What kind of image quality can you expect when receiving your wedding photos? Or any other photos from a professional photoshoot?

I have a real-life story to share with you that you should really listen to. A friend of mine received her wedding gallery, which turned out to be in very low quality. When I saw the photos after downloading them, I was shocked by how many details were lost upon zooming in. I actually started to wonder if there’s much difference between photos taken on an iPhone and those taken with a professional camera. I feel so sorry for her and decided that I have to do something to help her because this kind of quality is not what you would expect to be delivered as your wedding photos.

Before I get to the end of that story, I first need to explain what’s considered high quality and high-resolution images.

There are 3 different aspects to consider when we talk about high-res images:

Photo resolution

We talk about a high-resolution photo when it has at least 300 DPI, which means that there are 300 pixels per inch on a photo. The fewer pixels you have, the more pixelated the photo appears. If you know the popular game Minecraft, that's what I mean. You can see visible pixels when zooming in. We talk about low resolution when a picture has 72 pixels per inch or less which is 72 DPI.

Photo weight

The other factor, which is also important but not as much, is photo weight. Usually, photos that are delivered to the client are called .JPEG files. JPEGs that I deliver weigh between 8 -15 MB, sometimes even 40 MB if taken from a drone. They are huge and usually take up a lot of space. A good quality photo is considered to weigh at least 3.5 MB. Anything below that is considered low quality because the lighter the image, the less information it will consist of.

Photo dimension

The other aspect is photo dimension. If it's 2000 x 2000 pixels or less, it's considered a small-sized image. Everything more than that is a large size image. As an example my images are more than 3000 x 4000.

Do I need high-resolution photos?

I would say, of course, you need them! High-resolution images contain more information so e.g they have more colors, which is one very important aspect. And when you want to print them in a larger format, you would be able to see so many amazing details instead of pixels. Low-quality images will only look kind of good on your phone, but on any bigger screen, they just look bad.

So coming back to my story...

what can you do if you receive low-res images like my friend did (after checking, it turned out they were 72 DPI, which was very low)?

You can ask the photographer to re-develop the photos in high resolution. It takes a few minutes to develop a full gallery and deliver it to you once again. They should set up DPI for 300 in the program they use and put the quality to 100%.

For a photographer who shoots in RAW, that would never be an issue. (RAW is a file type that contains a lot more information than JPEG. By the way, all photographers should be shooting in RAW as then we tend to edit them and develop them to JPEGs. If the photographer shoot in JPEGs, then the photos they took already lose information and their edit looks worse than if they would edit RAW iamges.)

The problem is when a photographer never shoots in RAW but in JPEG, and that JPEG is already compressed, which means they are in low resolution and weigh a little. There's no way to have a big res photo because the original files are already small, and after editing, they lose even more information.

This is what happened to a friend of mine. I said to her, "Ask the photographer to give you RAW files" (the editing wasn’t the best either). Instead of RAW she got unedited JPEGs with a 72 DPI, which were very low resolution.

And that’s it, end of story. If a photographer was never shooting high-res images, there's not much you can do.

After what I just told you, this is one of the things you are paying for when hiring a photographer. Photography is not only the art of taking photos; there are other aspects like this one. Photographers just need to know some data, some numbers, some technical aspects of taking photography.

So future brides and grooms, if you haven't already booked your photographer, that’s one of the questions you can ask when inquiring. Do you shoot in RAW? Do you deliver high-resolution images? If they don’t and cannot explain to you what images they deliver, I would seriously reconsider hiring them to do your wedding photos. As you may end up with poor quality images. This usually happens if you book a photographer on a budget, but not always. That’s why I advise talking to potential photographers you want to hire and ask them some questions. Otherwise, you may make a huge mistake that you will find out when having your photos delivered.

Now, the last part.

How to check if my images are in high resolution?

If you are on a MAC, open the photo, then click Tools —> Show inspection —> and then you will see IMAGE DPI, weigh and image resolution. If you're on Windows, right-click on an image and go to —> Image properties. There you will see resolution, weigh and dpi.

PS. I was trying really hard to destroy my images and develop them in very bad and low quality, and even then, they still looked decent. I think its because I always shoot in RAW i the biggest possible resolution. What happened with my friend's photos the pictures were taken in small 1 MB-2 MB JPEGs straight out of the camera with 72 DPI. So to be honest, they were worse than those taken on an iPhone. As iPhone photos weigh around 3.5 MB and their dimensions are more than 4000 x 5000.

Looking for a photographer to your wedding or any other event? Contact me! :) I ll be happy to talk about your needs!