Does Size Matter?

It’s all well and good to keep your images small, but if your website visitors are viewing them on a large screen, then they will appear grainy and poor quality – not a good look for anybody’s brand.

A while ago I wrote about all the amazing places you can find great stock photos, mostly for free.

However if you are considering taking your own photos, or engaging a professional to provide images for your website, there are somethings you need to consider in regards to photo quality, resolution and layout.

It’s all well and good to keep your images small, but if your website visitors are viewing them on a large screen, then they will appear grainy and poor quality – not a good look for anybody’s brand.

How to Measure Image Resolution

Image resolution needs to be reasonably high – this will give the image a greater amount of detail. Resolution can be referred to in pixel size e.g. 7680 x 6876. This means the image has 7680 pixels (or coloured dots which make up the image) across the image, and 6876 from top to bottom. 

You may also see this referred to as total pixels, which in our example above would give the image 52,807,680 pixels in total or it might be referred to as 52.8 megapixels.

Another way to measure pixels is by the square inch (yes I know that’s the US custom measurement, but let’s face it they own most tech terms!). This is generally referred to as “dpi” or dots per inch.

There are some standards that professional photographers use to deliver photos suitable for web and print. If you engage a professional they will ask you where you want to use them and a good photographer will deliver images in at least two sizes (or dpi).

For the web, around 96dpi is great – especially if you want large images to look fabulous on the header part of your pages.

For print photos the standard size is 300dpi for regular printing or 400dpi for high quality printing. Generally if images are going to be displayed on a digital device then they are referred to with megapixels. DPI is a term used for printing images on paper.

Getting a high resolution image that is going to look good on your website only starts with image resolution – there are other things to consider too.

Where will the image be viewed?

Then we need to think about the devices your website will be viewed on. The bigger the screen, the more important this becomes. If your site visitors are using a monitor which is 1280 pixels wide, that means that on this screen, there is a maximum of 1280 different coloured dots that can be shown (across the screen). If, for example, the screen is 21 inches, it means that in one inch approximately 61 coloured dots will fit in one inch of the screen (1280 divided by 21). This makes the resolution 61dpi, so a 96 dpi image will look as good as it can on that screen.

Even visitors viewing your site on a mobile device such as a phone or tablet will have varying screen resolutions depending on the make and model of their device.

When I develop websites I use a reasonably large screen with 1920 x 1080 resolution. That way I can be sure that most images will look great, irrespective of the device on which they are viewed.

Getting your Photos ready for your Website

When preparing your photos, make sure they are a reasonably high resolution – they don’t need to be 52 megapixels like the example above, but something around 1 – 3 megapixels is good for most images.

That way your web designer can resize them to what will look great on your website, depending on their placement and application.

This will also give your designer an opportunity to crop out any unnecessary parts of the image or resize them to the same size as other images used on your site.

To work out what the resolution of your photo is, on a PC, you can right click on the image (in Windows Explorer) and choose Properties.

Go to the Details Tab and you will see the image’s dimensions and resolution:

If you are using a Mac, Right-click on the image and choose Get Info. Then choose the More Info Tab where you will see the image’s dimensions and size:

Getting Professional Assistance

If you engage a professional photographer to take images for your site, they will understand the requirement for image quality for both web and print images and they will provide you with a set of photos suitable for both applications. Essentially they will take the photos in a higher resolution then reduce them for use on your website.

It is always a good idea to send both the high resolution and the low resolution images to your web designer though – this gives them the flexibility and capability to deliver the best quality images on your site – which can only make your brand look even better and everyone wants that!

A word of warning about Google Images

If you are viewing images from a Google search you will notice that a lot of images are very low resolution. This is because they have been reduced down to be suitable for websites and not slowing down the pages.

High resolution photos will make your site slower to load – but your designer should know how to combat that to ensure you get great load speed.

I don’t recommend using images found through a Google search – they are fraught with potential copyright issues, often render as very small images even on small devices.

Build your own Picture Library

As a business owner, it is beneficial to build a library of images that reflect your business, your products and your services rather than borrowing something from someone else. Consider how you would feel if someone did that with your images….

If you are considering creating a digital online presence this year, or renewing your website, while you’re thinking about site content, start thinking about the images too. 

Visitors tend to look at the images on a site much more than they read the text.

Images can quickly convey your brand as users scroll your site, without having to stop and read lengthy paragraphs etc.

So when you’re putting together your collateral, think carefully about the images and what they say about your business and your brand. It will be time well spend and give your site visitors a great first impression!


Found a spelling or grammatical error in this post? Then contact me as soon as possible and let me know. In return for your super proof reading, I will offer you a free 30-minute review of your digital presence and some fresh ideas you can try out for free.

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