Photoshop Files: 72 DPI vs. 300 DPI

Infamous for its versatile usages, Photoshop is compatible with many projects and occupations. And because it is a powerful and precise software, it has precise measurements and adjustments. This is where photo resolution comes in; which is how clear and sharp a photo appears. A photo’s resolution can be measured in DPI, or dots per inch. This measurement is used by printers to know how many dots they must rationally place when printed. Based on this post’s title, it’s safe to assume that 72 DPI probably isn’t as good as 300 DPI, because the more dots present, the better detailed the picture will be. But if it’s true, then why use 72 DPI? I wondered myself until I found out that 72 DPI is the standard measurement for computer screens. Or at least it was. It was a confusing fact because many computers are pretty big in size, making an image of 72 DPI seem small or at least blurry. And that’s when I researched some more and found that because technology has improved so much, that DPI differences aren’t noticed on device screens and therefore really don’t matter.

72 DPI

Photo by João Silas on Unsplash

Back in the 1980s when computers were a newer concept and smaller, Apple’s Macintosh had a 9 inch display and 72 DPI. And despite the evolution of computers, many people still hold onto the stigma that a computer’s resolution should be 72 DPI. So ignore what I said in the introduction: DPI is not a measurement for computer screens (anymore), but for printing out an image. Now that it’s clear, lets focus on image resolutions when printing. Image size and resolution go hand-in-hand, and the chosen DPI affects the overall size of the photo when printed. Additionally, an original image’s PPI-pixels per inch-can affect the image size when changed by the DPI. For example, if you have image with 500 x 500 pixels and change the resolution to 72 DPI, the image may grow or shrink in size to match the amount of dots you want an image to have. Overall, 72 DPI isn’t that bad, but what if you compare it to 300 DPI?

300 DPI

Photo by Bank Phrom on Unsplash

Just for clarifications (because I’m we’re both a bit confused), an image with the resolution of 72 DPI looks fine on a computer screen so don’t bother changing it for a better photo unless it’s going to be printed. In this case, most photographers print their photos with the resolution of 300 DPI. This is the standard industry quality because the higher amount of dots will make the image more detailed and sharper. If the image resolution as 72 DPI, then the photo would be a good size, but pretty blurry. Now you’re probably wondering why Photoshop is in the title when it was only mentioned once. When printing an image, you can edit an image’s resolution on Photoshop before printing it. How to change image resolution: Image > Image Size > Resolution. That being said, I can conclude this blog here. We covered the differences, the myths, and the methods of image resolution. Hopefully, you got the gist of it but if not here’s the websites I used for DPI and the differences of 72 and 300 DPI. Good Luck!