Digital Images for Email and Printing

JPEG is the best format to use for sending pictures by e-mail and posting on the web. The sender can reduce the size of the file by lowering its resolution.Thus the recipient(s) can download the image(s) more quickly.

But what if you want to send a picture fit for printing? Lower resolution will not result in a quality print.

Printing a good quality picture demands that the jpeg file be kept at full resolution. The only reduction in size that could be obtained would be through cropping out parts of the picture that are not that important to the sender.

However, when the jpeg is saved at full resolution (least compression), it is too large a file to send by e-mail. (Don't send more than a total of 300 kb - whether that be one picture or the total of all pictures sent at once - by email.)

  • A picture taken by a 1 megapixel camera will generate a file of nearly 1 MB.
  • A 10 megapixel camera will store full quality images at 2 - 3 Megabytes per image.

But "Stepping-down" the resolution to 72 dpi - or even 96 dpi - will result in an image not fit for printing. What do you do?

The best way of sending many high quality images is to use a CD burner and save the image files to a CD. Carefully pack this cd and mail it first class to your recipient.

There are two options for posting quality printable pictures on your web site:

  1. If you have direct control over the contents of your web server you might also post them into an ftp folder. This way those who would be interested could open, review, choose, and download the files they want to print.

  2. Consider designing into your web page a two-step process.

    The first image the viewer sees is a "thumbnail" view. This loads quickly and doesn't slow up browsing.

    Post a link next to the thumbnail to the print-quality image (or make the thumbnail "clickable" as a link). Next to the thumbnail include a line such as "print quality image is 1.2 MB at 5" x 7". Click on the thumbnail to start downloading the print-quality picture.