In this post I want to compare some of the common places architectural photography is used against their pixel size. This is useful for knowing what export sizes to use, but it also illustrates some of the trends occurring because of the internet, and also how many megapixels your camera needs to achieve them.

web size for architectural photography

Pixel size: 960px wide
File Size: Around 300kb (Jpeg)
Typical uses: Websites
Mega Pixel image required:  0.6
Framing Predominately Landscape
Notes  960 is the standard web grid size and a common size for web sliders you often see at the top of a website. 1280px is another common size, but these wider sizes are problematic because they either require panorama type images, or they take up a lot of vertical screen real estate. Even if you upload larger images, many websites will save lower resolution copies for actual use.

Iphone

Pixel size: 640×1136 (Iphone 5)
File Size: Around 450kb (Jpeg)
Typical uses: Websites and saved images
Mega Pixel image required:  0.7
Framing Landscape or portrait, but landscape is more often used on websites
Notes  Even though smart phones are physically small, their resolution is very high and presumable designed to match desktop screens.

 

Ipad

Pixel size: 2048 x 1536
File Size: Around 1.7mb (Jpeg)
Typical uses: Websites and saved images
Mega Pixel image required:  3.1
Framing Landscape or portrait, but landscape is more often used on websites
Notes  The ipad retina is really pushing the boundaries of web resolution. It is not far off the resolution of it’s big brother 27″ Imac but displays websites in a much smaller physical space. Many websites had to update the resolution of their logos and images when the Ipad Retina was released. The file size required to deliver this resolution however is too large for many web connections around the world, so while this is the future, it may not be wise to update all images for use on the Ipad just yet.

 

Imac 27 size for architectural photography

Pixel size: 2560×1400
File Size: Around 1-3mb (Jpeg)
Typical uses: Full screen websites, screen savers, in house presentations.
Mega Pixel image required:  3.7
Framing Always landscape
Notes The Imac 27″ is one of the largest screens available so I use it as a standard for maximum digital size. Typical uses of this size would be full screen websites, in house presentations, or screen savers. The biggest challenge of this size file however is bandwidth. Even with fast internet these files load relatively slowly and can be 10x larger than the standard 960px web size.

 

 

magazine front cover for architectural photography

Page size A4
DPI 300
Pixel size: 3510 (h) x 2490 (w)
File size:  Around 5mb (Jpeg) or 50mb (Tif)
Typical uses: Magazine front page or full page image
Mega Pixel image required:  8.7
Framing Portrait
Notes  What surprised me is that some smart phones now have enough megapixels for a full page print!

 

 

magazine double cover size for architectural photography

Page size  A3
DPI 300
Pixel size:  3510(H) x 4980(w)
File size:  Around 8mb (Jpeg) or 100mb (Tif)
Typical uses:  Magazine double spreads or A3 presentation boards
Mega Pixel image required:  17.5
Format Landscape
Notes Almost all entry level DSLR’s now have enough MP for a double page magazine spread.

 

 

Presentation board size for architectural photography

Page size A2
DPI  300
Pixel size:  7020×4950
File size:  Around 12mb (Jpeg) or 200mb (Tif)
Typical uses:  Presentation or awards boards
Mega Pixel image required:  34.7
Format Landscape or portrait
Notes An A2 presentation, or awards board is probably as large an image as architects will typically need, except of course for a bill board for a developer. You’re going to be pushing the limits of most DLSR cameras out there, except for the Nikon D800, and in all likely hood you’ll either have to enlarge the image with software, stitch several images together in a panorama, or print at a lower resolution. That’s of course if you want to have a single image on your board. If you have multiple images then the pixel strain is reduced for each individual image. The other consideration is how far away the viewer will be from the print. The further they are away the more you can get away with.