I’m what digital photographers might call a “pixel peeper,” which is to say I am known to edit my photos at 100-400% in Photoshop, wasting away hours to make sure nothing is out of order.
When printing my photos, this effory gets pushed to a new level of obsessiveness. Before I even start editing, I select my editing profile (ProPhoto RGB, 16 bit), choose my paper (Epson Premium Semimatte Photo Paper), manage printing environment humidity and temperature (50% relative humidity, 75°F), and finally soft-proof a test print.
It isn’t until all of those measures are met that I actually start printing my images.
However, when it came to uploading images to my website, I didn’t pay nearly as much attention to detail. I used a single Photoshop action that exported my images at Adobe sRGB. I chose 72 pixels per inch (PPI) at 1920 pixels in the longest dimension. One click and it was done. This was all well and good until monitors got larger, and higher pixel density displays emerged.
Those 1920 pixel wide images that used to fill computer screens are no longer sharp on high quality monitors — they’re blurry even on some phones and tablets. Still, it wasn’t until I bought my MacBook Pro Retina that I finally broke down and decided something had to change. I could no longer handle the crummy quality of 72 PPI.
For my site, I luckily chose WordPress, along with nearly 65,000,000 other content creators, as my platform. But, instead of re-uploading all of my images to my photography site, I did a little research and found a WordPress plugin called WP Retina 2x.
WP Retina 2x took my 1920 pixel wide images at 72 PPI and automatically rescaled the pixels to be “high PPI” at the width they are show on my site: 760 x 510 pixels. This turned the 72 PPI images into 271 PPI images.
Installing and setting up WP Retina 2x requires a few steps.
- In the WordPress dashboard click to “Plugins” and “Add New.”
- Search for “WP Retina 2x” and click the “Install Now” link.
- Activate Plugin
With my old images taken care of, I’ve started taking even higher-res screens and wider displays in mind. Considering that Apple is rumored to release a 27-inch Retina display soon (and keeping in mind that Acer, Samsung, Sharp and Google have already entered the pixel density war), someday even your newly generated high PPI images will look blurry!