What's the Deal with Megapixels Anyway?

Imagine this scenario: you're going to purchase a camera, and you can't choose between a consumer pro DSLR with 20 megapixels or a more expensive model with 25 megapixels. If you're like me, you usually equate price with quality and assume the 25 megapixels would be the best bang for your buck. 

And you'd be wrong. Well, sort of.

You see, most people believe the false assumption that more megapixels equals better photo quality. Megapixels are related to two things, roughly: cropping and printing. 


When you crop an image, you remove megapixels from your image. It's simple subtraction. So when you have an image with a large amount of megapixels, you're not compromising the image when you crop. When you crop an image with a small amount of pixels, you create image degradation when you print the image at its original size. 

For example, let's say you want a 5x7 print of your kids on the beach. You use the camera on your phone to snap the picture. You crop the photo down to tighten the focus on the kids (and away from the seagulls in the sky). Now, you go to print your image at a local drug store and see that your image is distorted.

More than likely, you cropped too much and there were not enough megapixels to keep the image sharp when you blew it up. It happens to the best of us.


Printing is arguably the strongest case for needing more megapixels. But it's overkill past a certain amount.

For the mathematicians out there, there's a pretty straightforward formula to calculating megapixels needed.
Determine the physical length and width of your print, multiply the dimensions by 300, and then divide the total by 1 million.

(Width in. x 300) x (Height in. x 300) / 1 million

Using this formula, an 8x10 print would require 7.2 megapixels, while a 12x14 print requires about 15.1 megapixels. 

With that in mind, comparing a 20 megapixel camera to a 25 megapixel camera is pointless if you're not producing large prints. 20 megapixels is more than enough to produce quality prints, especially for the amateur who's printing mostly for keepsakes. 

Image Quality

We've reached this point and you're saying, "Great. I know the purpose of megapixels. What I'm wondering is how I get really sharp, beautiful photos."

What you're gonna wanna focus on is the size of the image sensor and its resolution. Larger image sensors equal larger pixels (not to be confused with megapixels), which allow more light to be captured on the sensor. More light captured means a better photo.

This is why a 12MP smartphone camera versus a 12MP compact camera has a pretty significant image quality difference: the compact camera has a much larger sensor. 

But as time progresses, smart phones are bridging that gap. Smart phones are becoming more capable of producing higher quality photos than ever before.

Take Home

The reason I'm writing this is not to discourage you from purchasing higher megapixel cameras. Instead, be aware of the selling point of a camera being better quality than a competitor because of its higher megapixel count.

Know what your needs are. If you're preparing prints for a gallery showing, higher megapixels will allow sharp, large prints. If you're an amateur who wants to print pictures of your loved ones, a more modest camera will suit you just fine. 

And if you're in the market to buy a camera that can shoot sharp pictures, focus on image sensor size and resolution.

How To Pick The Perfect Social Media Account

Like I've said before, your social media reflects you. Whether you have an Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Periscope or anything in between, your social media is a chapter out of your life put online for people around the world to view and scrutinize. 

So, it's important to choose the correct platform for the best reflection of you and the best means to communicate with your audience -- whether that's family, friends, colleagues or future fans. 

If the descriptions below sound like you, then congrats! You probably would do well with that platform. And of course, if more than one describes you, then invest in multiple platforms Champ.


Perfect for your mom or your dad. Or literally anyone. Even your cat. Obsessed with lists and self-improvement articles. Reads articles that reinforce their beliefs. Has a hard time distinguishing news articles from op-ed. Likes Beyoncé. Fails to include artist names with song lyric statuses. Takes Buzzfeed quizzes while at work. Clicks on articles where what happens next will leave them speechless. Gets upset with The Onion. Has an opinion about literally anything. Loves to connect with others. "Friend" isn't a word; it's a lifestyle. Likes to spy on exes. Probably hasn't discovered Twitter yet.


Story-teller. Insomniac. Knows how to crop someone out of a photo. Understands what 'tilt-shift' means. Probably has used 'tilt-shift' before. Social. Struggling photographer. Deep. Took the saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words," really, really literally. Wants to move to Portland or Seattle for the "culture." Has a collection of obscure stickers on their 1985 Yugo. Has taken a picture of their latte but will never admit it to you. 


Loves organization. Gets really excited at craft stores. Loves shipping pallets. Like a lot. Fooooooooood. Probably could MacGyver their way out of any sticky situation. Cleaning wizard. Knows 15 different uses for essential oils by heart. Down-to-Earth. Can and will discuss their kid(s) with you in person. Knows everyone at the farmer's market by name. Has a good relationship with their parents. Orders water at restaurants. The number one person to call if you need recipe recommendations. 


Life is exciting and HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!


News junkie. Struggles to pay attention. Knows how to condense The Scarlet Letter into five statuses or less. Lives by NPR's Arts and Life section. Wants to know everything at all times ever. Wouldn't falter on a punchline. Suggests articles to read at really inconvenient times. Doesn't beat around the bush. Loves a good promo. Probably didn't have a diary/journal as a child. Doesn't have one now. Cares what celebrities have to say. Finds intrigue in nothing. Willing to debate you on your political beliefs. Won't tell you who they voted for in the 2012 Presidential Election but didn't vote for Romney.


Loves the lighting in cars. Appreciates brevity. If there was a selfie competition, they would be national competitors. Enjoys a clean slate. Likes to captions things. Really wants you to know what they look like and what they're up to. Will tell you to add them on Snapchat after you follow them on all other accounts first.


Pinterest user's younger sibling that is going through an angsty phase. Can smell a meme from a mile away. Knows a ton about politics but can't vote yet. Says "I'm dead," a lot even though they are still alive. Has seen every nook and cranny of the Internet and still lives to tell the tale. Knows how to be articulate but can't use spell check. Probably receives an endorsement when someone mentions they like pizza and Netflix. Really accepting of others. Says they're a '90s kid, even if they were born in the 2000s. Early adopter of the phrase, "I can't."




How To Create A Social Media Plan

How To Create A Social Media Plan

Texting your ex is a bad idea.

Eating an entire bag of Lindt white chocolate truffles in one sitting also makes the list of bad ideas. Posting a selfie at midnight on Instagram, bloated and irritable, is also an awful decision. If you're like me, doing all three in one night is the worst decision of all.

While I can't reasonably tell you to not text your ex (that's what your mom is for), and eating chocolate is usually always a good idea, I can tell you that posting a selfie at midnight is a poor decision.

Read More