Discover how to measure it, change it and more with our complete guide.
Everything you need to know about hi res & high resolution images.
High-resolution images can play a truly vital role in design, publishing, and even fine art exhibitions. But while plenty of people may think they know what the term means, it’s easy to understate the importance of fully understanding image resolution.
Learn about high quality images, why they’re important and how they are measured - as well as how to apply that knowledge in a practical setting.
What does high resolution mean?
High resolution is a broad term referring to something that showcases a large amount of detail. It can apply to images and photos, as well as audio and video – and is primarily concerned with the overall quality of something.
While the metric may be different in visual media than it is in audio, the concept is very much the same.
What are high resolution images?
High resolution images are pictures or photos where the media has higher concentrations of pixels or dots, resulting in better quality and clarity of the image – as it contains more detail. By contrast, images with lower resolutions tend to have fewer pixels or dots and thus less detail.
High vs low resolution.
When comparing high and low resolutions, there are two characteristics to consider:
- High resolution images offer a superior quality and clarity but come in larger file sizes.
- Low resolution images are lower quality but often have smaller file sizes.
While high quality may be ideal for something like artwork, the size of your image is going to depend on your project and goals. For example, if you’re making a life-sized poster you probably don’t want a low-resolution image, but for a sticker set you may be able to reduce the file size.
When wishing to do this, lossy compression and lossless compression are the two main methods you can use.
How are hi-res images measured?
There are two ways to measure image resolution:
- PPI –Pixels Per Inch, this is a measurement for the detail shown on a computer screen or digital image. Anything 300 PPI or over is usually considered to be high resolution.
- DPI –Dots Per Inch, is a measurement to determine the resolution of an image for printing. High resolution values for DPI are also generally considered to be 300 DPI or over.
Measuring the resolution by file size in MB can also work—the more pixels and higher the resolution the larger the file size typically is.
Assuming the image is a JPEG file, a 300 PPI image would probably be around 3.5 megabytes (MB) in size. Conversely a JPEG of a low-resolution image at 72 PPI may be roughly 500 kilobytes (KB).
While this is not an absolute science, it can give you a general idea of what you’re dealing with at a glance.
What is the highest resolution?
The largest resolution possible at the time of writing is 3,200 megapixels—a number so high it probably doesn’t mean much to most people, and you certainly won’t see anything of that quality on a billboard anytime soon!
Why would I need a hi-res photo?
High resolution photographs are ideal when you need to deliver crisp and clear content—the degree to what you need depends on your project and goal, but here are some examples:
If you’re creating a life-size poster, you want to ensure you’re working at a high-quality PPI or DPI – since larger images are going to require more details to avoid looking blurry. That said, if it is going to be viewed from a distance, intermediate resolution values can sometimes strike the right balance.
Artwork and fine photography
Depending on the type of artwork, a high resolution may better convey the subtleties of what you’ve created. It may be worth considering what the artwork will be used for and how it will be presented as well—for example will your fine art photography work be on display at showcases or exhibitions? Or will it go into a quality online portfolio?
If you’re producing landscapes or images of nature you want to catch all the details that bring those scenes to life. High-res photos can bring out the wonder and professionalism in what you capture.
When creating work for print, a high resolution is essential to ensure quality imagery. Images that go into print are usually a minimum of 300 DPI.
How can you tell if an image is high resolution?
There are a few easy checks you can perform to determine if an image is high resolution—the first one isn’t even too technical.
High quality images should be apparent from their quality, such as the visual clarity and lack of blurriness.
However, if you want to determine the detail of an image properly, then checking its DPI or PPI is the most exact method.
To do this in Photoshop open the image and then:
- Go to the ‘Image’ menu.
- Select ‘Image Size’
- Then ensure the resolution is 300 DPI/PPI or above.
Alternatively, you can check the file size by right-clicking and selecting properties on an image.
How do I get a high-resolution photograph?
There are a few ways to ensure you get a high-quality photograph:
Use a good-quality camera.
Ensuring you have a high-quality camera is important (an old phone camera probably isn’t going to cut it). There are a few things worth looking out for when shopping around for a new piece of tech:
- A camera that can capture 12 million + pixels (12-megapixel)…
- And resolutions of 4064x2704p +
- Can it use a long lens? (200m to 300m can work well)
- Does it have optical zoom (digital zoom magnifies and crops your image, which can lower quality)?
- Is it equipped with a large image sensor (this can increase the quality of your image, regardless of its megapixel count)?
Make sure your settings are optimised.
There are a few optimisation tips that could help you get the most out of your camera:
- RAW mode (this allows your DSLR to preserve all data in an image, instead of as a .JPG, but file sizes will increase significantly)
- Set the camera resolution to the highest available setting
- Ensure you pick a low compression setting for saving your pictures
- Try to get the ISO as low as your lighting will allow, as it can reduce texture and smoothness
- Zoom in with your lens rather than digital zoom
Increase resolution at the editing stage.
Just because you’re not packing the latest kit, doesn’t mean high-res photos are out of reach.
By using an image editing program like Adobe Photoshop to boost the resolution, you can edit your photos so that they look better quality. To start:
- Open your image in Photoshop.
- Select Image > Image Size
- Deselect Resample to prevent your image’s Width and Height from being resized.
- Enter new values to adjust resolution.
- If you wish to readjust document size, then add new values in Height and Width. Photoshop will automatically edit the resolution to match.
For more information on increasing image resolution with Adobe Photoshop, read our useful user guide.
Bring out the best in your high-resolution images with Adobe’s image-editing suite of software. Including:
High-resolution images: FAQs.
What is a high-resolution JPEG?
A high-resolution JPEG is an image that is typically 300 DPI (dots per inch) or higher. While its file size may be larger, it can be ideal for those wanting to save a photograph or art piece and retain detail and quality. However, if it needs to be compressed for online use, it will likely lose some of this quality.
What is high-resolution photo size?
Hi res photos are generally considered to be anything that has a DPI/PPI of 300 or higher. While this isn’t an exact science, 300 DPI is generally used in print for quality images.
How many MB is a high-resolution photo?
This can vary depending on your file format, but in general anything over 3.5 megabytes (MB) would be classed as a high-resolution image.
Discover more about image resolution, editing and photography.
Want to learn more about bringing the most out of your images? Here are some useful guides:
- Increasing image resolution
- How to optimise images
- Lossy compression
- Upscale and enhance images
- Landscape photography
- Understanding focal length