Your resolution will never come back once you close out of Photoshop, or any other photo editing software program.
It is very easy to degrade the quality of your photo and make it impossible to enlarge any part of your image if you don’t know how to work with photo editing software.
Rework the copy, not the original
Nobody seems to understand resolution or how to correctly save digital images. If you take one skill away from this article it would be-save your original in TIFF or RAW and do not ever make changes to it. Make a copy of the original and work on that.
Preserving megapixel and unaltered image data is important because UFO investigators like the detail a high resolution image can give them for research. Also, a big controversy in the UFO community is how easily digital photos can be altered using photo editing software like Photoshop. You may have heard the term, “This image was photoshopped.” This is where it comes from.
Okay, so you got all of that but your images are so big when they are downloaded to the computer they have to be resized to print and they have to be resized to send to colleagues or they really need to be resized to place on a Web site.
You can still do this with a copy of the original, and you should.
Change the image quality setting on your digital camera
Let us start at the beginning of the resolution chain-your digital camera. You can’t make up resolution. The resolution is the megapixel you are shooting with in your digital camera and the higher the resolution the better.
Resolution is described by the quantity of megapixel, and more is better. Megapixel, resolution, is the reason you bought your digital camera, although you may not have known why.
It’s important to have the highest quality image settings on your digital camera at all times. Find the setting on your digital camera called image quality, and set it at the highest setting.
My 10 megapixel digital SLR Rebel XSI cameras function for image quality is called simply quality.
My camera gives me the highest option at 12m 4247×2848, and the lowest option at 3.4m 2256x 1504. I always set my camera on the highest setting 12m 4247×2848. Fewer higher quality images are better than a bunch of lower quality images.
The highest image quality setting means fewer pictures on a memory card. A lower quality setting means a lot more pictures. Buy another memory card if you want to take more pictures or buy several. They can be inexpensive.
Refer to your digital camera user manual if you can’t find this option on your camera. If that doesn’t work take it to a local camera store and see if they can assist you.
Other digital camera options that will impact the number of photographs you take on your digital camera is the type of digital image output. Most of you will take pictures using the JPEG option. You may also have TIFF and RAW options. JPEG is the smallest file size but the image degrades every time you use it, move it, download it, or save it. The other images are larger file sizes so this is the tradeoff.
If you are serious about taking pictures I recommend shooting in TIFF or RAW. However, before you go into the field to sky fish practice downloading your TIFF or RAW pictures to your computer. RAW pictures require special software and you need to make sure you have it. Also, your c: drive will fill up fast. Get an external hard drive.
Once you take pictures with your camera you need to download them to your computer (or external hard drive). Once downloaded, you should archive your images, rename them, and resize them for printing or for the Web or to send to family and friends. If you took pictures in JPEG you should save the original as a TIFF. TIFF is a more structurally stable image file and will hold up over time. You can shoot RAW with your digital camera but you cannot save a TIFF or JPEG to RAW once you have downloaded your files to your computer.
Use good photo editing software and keep image quality integrity
Also, photo editing software is not created equal. The software that came bundled with your camera may not give you the options you need. The ability to change resolution manually is the reason I believe Adobe Photoshop Elements, or CS3 or other PhotoShop programs, is a cut above the rest. Most Adobe PhotoShop programs allow you to manually resize images but these functions may be in different locations, however.
Resolutions is expressed in dpi (dots per inch) and as a quantity of megapixel.
For printing = 300 dpi or higher
For the Web or to send to family and friends through e-mail = 72 dpi
Remember, what you see on the screen in Adobe Photoshop is not the actual size of the picture. You have to manually resize the image