We often have clients who want to include images of various sorts in their book. And they have found great images on the Internet that exactly convey what they intend in their book, but they don’t realize that ownership and image resolution are two important questions to be asked.
The first question we have to ask the client is “Who owns the image?” Occasionally the client don’t even remember where they found the image because it was so easy to just click on the image and download it. We then ask the client to identify exactly where the image was found and send us the URL. When that fails we use Google’s Reverse Image Search. This tool allows you to search the Internet for an image you have on your computer. The odds are pretty good that you will find the same or similar images of various resolutions, which brings us to the next question.
The second question is the image resolution. It should be at least 300 dpi or dots per inch for a print book. Images found on websites typically are low resolution (72 dpi) so that the page will load quickly on the computer monitor or smartphone. Another name for the “dot” is a pixel, which is the smallest “dot” of color or “picture element” in an image. Each pixel is a square with a single color, as you can see below. This image is a blowup of the area circled in red on the image at the top of the blog.
The image used for this blog is a royalty-free stock image titled “Majestic Beauty” by Kirilart that I purchased from Fotolia as a low image resolution because it would be displayed in our blogs. The image you see at the top of the blog is an 382 X 314 (0.1 MP) image. This means that the image is made up of 382 pixels wide by 314 pixels high, for a total of 120,262 pixels. And that is the low resolution image! I could have purchased a higher image resolution that was 2776 X 2284 (6.3 MP) at 50 times the cost of the lower image resolution I chose. But I might need an image of that high image resolution if I want to include it in a print book.
The last piece of this example is a review of the rights that were purchased with the image because Kiril Stanchev owns the copyright for the image. Fotolia’s Terms and Conditions of Use gives the long answer to this question. The shopping cart offers a shorter explanation of what you can and cannot do with the image if you purchase the license to use it. My license lets me use the image in print or electronic documents and display on websites as long as they are not adult or dating websites. I may also modify the image, which I have done in the cropped blowup that shows individual pixels.
In conclusion, image ownership and resolution quality are critical considerations for any type of publication.
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