Print, Design & Websites

Posted: April 11, 2017   •   Posted in: Graphic Design, Printing

Are photos taken on a smartphone good enough to be used to promote your business?

The quality of the camera in a smartphone has dramatically improved over recent years. We are often asked whether photos taken on a phone will be good enough to use when we are designing a job for a client.

Well, the answer is, it depends!

Image quality is vitally important when we create a design so we thought we would give you a few pointers when it comes to taking photographs.

Sensor size

Sensor size is of vital importance when taking photographs. The part of a camera which captures the light coming through the lens, the sensor also processes the information, converting the optical image into digital data that is used to create the final image. There is an old saying that bigger is better, and in terms of sensor size, that’s most certainly true.

Size matters

Digital images are made up of millions of tiny elements called pixels. The colour of each individual pixel is determined by the light that is processed by photosites on the sensor. A digital SLR camera has a sensor nearly 55 times larger than a smartphone which means there is more space for each pixel, so each one can be bigger and collect much more light.

Camera Sensor Sizes

Iphone 6S sensor size = 1/3.0″   //  Samsung Galaxy sensor size = 1/2.6″    //  LG G3 sensor size = 1/3.06″

As you can see, there is a vast difference in size between the sensor on a smartphone and one on a top-of-the-range digital SLR camera. A bigger sensor allows for larger pixels and a higher resolution (more of those pixels per inch). Or in layman’s terms – higher quality images.

Web or print?

These days, smartphones are capable of taking great quality images. This is especially extraordinary given their size. Gone are the days of large wooden cameras with bellows and plates!

For web purposes, images captured on a smartphone can work well. They’ll look great on a digital display as these will displayed at 72 dpi.

Unfortunately for graphic design needs where we are litho printing a brochure, for example, the smaller sensor size means that, currently, the image quality produced by most smartphones is still not high enough for high quality print jobs. When the image is enlarged, clarity will be lost making images look fuzzy and blurry.

Our recommendations

Technology is improving all the time and so it’s worth checking with us to see if things have changed. If you’re going to take a photo always use the highest quality settings on your camera or phone. Typically if the file size is less than 1MB you are going to restrict how the image can be used.

  1. For web use, smartphones can work well (but again use the best quality settings to give you more options).
  2. For printed work, a good quality digital camera is more ideal, especially if you are going to have the image enlarged onto a poster for example.


While a camera with a larger sensor will be physically bigger and more expensive, their higher-quality output means they’re ideal if the image produced is to be blown up to poster size. Smartphones are catching up though. Apple’s ‘Shot on iPhone’ billboard campaign proved that in the right conditions, images captured on iPhones can look great on a large display, and with the huge advances in technology, their output will, almost certainly, soon improve to a level where images of this quality are the norm.

So for now, digital SLR cameras are by far the best option for capturing ‘large’ images suitable for printing but watch this space as your mobile phone could become a more than credible alternative.


Don’t have a good quality camera? Don’t despair – Kall Kwik Bury St Edmunds can help

At Kall Kwik we can take professional quality photographs for you, and we work with professional photographers who specialise in a range of fields to really capture the image you require. Alternatively, we also have access to an extensive range of stock images through our subscriptions to many image libraries around the world. If you need an image, the chances are we can find it!

We can also help if you want professional looking product images for your ecommerce site. Our cut out service means your product is displayed on a full white background, allowing it to sell itself!

For more information, give us a call today on 01284 752266.

Sensor size graph used under creative commons

Read more: ‘Do your photographs showcase your products?’ »

Read more: ‘The Finishing Touch’ »

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