Photo size matters for tour operators. You have to balance the demands of the customer with your business requirements and constraints. Your customers require a photo that is of high enough resolution to do what they want with it. You have to balance that with your restraints like storage, speed of service and internet. What is the best photo resolution and size for a tour operator to use?
The higher the photo resolution, the crisper and more detailed the photo will be. This is great, however, it directly translates into a bigger file size. The larger the file size the more storage you will need, the longer it will take to transfer from the camera onto your computer, the more time it will take to upload to the cloud and bandwidth it will consume.
With the right balance you can save time, money and sell more photos. That is why tour operators need find the right photo resolution balance.
First, take a look at your camera. You will notice in the settings that you can select the photo quality. Typically the options will be High, Medium and Low or something similar. Notice the megapixel size change along with the resolution. We will explore the best photo setting for a tour operator.
To understand the optimal resolution, let’s dive deeper into how a guest will use their tour photos.
Our data shows that guest most commonly view and use of tour photos online/social media and from mobile devices. This defines the primary use case for your photos.
On Facebook timeline photos’ resolution are 690 x 720 pixels, or 0.69 megapixels. This translates to a file size of only 101 kilobytes if saved as a JPEG file.
JPEG or (JPG) is the most common photo format because it maintains the high quality of the photo and save space by using a compression algorithm to reduce the file size. This will help optimize your operations and provide a product you can give to your guests. Most cameras already default to JPEG.
Instagram photos are 612 x 612 pixels or 0.37 megapixels, which translates to only 76.5 kilobyte file size. Twitter’s shared photos are just 375 x 375 pixels or 0.14 megapixels, which translates to only 28.7 kilobyte file size.
These photo resolutions and file sizes should be your lower limit. Anything lower and your guests won’t be able to use photos for their favourite purpose. An image would take less than a second to upload each photo if your internet speed was 1.024 Mbps.
To help you save time, PicThrive automatically optimizes photos for viewing on the web via mobile and other devices. This means that you do not have to worry about the primary use case of your photos and can optimize for your guests other uses.
Let’s explore your top limit, as some of your clients expect to be able to print their photos. This minority wants to print their photos for a variety of reasons like scrapbooking, cards, canvas and other fun gifts. As a tour operator you need to be able to provide this ability to your guests or else, let’s face it, they will get very upset.
Our data shows that the most common prints purchased are 4 x 6 photo prints. According to Shutterfly the best resolution to use in this case would be 1024 x 768 pixels or 0.8 megapixels. This translates to a JPEG file size of 161 KB. It would take 1 second to upload this photo to the cloud with an internet speed of 1.024 Mbps.
If your guest wants to order the largest format print that Shutterfly offers, which is 20 x 30 print, it recommends a photo resolution of 2000 x 1600 pixels or 3.2 megapixels. This translates to a JPEG file size of 653 KB. It would take 5 seconds to upload this photo to the cloud with an internet speed of 1.024 Mbps.
Other sites do recommend higher resolutions for photos of that size. We found a great resource that tells you the resolution of a picture and the quality of the print it will produce. Check it out here.
It suggests for excellent quality of a photo at 20 x 30 size, it should have a resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels or 8 megapixels. This translates to a JPEG file size of 1.63 MB. It would take 14 seconds to upload this photo to the cloud with an internet speed of 1.024 Mbps.
Shutterfly says a resolution slightly higher (3600 x 2400 pixels) would be appropriate for 24 x 36 canvas prints, fleece photo blankets and even woven photo blankets. This translates to a an 8 megapixel picture with a JPEG file size of 1.76 megabytes. It would take 15 seconds to upload this photo to the cloud with an internet speed of 1.024 Mbps.
HD & 4K TV
You may also display your tour photos on a large screen HDTV or 4K TV for all your guests see.
HDTV screens are most commonly 1920 x 1080 pixels or 1280 x 720 pixels. This translates to a maximum JPEG file size of 423 kilobytes. It would take 2 seconds to upload this photo to the cloud with an internet speed of 1.024 Mbps.
4K TV screens are most commonly 3840 x 2160 pixels. This translates to a maximum JPEG file size of 1.69 megabytes. It would take 14 seconds to upload this photo to the cloud with an internet speed of 1.024 Mbps.
These are maximum resolution limits and could be lowered slightly. Lower resolution photos will be indistinguishable and you should test to see what the results are on your own TV.
Download to Mobile
Some users want to do download photos and keep them on their phone. With mobile devices, let’s look at the iPhone 6s with retina display. It has a resolution of 1334 x 750. This means if you were to have an image that would take up the entire screen at full resolution, it would translate to 8.29 megapixels. The photo file size would be 1.69 megabytes. It would take 14 seconds to upload this photo to the cloud with an internet speed of 1.024 Mbps.
Selecting a slightly lower picture setting will be indistinguishable from the naked eye, so that figure can be reduced if you want.
As a tour operator you want to provide photos to your guests so they can do what they want with them. Although the primary use of photos is for sharing and viewing online, you have to provide a high enough resolution so that it be can printed. This does not mean that you have to select the maximum megapixel setting on your camera.
We discovered that maximum resolution that balances the customer demands with your operational constraints is a maximum of 3264 x 2448 pixels or 8 megapixels. The photo can be used to produce a high quality prints of all sizes. The file size would be 1.63 megabytes and take 14 seconds to upload at 1.024 Mbps internet speed. It would produce high quality prints for all sizes for your guests.
If you upload 30 photos after a tour, it would take 7 minutes to get these photos to the cloud with an upload speed of 1.024 Mbps. That time can be reduced to 3.5 minutes if your internet speed was 2.048 Mbps.
This is the maximum limit for your photos. The resolution can be significantly reduced, helping you to save bandwidth and upload time. You will be still able to provide high quality tour photos to your guests.
As some of your guests will want to print photos, we suggest to set your minimum resolution to Shutterfly’s recommended level for a 20 x 30 print. This would be a photo resolution of 2000 x 1600 pixels or 3.2 megapixels. This translates to a JPEG file size of 653 KB.
If you upload 30 photos after a tour, it would take 2:48 minutes to get these photos to the cloud with an upload speed of 1.024 Mbps. That time can be reduced to 1:24 minutes if your internet speed was 2.048 Mbps.
If you use a service like PicThrive, photos will be automatically optimized for their primary use case, the web. With PicThrive your guests can also easily get their higher resolution photos for printing or storage offline. PicThrive helps your guests save time and your team maximize photo sales.
Calculate your photo resolution and file size here. Click here.
Calculate the amount of time it will take to upload photos here. Click here.
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