What size stock photo should I buy? Today's online services allow you to choose a variety of sizes, depending on your project needs. This will save you the hassle of downloading an overly large image and then resizing it. Instead, you can choose a resolution that's in the ballpark of your project — be it a blog, brochure, or business presentation — and then use the file the way it is. Below, we've outlined three typical image resolutions, common applications for these sizes, as well as some smart practices for the stock photo consumer.
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Low Resolution Images
Typically, these small files will range from ~150KB to 300KB in size, depending on their DPI (dots per inch) value. We recommend using these for quarter-page (or smaller) website layouts, email attachments, and small print media. If you're creating a larger brochure or custom stationery, though, the final product will look much better with a higher resolution image at 300dpi. Almost any of these low-res images will be large enough for digital presentations as well.
Medium Resolution Images
Next, these mid-sized stock images are perfect for large website spreads and many print applications. Ranging from 300KB to 1MB, these can be used for documents, stationery, and business cards. All of these files are 300dpi in size.
Large and Super Resolution Images
Finally, the large images will work for almost any project, including huge posters, full-screen web spreads, artistic prints, and magazines. At Shutterstock, these can range between 3 and 30MB in size. Some stock photographers will also upload a "Super"-sized option, which may be a few MB larger. In any case, these high resolution images have more than enough pixels to handle the vast majority of print applications.