A Few Considerations for the Final Edits of Wedding Photographs
The way you digitally save an image from your wedding photography collection changes slightly based on how you’ll use the photo. Resolution, image size, file format, and watermarking are all affected by whether your photos will be viewed on a computer or printed.
File types have to do with image compression, which can be broken down into two categories: lossless compression and lossy compression.
Lossless compression refers to an image saved with all its original information, with no data lost. This type of saving results in a rather large file size to accommodate all that information.
Lossy compression throws out some of the data as a file is saved, which results in a smaller file size.
Like everything else in the photography world, you have many options when it comes to choosing a type of file format in which to save your images. However, you really need be concerned with only two types as a wedding photographer: JPEG and TIFF.
JPEG: A JPEG file (short for joint photographic expert group) falls under the lossy compression category. This file format is best for saving your images for the web and giving images to clients because the file size is smaller, though many online photo labs do accept 300ppi JPEGs for printing.
TIFF: A TIFF file (short for tagged image file format) falls under the lossless compression category. Therefore, an image saved as a TIFF has no degradation to the file. Some professional photo labs encourage using TIFFs for printing purposes.
Saving images as TIFFs is also useful if you ever want to go back and re-edit the image. Because no degradation took place in the compressing process, all the info you need is still right there in the file.
Image resolution refers to how much detail is contained within your photo, and it’s measured by pixels per inch (ppi). Consider two factors when determining your resolution: whether your photos will be viewed on a computer screen or whether they will be printed.
Photos viewed on a computer need only a resolution of 72ppi to be seen with perfect clarity.
For the purpose of printing, always choose a high resolution of 300ppi, because that gives your photo lab the information it needs to print a high-quality photograph.
Image resolution and the way it is measured can be confusing. People often mistakenly use the term dots per inch (dpi) interchangeably with pixels per inch to describe the measurement of detail in a digital image. Dpi refers to the maximum number of dots of ink a printer can put into the space of one inch.
So even though both terms relate to resolution, as the photographer, you only need to be concerned about pixels per inch. The photo lab tells the printer to print your 300ppi photo at 300dpi (or more, because printers nowadays can print at a much higher resolution).
Another factor to consider before saving an image is what size you need it to be. If you’re printing the image, you don’t have to worry about changing the image size, because you send the original size (without any changes) to the printer. However, if you’re uploading your photos to a blog, you may need to change its measurements so that it fits within the confines of your blog space.