a 16 x 16 square photo canvas. You have an uncropped Super Fine Quality jpg photo straight out of your point and shoot camera. You know that this device makes a rectangular-size photo. Can you control what gets into that square shape print and what gets cropped out? Yes!

You have two ways to control that–by either cropping the photo file using software before you upload to MailPix, or by uploading the original file and then using the MailPix design template to help you orient what part of the photo you wish to show.

But what if you want to make a photo print that’s not square? Say, a dramatic 10 x 20 Panoramic Photo Canvas? Will that original uncropped jpg be a perfect fit or will any sides of your file need to be cropped to fit?** Here’s where knowledge of what your device creates, and knowledge of aspect ratios, comes into play.

3:2 ratio
An aspect ratio describes the relationship between the 32width and height. Today, just about every digital camera has a sensor that has a ratio of either 3:2 or 4:3. Full-frame and crop sensor DSLRs conform to 3:2 proportions. This means that photo products such as
4” x 6”, 8” x 12”, 10” x 15” etc. will use the entire photo file–left to right, top to bottom. No cropping needed.

434:3 Ratio
Micro four-thirds cameras and many compact cameras conform to 4:3 aspect ratios. That means photos such as the 8” x 6”, 12” x 9”, 16” x 12”, etc. will fit perfectly. Both

For comparison, here’s a glance at how the two ratios stack up. As you can see, the 3:2 is a bit wider.

Aspect Ratios and Cell Phones 
Mobile camera devices let you pick what size picture to take. Experiment by taking a look at the Resolution settings. Chances are you will see quality settings (maybe Super Fine, Fine, etc.,) as well as ratio settings like 3:2, 4:3, 16:9, etc.

** Let’s get back to that question about the 10 x 20 panorama print—the dimensions straight out of your camera will not be a perfect fit; cropping needs to happen. A quick look at the math tells you the panorama print has a 1:2 aspect ratio; your point and shoot camera has a 4:3 aspect ratio.

 

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