Resolution requirements for printing

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SmugMug prints through different labs. Fortunately for all our customers, the recommended workflow is the same: Add your full-resolution images to SmugMug. The number of pixels they have when they come out of the camera should be the number of pixels they have when you add them to SmugMug. We'll send the full-resolution photos to our print labs, and they'll optimize the image for their specific printer to make sure the quality is top-notch.

Wondering about DPI? You don't have to. It won't matter at all for displaying on SmugMug or printing.

How Do I Speed Up Uploads?

If you find that adding photos to SmugMug is prohibitively slow, consider compressing your image files. It sounds tricky, but it's pretty simple and can really get things moving without compromising print quality. See #3 on our speed help page for details.

Note: This still doesn't change the pixel count of your images. It simply makes your files smaller.

Is There Anything Else I Can Do for High Volume?

If you're uploading hundreds or thousands of images a week, it might be necessary to speed up uploading even further. In addition to compressing your images (see above), you can reduce the pixel count to further shrink your file size. However, this will reduce the quality of your images, so we highly recommend coupling this tactic with our proof-delay feature.

You can compress your images and resize to 2200 pixels on the longest side. That will be a high enough pixel count to sell any of our print sizes. The crucial last step is proofing each order before it goes to the lab. At that point you'll want to replace the images ordered with your full-resolution images that are less compressed. More tips.

Minimum Requirements

To help customers, SmugMug's shopping cart only shows a print size if the original image meets our minimum resolution requirements for that size. Keep in mind that these are minimums. Please read "Recommended Settings," below.​​

Tip: Making photo cards? Requirements vary by design, so check this gallery if you're not sure. Similarly, resolution requirements for photo gifts can be found in our catalog.

Recommended Settings

Suppose your photo is 2000 x 3000 pixels, and you expect your admirers to order anywhere from 6" prints to 40" prints. What should you do?

Our recommendation is to leave it alone. Our labs will upsample/downsample as needed, and they can do it better than all but the most serious experts.

We can feel your worry and doubt:  "But ... a 30-inch print is only 100 dots per inch ..."  We routinely show the following print at 80 dpi, 24"x30" to passionate and fussy photographers. Their only comment about quality is "stunning":


We've only seen two prints in a million returned for too few pixels, and they were 400x600 pixel images from cheap consumer cameras, printed at 8x10. Here are the reasons prints are returned.

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