Friday, April 24, 2009

File Types: What's the difference between JPG, PSD, TIFF, and which do I use when?

I've had some good questions about file types and sizes...
I'll be breaking this topic into short bits over the next few posts, as it covers a lot of territory.

The basic issue is:
Where will the photo ultimately be used?
Print or Web?

Print Requirements:
(professional printing, office/home printing)

  • Larger files in high resolution (300 dpi)
  • Print files for professional printers must be CMYK* mode (I will do another post about color space.)
  • Appropriate file types can be PSD, TIFF, a high resolution JPG, and sometimes PDF.
    (Which I'll discuss in more detail in another post.)
Web Requirements
(Computer viewed images websites, blogs, email, etc.)

  • Smaller files in low resolution (72 dpi): this is so they load fast and it doesn't take ten minutes for your blog to show up with pictures.
  • Color space for Internet images is RGB mode.
  • The appropriate file type for photos of artwork is most commonly a low resolution JPG.

Tomorrow: 'Lossy' versus 'Lossless' file types



  1. Nice concise explanation and differentiation between print and web requirements... I hope your discussion of lossy vs lossless is as straightforward -- I've had it explained a couple of times but don't really understand the concept.

  2. thanks again...I am here and following, R

  3. Thanks, Charlene and Cathy! Hope I can offer some helpful tips here.