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What do you mean my file isn’t big enough?

Screenshot 2014-05-28 11.46.48

Every single day dozens of people upload their photos to get as Fractures and every day around a third of them end up disappointed because they’re told the size of their photos is too small.

“But it looks fine on Facebook!” we sometimes hear.

So, in attempt to A) provide some clarity and helpful information, and more importantly, B) help you to get MUCH better photo prints (at Fracture or anywhere), we decided to write this to help you all.

How to get better prints of your photos.

For the sake of time and understanding, we’ll attempt to skip the parts that delve into dpi, ppi, and RBIs (Wait, that’s baseball), and focus on the practical stuff.

The file size of the average smartphone photo is around 2 and a half megabytes.

Doesn’t sound like much does it?

But, Facebook has over 250 BILLION photos. That’s a *pretty* good amount. Also, images don’t need to be over 2 MB to look fine on a computer screen or a smartphone screen. So, to save space, Facebook essentially saves a smaller version of your photo to keep and display. You can’t see the difference on Facebook anyway.

Here’s a little sample we made of a big image and the same image made very small (sort of like Facebook does). Click it to really see the difference.

Compression Example_2

Don’t think it’s Facebook somehow being lazy or taking shortcuts. Every social network makes its photos smaller for speed and size, and when you can’t see the difference on a screen, it makes sense to do so.

Size_BarChart

When you download a Facebook photo, it is usually around 100 KB or less.

No matter what it looks like on the screen, the image file has much less data stored in it. This difference only becomes noticeable when you try to print it.
Printing an image actually uses all of the data stored in the original image file. So printing a Facebook photo usually doesn’t work well, because a photo from Facebook is missing about 96% of the image data it needed to look great.

The solution? Take the extra step to upload the original photo file from your smartphone or camera. Trust us, you will notice the difference.

How you do that depends on what camera app you use, and what smartphone you use, etc. But always look for the original file you took with your camera, not the small version Facebook displays.

Great rule to remember:

Always use the original photo file when ordering prints.
Always use the original photo file when ordering prints.
Always use the original photo file when ordering prints.
Always use the original photo file when ordering prints.

Seriously though, guys. Life is so much better when you’re working with the original photo. Try it out.

Questions? Comments? Let us know on Twitter!

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The Author

Drew Allen

Drew Allen

Besides being the managing editor of this blog, I'm also a drummer, a husband, and a father, not necessarily in that order. I love good stories, and great design, and I probably quote the Office more than I should but less than I could.