Photo Guidelines

What guidelines should I know when I submit my photos?

To help us ensure the best quality of output for your photos, please follow these guidelines when submitting your photo:
  1. Please do not submit your photo as a link to an online photo service (e.g., Shutterfly, Kodak Gallery, Snapfish). Such services store the original, high resolution photo on their servers to use for printing but only show a low resolution version on the web, which is fine for viewing on a computer monitor but does not print with clarity.

  2. Always send the original photo from your digital camera, shot in the highest resolution your camera will support.  For digital photo newbies, photos taken in low resolution on the camera or cell phone or converted to a lower resolution version once on the computer simply means that there are fewer pixels per inch (or less photo per inch). While the naked eye may not notice a difference on the screen, the printer will print fewer pixels (or photo) per inch and the output will be very noticeable. Remember, the more pixels (or photo) per square inch, the less white space (which causes fuzziness) and thus a more beautiful reproduction onto paper.

    While it may be tempting to crop the photo, please don't.  Fresh Dirt designers may need the 'extra' portion of the photo to enhance the design or to write your text message over.  If you have very specific instructions, feel free to note that in the special instructions box when uploading your photo or send your photo and questions to

  3. When shooting the photo, be sure to use optimal lighting. Look for natural light - that is the best. Use the natural light projecting from windows and doorways on to your subject(s) for photos taken indoors. When outdoors, be sure to avoid direct sunlight on your subject(s) and if at all possible, wait for some cloud cover or dusk or dawn.  Also in your viewfinder, look out for shadows that may appear in awkward places or particularly bright areas that may print almost whited out.

    When using a flash, be sure to keep some distance between you and the subject(s). A good rule of thumb is about 3 feet apart.

  4. Always check your camera settings before you shoot a photo you intend to print - on stationery or as prints. Always select the highest resolution and largest file your camera will support (e.g., if you have a 5 megapixel camera, you should select to shoot your photo as a 5 megapixel file). This will reduce the number of photos you can store on your camera disk or storage media.

    If your camera offers settings for white balance, be sure to select the appropriate conditions - typically there is a setting for indoors/tungsten versus outdoors/sun. The correct setting can affect the color tone and produce an even better reproduction.

  5. Watch for motion - with babies especially, it is hard to notice motion because it may only be a hand or a foot that is moving. Motion captured on camera can print blurry for that body part. While difficult to get a baby to stay still for the perfect shot, try to shoot the photo in ample light, which will allow the camera to capture at a faster speed reducing blurriness from unnoticed motion. If indoors with no natural light, try using a flash about 3 feet away from the subject(s) to achieve this.

    The above guidelines are meant to be used by a hobby photographer in order to be combined with design and photo enhancement expert in order to produce the highest, professional quality photo card possible. But the above are general guidelines only and may not work in all cases. If the photo in question may not print to a desire quality, a Fresh Dirt designer will contact you to discuss your options. 

  6. Currently we support photos that are 8 MB or less in the following photo formats: .jpg, .tif, .pdf.

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