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Photo Guidelines

The best way to ensure the highest quality custom creation is to start with the right image. The higher resolution the image or file is, the sharper the finished product will be.

If you are picking from existing photos, we suggest:

  • Pick a large file-sized photo. We generally recommend 1MB or larger file sizes.
  • For head cutouts, close-up photos are best.
  • Make sure the image is well-lit.

If you are taking a new photo, here are some tips:

  • Your smartphone will do. You don't need a fancy digital camera. Most modern smartphone cameras are powerful enough to take great, high-resolution images.
  • Fill the frame as much as possible. For heads, get as close to their face as you can without cutting off ears, hair, or hats that you'd like included. For standups, get as close as to the person as you can without cutting off hands, arms, feet, or legs.
  • Make sure there is good lighting. It is hard for cameras to pick up details in low-light situations. This becomes even more pronounced when enlarging images.

Common pitfalls and things to avoid:

  • Images that have been shared. Typically, images shared via text or downloaded from social sites have been compressed. It might look ok on your phone, but when enlarged these images often become blurry. It is best to use original image files where possible.
  • Selfies. Traditionally, cameras on the fronts of phones produce lower quality images than those on the back.
  • Screenshots. These do not enlarge well.
  • Blurry images. While our image experts and software can often improve photos, there are limits to what can be done. Blurry images tend to only look worse as they are enlarged.
  • Digital Zoom. Most cameras offer a zoom feature, however, this is often accomplished via digital zoom where the camera or phone crops the image and makes it larger resulting in a lower resolution. This is the case for most smartphones. Optical zoom is where a lens does the magnification for the camera, and this does not reduce the resolution. If you aren't sure which kind of zoom is being used, it is best to avoid the feature and take a few steps closer to your subject.
  • Pictures of pictures. You may not have a digital original of that old yearbook photo, but taking a picture of physical photos can be problematic when it comes time to make them bigger.
  • Group pictures. Having to zoom in on group pictures to crop out individuals will diminish the file size and quality of images. Also, if part of a person's face or body is obscured by someone else in the group, they will likely look odd when cropped.
  • Obscene or offensive images. Build a Head reserves the right to refuse any photos.

If you are unsure whether the image you want to use is of sufficient quality, please reach out to chat with our team or email us at support@buildahead.com. Also, for most products, you may purchase a Digital Proof and/or Touch Up. Once we've prepped an image for production, we'll email it to you for approval first.

If helpful, here are the technical specifications we recommend:

  • Images that are 1MB or larger, or
  • Images that are 1800 x 1800 pixels in size or larger, or
  • Images with 75 PPI (Pixels per Inch) or more.

For questions about what photos can be used and/or copyrights, please click here.