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Tips & Tricks

Current 2016 Guide To Image/File Sizes Infographic

By Shivani Reddy on October 27th 2016

The challenge of being a photographer in this day and age is staying current, both in regard to trend and technology. With online portfolios via websites and social media being the most prevailing source of exposure, having appropriately sized images that showcase your work in its full capacity is a mark of a true professional. It is up to you to abide by the unwritten rules of everchanging technology or fade to the dust simply due to the constraints of file sizes.


Alamy, a stock photo & vector database, has provided a comprehensive guide to file sizes, breaking down exactly what size will give you the optimal resolution for specific usage. Knowing the appropriate file sizes and terminology for various platforms will help you avoid a slew of potential issues:

  • File sizes that are too large – could potentially slow down your website and prevent viewers from continued browsing.
  • File sizes that are too small – will appear pixelated and don’t show your work in its optimal resolution. This often happens on social media platforms. Take a look at the most current Social Media Size Cheat Sheet here & make sure your Facebook photos are being uploaded in HD.
  • DPI – The resolution of a print image measured by the amount of dots that will be included in every inch that is printed. The more dots, the higher the quality.
  • PPI – The resolution of a digital image measured by the amount of pixels that will be included in every inch. The more pixels, the higher the quality.


Understanding the limitations and consequences of incorrect file sizing will inevitably improve the standard and quality of your content. Having this asset on hand can help make the difference between your work being published in a magazine or overlooked. It also makes maneuvering through the digital landscape of sizing that much easier.

Infographic: File sizes

You can open this image in a new tab, save it, or check it out on Alamy.

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Shivani wants to live in a world where laughter is the cure to pretty much everything. Since she can’t claim “Serial Bingewatcher” as an occupation, she’ll settle for wedding/portrait photographer at Lin and Jirsa & marketing coordinator here at SLR Lounge. For those rare moments when you won’t find a camera in her hand, she will be dancing, eating a donut, or most likely watching Seinfeld.

Follow her on Instagram: @shivalry_inc

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Vangelis Medina

    Waste of time, i stop reading on the first dpi.

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  2. Ron Fya

    For ****’s sake … when the hell people will stop messing up with dpi & ppi.

    When you stay in the digital world, both of those are NOT meaningful. Stop saying that your image should be any number of dpi or ppi when exporting to web. THERE ARE NO INCHES OR CENTIMETERS IN A WEBSITE !!! It’s digital. Measurements are done in pixels and that’s it.

    Then, when going from a computer to a physical support you need the PPI number. Which tells you how many pixels should fit into an inch. This is the number you set in photoshop/Lightroom when exporting.

    And please do not mix that with DPI which is printer related, In other words, YOU CANNOT SET THIS NUMBER IN PHOTOSHOP !!! It tells how many dots a printer can put in an inch. In an inch pixels are printed (ppi) and those pixels are made of even smaller dots.

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  3. Zach Holz

    this is such nonsense. 15 MB for a magazine shot??? right… like you’d see any difference over a well shot 3 MB shot.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      That’s actually contextually dependent. I know of major fashion and lifestyle publications that do accept files that size, and sometimes larger. The problem is the idea of what a MB represents,. Not all are the same. The same goes for ‘image’. On a very basic level, to make it easier to see, is take a 3MB JPEGmini file compared to a 3MB regular file…. the two could be miles apart.

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  4. Kim Farrelly

    Sure just let me whip out my 523Mpx camera for your billboard shot and we’ll get going, yeah?

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