Best Practices to Insert Photos into A Document for Optimal Print

I’m working on a food menu (A4 size pages) and will be inserting a lot of photos of menu items.
How do I know what the best resolution/ppi is for a given photo?
What resolution should I make sure it is so it still looks good in print?

Put simply you would need to use 300 ppi photos to include in your compositions. The image’s resolution does not depend on how big the images are – whether it’s 4cm high or 7cm high, it doesn’t matter. What really matters is the expected viewing distance. Since you are working on a food menu, I presume that these would be placed on a restaurant table and guests would be reading these menus at about 30cm away (distance between eye and print), hence the 300 ppi figure.

For details on how to calculate these ppi values yourself, refer to our discussion on calculating the right resolution for prints.

Sure you can skimp on resolution to reduce strains on your computer. But if your menus comes out as blurry, would this turn away the guests? Of course that depends on whether it’s “fine dining” restaurant or street food. But I can assure you that when you don’t have enough pixels in your menu’s photos, your menu is going to look cheap.

Apart from resolution, you should also pay attention to color balance problems and make sure you fix them before giving the composition to the printing press. Sometimes images can be too red, blue-ish, or look washed out. Refer to our article on preparing images for printing for more details.

So go ahead, have a one-copy test print of your composition before ordering the whole batch for the entire restaurant. See if it looks good, test it under the lighting conditions of the restaurant at normal dining hours. If it looks blurry, too dark, or the color is a bit off, you can find the fixes are from this article.

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