Image Formats and Print Requirements

These terms are used to describe your photo technically.




Image formats:

· Raw

Raw format preserves all the image’s data; the file is uncompressed.

Best format for advanced photo editing, but large file to store. Can slow PC.

· Jpeg (.jpg)

Jpegs lose some data but the memory card will store more images. Jpegs are the best option if you are printing without editing.

Basic Jpegs won’t produce high quality prints, but fine jpegs will; these are used for sports photography. Most images are saved again as jpegs at the end of the editing process.

Image size:

Available in camera for jpeg format only.

‘Large’ is your default setting.

DPI: dots per inch.

High quality prints need to be printed at 240-300dpi.

The video link below provides step-by-step method for setting your DPI.


The size of image measured by the number of pixels, (height X width).

This can be changed just before printing to fit the size of your print media.


Reduction in data to reduce file size and save memory card space.

Excessive compression leads to poor quality output.

Photo editing software

Used for improving the look of your photo, and getting it ready for printing.

Adobe Photoshop is a well known product, there are less expensive options.

This table illustrates how to use your camera’s controls and editing software to get satisfactory results. Start by deciding how you want to display your photo; the options are listed along the top row of this table.

Small Print


A5 210x148mm

Medium Print

(Display at home)

A4 297x210mm

Large Print


A3 420x297mm or larger


(Email, Web, iPad)


· Image Format

· Minimum Image Size


· normal jpeg

· medium

· N/A

· fine jpeg

· large

· N/A

· raw

· N/A

· N/A

· normal jpeg

· medium

· N/A


· Minimum DPI

· Resolution (in Pixels)

· Save as jpeg (last step)

· 72dpi

· 640×480

· medium

· 240dpi

· 1600×1200

· large

· 300dpi

· maximum

· maximum

· N/A

· 1600×1200

· small

This article is a basic introduction to this topic. For a more technical explanation try these resources: