How the heck do we get our images looking great on Facebook AND also deliver high-quality printable images to clients?
Here’s a quick walk-through of our export settings from Lightroom. Let’s just get right to the good stuff (feel free to just copy these), and if you’re interested in learning WHY we made these decisions on settings, keep reading.
If you want internet-size images (easily uploaded but still high-quality), copy these settings:
If you want archive-size printable images, copy these settings:
And now all the explanation:
For the INTERNET-SIZE images, the first thought here is Facebook. Their max resolution is 2048px (we just decided to go with 2000px, but knock yourself out if you want to change it to 2048px), so we’re almost at the max resolution,
There’s a bit of a misnomer about the “RESOLUTION” section, and without getting into it too much, it doesn’t matter AT ALL if you export images based on how many pixels wide or long. You’re welcome to change it to 72 ppi or 300ppi or 4,032 ppi and still the file that comes out will be the exact same size. Also, images that show up online will be displayed at the resolution of your screen (which is why RETINA screens look so much better and clearer, they have a better resolution than regular screens). Another side note: if your images on your website look WORSE on a RETINA screen, it means they’re not big enough to begin with. If you’re worried about that, here’s a quick read on optimizing your images on your website.
For printing, the dpi/ppi DOES matter, because each pixel can be printed larger or smaller. Have you ever printed an image where you can see all the pixelation? (Look at the header image, I purposefully put some pixelation on the left side to show you what that is) You see pixelation in images when the pixels get too large… to the point where you can distinguish them as individual squares. If you want your images to print well, 300 dots per inch (dpi) is the standard there. 72 dpi/ppi looks horrid (because the pixels are so large), although 100 dpi is standard for BILLBOARD images, because you’re so far away from them you don’t notice how big the pixels actually are.
Also with the INTERNET-SIZE images, we sharpen LOW on the SCREEN setting just to give it a LITTLE extra clarity, and bring the quality down to 90 just to save some of the file-size. Usually you’re almost perfectly safe bringing a JPEG down to 90% quality — you won’t see the compression at all just shaving a little off the top:)
With the ARCHIVE-SIZE images, we uncheck the image sizing section, put the quality right to 100 (why not save a perfectly solid JPEG version of the image? Archive-Size images are no place to use compression. Mix down the entire file, whole. For printing we’ve found that the sharpening is best on LOW but with the MATTE setting this time. We print on lustre paper most of the time, but the MATTE setting looked the best in the tests we’ve done.
If ANY OF THIS is confusing or you want a little more clarification, don’t feel stupid. This stuff is ridiculously complicated, and I went through my fair share of hair-pulling to arrive at these settings. Just leave a comment below if you’re on FB or hit me up on twitter @grainhappy.[fbcomments]