The question often comes up as “The image is on the website, can you use that?” Well, it depends on where you intend to use the image. Here’s a brief crash course on why web photos and print photos should not be used for the same items.
Defining Image Quality
In print, you may have heard the term “High Resolution”. To define this, higher resolution means more image detail. In any image, there is tiny dots that define the image. For viewing an image on screen, these dots are referred to as Pixels. For viewing an image in print, these dots are referred to as DPI or Dots Per Inch. The more Pixels or DPI, the tighter the dots are together and the clearer the photo.
From Wikipedia: Below is an illustration of how the same image might appear at different pixel resolutions, if the pixels were poorly rendered as sharp squares (normally, a smooth image reconstruction from pixels would be preferred, but for illustration of pixels, the sharp squares make the point better).
High Resolution vs. Low Resolution
Images on a website tend to be 72dpi and often on eCommerce sites are roughly 300 pixels x 300 pixels.
Example #1 is a Mortise Cylinder saved as “high resolution” and is prepared for print. This is a CMYK image saved at 300 dpi. The largest size this will print without becoming fuzzy is roughly 5″ W x 4.7″ H. If it were printed larger to fill a letter size 8.5″ x 11″ piece of paper, it would be stretched and would sacrifice the image quality.