Preparing Files for Print

The following guide includes instructions and recommend file properties when preparing your image files for print.


High quality JPEGs are perfect for submitting to photographic labs for optimum print quality whilst also ensuring your files are compatible with the majority of commercial print devices. When saved at a high quality setting, the associated JPEG compression is unnoticeable when compared with TIFFs.

When exporting your final image for print, we recommend using a Photoshop compression level of 10 (11 & 12 offer no quality benefit but do increase file size exponentially) and a quality setting of between 93 and 100 when exporting from Lightroom. Images should be edited in RAW, TIFF or PSD format and only exported as JPEG when ready to submit for printing.
Images should ideally be sized at the required print dimensions at 300ppi (pixels per inch) and saved at Photoshop Level 10 JPEG as Baseline (Standard). However, lower resolutions can still result in a high quality print*.

*Resampling / Interpolation (adding pixels) to an image will not necessarily improve the print quality.
Images should be saved as 8-bit JPEGs and use either sRGB, Adobe RGB or Pro Photo RGB colour spaces.
Care should be taken when naming your files to avoid any compatibility issues when printing.

Permissible Characters

Please DO NOT use the above characters in file names

The following illegal characters should be avoided.
! < > * ~ # % & + , : ; ‘ “ { } [ ]

Limiting filenames to alphanumeric characters is good practice, while using an underscore as a separator is also perfectly acceptable.

Rachel_Mark_001.jpg is an example of a suitable filename.


Character Length

Please ensure filenames do not exceed 30 characters in length.
File Sequencing

Where the running order of printed images is important it is wise to number your files consistently.

The filenames in column A in the table opposite would result in the incorrect order as most computer systems look first at each character in turn (left to right) when sorting occurs. This means IMG_10 follows IMG_1 as they both have “1” after the prefix and file IMG_2 doesn’t appear until IMG_19 has been sorted.

Using a naming system similar to Column B in the table shown will ensure the files are sorted in the correct order. Zeros fill the numerical part of the name to give the same number of characters on all files. Free programs such as CKRename can easily name files in this manner.
Column A (avoid) Column B (correct)
IMG_1 IMG_001
IMG_10 IMG_002
IMG_11 IMG_003
IMG_12 IMG_004
IMG_13 IMG_005
IMG_14 IMG_006
IMG_15 IMG_007
IMG_16 IMG_008
IMG_17 IMG_009
IMG_18 IMG_010
IMG_19 IMG_011
IMG_2 IMG_012
IMG_20 IMG_013
IMG_21 IMG_014
IMG_3 IMG_015
IMG_4 IMG_016
IMG_5 IMG_017
IMG_6 IMG_018