Photos sold on EyeEm Market get used in all kinds of environments – some accompany online articles, others make it onto book covers or into advertisement campaigns. That’s why we encourage photographers to upload images in the largest possible size – to make sure they have the necessary resolution to be used wherever an image buyer might want to.
In turn, that means an image with a large resolution has a much higher chance of selling than a small one, simply because of its versatility. But image resolutions can be a tricky business, since they aren’t immediately obvious: An image that looks great on your camera screen or phone display may not look so good when blown up to a larger screen or billboard display.
On EyeEm Market, we automatically reject all photos that are uploaded in a size smaller than one megapixel. Chances are that you have never had that problem, since most modern cameras and even phones take pictures in a much larger resolution. But that doesn’t mean the images you upload are the largest they can be: There are a few common mistakes you might be making that result less-than-ideal image sizes. Read on for a brief introduction about technical terms – or scroll past it for the lessons.
A Quick Primer on (Mega)pixels and Resolution
As a photographer, you most like want to focus on shooting rather than grapple with technical terms. But it helps to understand the following terms when editing and uploading your images.
Pixels. The smallest unit making up a digital photo. Pixels are square, have one color each, and together form the mosaic that makes up the image. Digital photos contain millions of pixels.
Megapixels. A million pixels. This number is used to denote the size of your camera’s sensor, which determines the size of its photos. Most modern camera phones have at least 5 megapixels, meaning that the images they take are made up of 5 million pixels. As a rule of thumb: the more megapixels a camera has, the more detail the resulting images have.
Resolution. A term popularly used to describe the detail an image holds. In digital photography, it is shorthand for “pixel resolution”, which is size the image’s sides in pixels, e.g 3000 x 2000. If you do the math, you’ll notice that this resolution means 6 megapixels.
Check your camera settings.
This is a simple one. Digital cameras usually save your photos in RAW or JPEG formats. RAW automatically saves photos in the largest possible size, but needs to be converted into a different format when you want to edit it or upload it to EyeEm Market. If you are using JPEG, ensure you have your camera set to output the largest possible size by choosing the best image quality available. That doesn’t just mean that your photos aren’t compressed too much, but also that they are saved in the largest possible resolution and make full use of your camera’s capabilities.
Mind the editing tools.
Popular apps such as VSCO or Snapseed may be a great way to enhance your images, but they also require you to first import and later export your photos. When exporting, you are presented with a dialogue that prompts you to choose a photo sizes. While it makes sense to save a smaller version of your photo to send in an e-mail, you should always use the largest size setting when exporting your photo to upload it to EyeEm. Of course, you can also edit your photos in the EyeEm app itself, which ensures that the image won’t be downscaled.
Careful with Instagram images.
Photos published on Instagram are resized to a resolution of x1080 pixels. This makes sense for them to load quickly on mobile connections, but it’s not a size that sells well. Please don’t try to reimport your Instagram photos to EyeEm if you want to sell them – use the original image instead.
Dive into your photos.
Not sure how large your image his? Uncertain whether it has been resized? Apps like Snapseed can tell you the resolution of your photo. Or use Lab for an in-depth view of all the data associated with your pictures.
Don’t crop too much.
Sometimes, the thing you want to photograph is just too small, or just too far away from you and your camera. It is tempting to snap a photo anyway and correct the framing later – by cropping the photo. Although a useful tool, remember that cropping your photos will reduce their size – and thereby your chances of being able to sell the image. Try to get as close to your subject as possible to eliminate having to cut off large sections of your photos.
Bonus: Don’t use the digital zoom.
Many phone cameras offer the ability to zoom in when taking a photo. But since the phone isn’t outfitted with a zoom lens, it can’t optically zoom in – and instead mimics the effect by digitally upscaling the image. The resulting already look a bit washed out on phones, and while they have the correct image size, their image quality doesn’t suffice for us to offer them on Market.
Want to learn more about selling on Market? Read on:
Header image by @tingkwok.