What is a high resolution photo?
High resolution photos are required for sharp reproduction of photos, else the printing quality is poor. A high resolution image contains more pixels than a low resolution image. Resolution is expressed in megapixels and derived from the number of pixels in the length multiplied by the number of pixels in the width of an image. For standard post card size prints (15cm X 10cm) you only need 2.16 Megapixels as this is all a standard photographic process will put on paper. If you wish to enlarge your photo to an A4 size print you need 8.6 Megapixels in your photo. If you have less pixels than this, pixilation occurs (parts of photo appear as blocks). Pixelation happens when there are fewer pixels in the image than are needed for the size required on paper and the print processor expands the size of existing pixels.
Why are my enlarged photos fuzzy?
Buying an 18Megapixel camera will not guarantee great enlargements since megapixels only determine how many pixels will be present in the image, not image quality. What a high-megapixel camera will give you, however, are sharper appearing small images when you reduce their size. This is because fewer pixels are present causing an image to appear sharp, but once you look at the image at 100% of it’s actual size it appears fuzzy.
A high resolution photo may not always print well when enlarged as it also requires sharpness and very good focus which is obtained from high quality photographic lenses. An image from a poor lens, such as kit lenses, may appear good at small sizes, but once enlarged to A4 “softness” (fuzziness or appearance of slightly out of focus) can usually be observed.
Most professional photographers spend more money on high quality lenses than they do on other equipment since they know that producing a sharp image which will appear as good when enlarged as it is when it is viewed on internet is important to the clients. Facebook, as an example, shows you images which are only 0.23Megapixels (390 X 580) in size for portrait images and 0.5Megapixel (875 X 580) in size for landscape images. At these sizes photos can be pretty much out of focus and will still appear good, but when printed or enlarged appear poor.
Sample image from photo shoot for RaiGlow Makeup – See the Facebook Page