Before I Was Famous: Is Your DPI Under The Legal Limit?
So let’s go ahead and get this first question out of the way: what is DPI? DPI stands for Dots Per Inch, and refers to the sharpness of a photo. Now then, how does that apply to you, the musician? As you venture along your journey into infamousy it will be important to show people who you are. The music is one thing, albeit the most important one, but even before somebody listens to you, they’re going to see a picture of your band. That picture might be on your website, on your Facebook, your Twitter, or even one of the blogs you want to get coverage in. It’s pretty crucial to have a good publicity photo, but beyond that, the photo needs to be in the right format.
Seems like a lot to remember, but I promise it’ll be worth your time and attention. Let’s look at this a different way, and with some more common language. DPI is basically the fancy way of discussing the resolution of your photo. High-resolution pictures have more dots per inch, which makes the image much sharper, where low-resolution pictures have less dots per inch and essentially less of the photo for the computer to generate. If it still seems a little confusing think of it this way: high-res means higher quality, while low-res means lower quality.
Your publicist will do his or her best job to arm you with the tools you need for success, but you have to give them the best too. When blogs receive hundreds of music submissions a day they might pass on your band simply on the basis that your photo didn’t meet their resolution standard. They won’t want to put an inferior image on the website that dilutes the quality of the whole. The good news for bands is that you won’t have to worry about this if you’re getting professional photos taken. Most reputable photographers will understand what DPI means, and when you ask them to send you a 300dpi version of your photos they’ll be more than happy to oblige. This not only highlights your band, but it highlights their photography skills as well. In a way, everybody stands to benefit from the quality of your photo: the band, the publicist, the journalist, the blog, and the photographer.
What if you took the photo yourself, from your iPhone or Droid? Most smartphones have an “HDR” setting or automatically take a high-resolution photo. Make sure that the files you send are ready to go that way you save both your time and that of the publicist. What if you pulled a photo from Facebook? Though perfectly fine for your own personal use, this isn’t always the safest technique. Even though the photo might not seem pixelated on your computer screen, another website might have a different format that stretches the image, and if the DPI is too low, then there won’t be enough image to fill in the spaces, leading to blurry pictures.
I know that this week’s topic is a little confusing, but it’s critical to the success of your band’s image and branding. If you aren’t sure how to get a 300dpi version of a photo don’t be afraid to ask your photographer for help or check online. Even better, make sure your photographer knows you need 300dpi photos before the photo shoot. There are a lot of great resources, and it just takes a few minutes to make sure your images are good to go.
Green Light Go: Check out how your photos compare to your favorite band’s!
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To check your DPI: "right click" on a photo file on your desk top, and click on "Properties."
Here's what your iPhone screen will look like when selecting HDR. Most of the time it is automatically selected without you having to make any adjustments.