Photo Frequently Asked Questions
- What are some examples of great photographs?
- What are some examples of suboptimal photographs?
- How do I make my photo fit on the card?
- Why does my photo cut off when it's placed on a card?
- Will you edit my photo?
- What things should I know about photo cards?
Clear good quality photos will guarantee the best printing results. Good lighting is very important. Always check your camera resolution settings and set it to at least four (4) megapixels or more.
Blurry photos will not guarantee a good quality print. Blurry photos are usually the result of insufficient lighting or too much movement.
Blur spots, blurry photos, motion blur
Sufficient lighting allows the camera to capture a photo more quickly. Please use a flash or good lighting. It is best to always minimize any motion in a photo, as motion captured on camera can print blurry.
Low Contrast Photos
Low contrast photos usually occur when there is either too much light or too little light, which does not create enough depth. These types of photos usually print out very dull or flat on the cards, regardless of color tones (color or black and white or sepia). Tip: Try to stand about 3-4 feet away from the subject(s) while using a flash.
High Contrast Photos
High contrast photos have a portion of the photo that is very bright, "blown out" or too dark. Your printed cards will always appear slightly darker than what is viewed on your computer monitor due to light that comes through the monitor but does not come through on printed cards. Any type of contrast will always be magnified a bit more on the printed cards.
Tip: When shooting a photo, look for natural light. If you use light that projects through windows and doorways onto your subject(s), please make sure to have the blinds or doorways completely opened, to prevent any shadowing. You can always position your subject(s) directly facing the light to try to create a more even tone. When outdoors, be sure to avoid direct sunlight on your subject(s) because it will cause certain parts of your photo to be overexposed.
"Bright" or "blown out" areas
If we make adjustments to lighten the dark shadowed areas, the "bright" or "blown out" areas will get lighter and will be compromised.
Dark or shadowed areas
If we make adjustments to darken the photo, the dark shadowed areas will be darker and will be compromised.
Overexposure on the focus area
The main areas are overexposed due to the flash being too close and reflecting right off of the face. If we darken, everything in the background will be too dark.
Dark photos typically occur when there is not enough lighting or a flash was not used. When using a flash, be sure to keep some distance between you and the subject(s). A good rule of thumb is about three feet awayfrom the subject(s).
Tip: Sufficient lighting or use of flash is very important when shooting indoors or in locations that are not properly lit. Be sure to stand about 3-4 feet away from the subject(s).
Grainy photos usually occur when there is not enough lighting. If the photo is grainy to begin with, there is really no way to edit out the graininess whether in color or black and white.
Tip: Sometimes a photo may seem to look clear overall on the monitor. One way to watch out for graininess is to zoom in on focus areas, like the eyes or nose.
Pixelated photos occur when the resolution is too low. Photos that have a low resolution simply have fewer pixels (picture elements) per inch. While the naked eye may not notice a difference on the screen, once printed it is very noticeable. Remember, the higher the resolution, the less fuzzy the photo will look. When a photo is zoomed out, it may seem like a photo that meets the recommended resolution size, but the majority of time, the photo will need to be cropped in to just the subject. When we crop the photo, the resolution size becomes smaller and this usually causes pixelation.
Tip: One way to check for pixelation is to zoom into the photo according to how you would like to see the image and if you can see any grains, dots or little distortions, then the photo would not be the best for printing. We suggest if you want a close crop of a subject, please frame the camera’s preview image of your subject(s) from the chest up before you snap the picture on your camera.
The original photo below is 1536 x 2048 in pixel size, but when we crop or zoom in closer to just the subject’s face, the resolution size becomes 140 x 165 pixels. In addition, you can visually tell there is pixelation.
Some cards are designed for a certain size or orientation of your photograph. Here is an example of clear photos with the correct orientation that fits perfectly on the card with tight photo boxes.
Tip: The orientation of a photo will affect the way a photo is cropped into a photo box. Please keep in mind the space around the subject and make sure there is enough room to crop. Please keep in mind when we print the card, photos that print to the edge of the card may be cropped up to 1/8th of an inch.
Your photo may meet the recommended resolution size, but it will not fit properly in the pre-set photo box of the card you choose.
In the example below on the left, the family photo submitted does not fit into a tight vertical box. When placed into the baptism photo card below, the subjects on the sides get cropped off and covered by the scalloping. In the example on the right, the sibling photo does not fit into such a tight horizontal box. When placed into the baptism photo card below, the forehead of the older boy is cropped off and the chin is covered by the scallop design.
In the above example, please keep in mind when the card prints, we may crop up to 1/8th of an inch on any of the four sides of the card.
Tip: To fit a photo into such a tight photo box, it is always good to have the photo a bit more zoomed out, and have the subject(s) in the correct orientation to fit in the photo box.
In the below example, you can see that it is very difficult to squeeze many people into a square photo box.
Tip: When you have a number of individuals lined across in one photo, it will not fit in a square photo box unless the photo is more zoomed out. If four people were lined up alternating in two rows in the photo, then we would be able to fit them better into a square photo box.
Tip: Please keep in mind, a vertical photo best fits into a vertical photo box. A horizontal photo best fits into a horizontal photo box.
One of our designers will edit your photograph(s) to ensure best printing results. However, we do not offer extensive photo editing such as extending a background with detailing or taking out dirt or stains on a shirt. We do not offer extensive editing service because we cannot guarantee the detail editing will look natural or will meet your expectations. However, we do make many changes to make your photograph print with great results. You can submit your photo and be assured that our professional designers will make all the necessary enhancements. We will crop, eliminate red eye, brighten, sharpen, adjust color levels for best printing, or convert to black and white or sepia at no additional charge.
Example of editing we will do (remove red eye)
Example of editing we CAN NOT do:
We cannot remove the red net behind the subject because of the detailing around his hair. We cannot remove the dirt from the shirt.
- Always check your camera settings before you shoot your photo and if you do not know much about pixel sizes, select the highest resolution and largest file your camera will support. Please note that this will reduce the number of photos you can store on your storage media. If your camera offers settings for white balance, be sure to select the appropriate conditions - typically there is a setting for indoors/tungsten versus outdoors/sun. The correct settings can affect the color tone and produce a better reproduction.
- All photos are printed flat on premium, 100 or 110 lb. stationery card stock, not glossy photo paper. Keep in mind the size of the cards listed under each product specifications; most of our birth announcement cards are 4.15 x 5.40 inches (w x h).
- There are variations in every monitor due to the light that comes through. Since our designers’ monitors are calibrated for printing, what you view through your monitor may not be exactly what the designer views. When the cards print out, they will be a bit darker than what is seen through your monitor because there is no light that comes through on the photo cards. However, our designers will enhance your photos for optimal printing.
- Our commercial state-of-the-art printing presses will pick up every dot on a photo whereas a common ink jet printer does not print every precise dot or pixel. Therefore, any photo issues such as dark, blurry or grainy will not result in the best quality print.
- Please always make sure your photo does not have any of the bad qualities mentioned above. Otherwise, this may delay your order until we receive a response from you as to how to proceed with the photo cards. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our customer service department to consult with a designer.
- If you want to view the card after the designer has set the type and the photo(s) on your card and before it is printed, please make sure you select to have a typesetter's proof added to your order. The proof will be sent by the designer via email. The proof is an enlarged version of the actual card so that it is easy for proofing and previewing. Please keep in mind that when the card prints, the card is cropped up to 1/8th of an inch on all of the four sides.