One of the most frequent requests I get from clients is to grab images from their website for printed pieces. Or, they just send me small images that were once on some website (or compressed in a Word document) and expect them to be ok for print.
There’s a reason that doesn’t work (well). Images that are viewed digitally are typically viewed at 72dpi (sometimes 96dpi). DPI stands for dots per inch. For print, you need a minimum of 300dpi in order for the image to print sharply. To see a how the translates, below is and example of how different resolutions will print.
If you take a photo off of a camera, it may say 72dpi, but be ok since the overall dimensions are large enough. For example, an image that is 36″ x 24″ and 72dpi would be the same as an image that is 8.64″ x 5.76″ when the resolution is changed to 300dpi. If the image is 5″ x 7″ at 72dpi, you couldn’t go up to an 8″ x 10″ size at 300dpi without it looking blurry like the right image above (you can go down in dimension size, but not up).
Unless you work with resolution on a day-to-day basis, it’s a bit tricky to understand. I hope my examples help.