Avoiding Blurry Yearbook Photos and Images
Nobody wants a fuzzy, grainy picture in their yearbook. This isn’t 1985!
Social media is a prime culprit of poor-quality yearbook images; an image that looks great on your Insta feed might come out blurry and distorted when you print it out.
When it comes time to build out your yearbook, there’s a few tips and tricks you can use to ensure your pictures come out perfect every time.
Put The Internet in the Bin(ternet)
When you upload an image to Facebook, it’s automatically made smaller in a process called compression. Compressed images don’t print out very well – you can test this by printing your profile pic.
When people build websites, they do the same thing, compressing the images so that they load faster.
Basic rule of thumb: if you want your yearbook to look great, don’t download photos and logos from the Internet. People have gotten away with using Facebook photos in past yearbooks, but it can be difficult and you will probably have to shrink the image to make it work.
Instead, find the original files that were uploaded and use those. If it’s a school logo, you want the design file if possible – ask your school office if they have a copy.
Don’t Enlarge Them
If you make an image larger than the original file size, there’s not enough pixels to fill the empty space. Your computer has to guess which pixels to add, and it could get it wrong.
As a general rule of thumb, you can shrink images, but don’t enlarge them – they could end up printing strangely.
A Crash Course in DPI/PPI
When talking about image quality, designers use two terms: if it’s printed, it’s Dots Per Inch (DPI), and if it’s on a screen, it’s Pixels Per Inch (PPI).
For the majority of us, our computer screen’s pixel density (number of tiny squares per inch) is 72 PPI. A professionally printed photo will usually be around 300 DPI, which is over three times higher than it would be on your computer screen.
If you’re confused, don’t worry; this image should help to clear it up.
Now think about every inch of your photo or logo. If there are only 72 pixels per inch, it will never appear as crisp as having 300 pixels in every inch of your image, especially when it comes to print.
Wherever you can, try to set your camera and any image or photo editing software to 300 PPI before you start using them. If you start with a 72 PPI image and try to scale it up, it just won’t work, and it won’t print well. This is why we don’t suggest using images from the web or enlarging your images.
I Need an Easy Solution
If you don’t want to faff around with DPI, PPI, and image size, just drop your images into Yearbook Hub, the online yearbook builder. If your image isn’t large enough to look amazing when printed, Yearbook Hub will tell you. You can then drag it onto your proof and see how it will look on the page.
If you want to double-check your design and make sure that your photos look great, you can also print out a proof in a couple of clicks and pass it around your yearbook team.