You’ve set the scene – you’ve got the best light you can, you’ve chosen the backdrop and know what you want to say with your photo. You’ve pointed, clicked, taken a reasonable photo… now what?
I have used various photo editing software over the years. Picasa is a great free go-to. I have Photoshop. I have been struggling with it since my crash course from The Littlest Thistle (so please don’t ask me how to do anything) but I do have it set up to do a simple series of things to my photos. But before we get to that…
Do you ever get flashbacks to dial-up speed, when it would take 15 minutes to load a photo and it would come up line by line by line…?
Size matters. Lots of digital cameras take photos at such high quality that they can be printed out in perfect quality on a poster six times the size of your wide screen monitor. That’s a HUGE photo to squish into your little blog window. So don’t. That’s why some sites load so slowly, or in some extreme cases, load photos sideways on smaller device screens.
Pixels – I’ve been told screen width is around 1200 pixels for a standard monitor. If you can find the size of your image in pixels (width x height) and it’s over 1200, you need to cut it down. I generally resize my blog photos to 650 px wide. It may be a personal opinion, but I think consistent width photos on a blog just look nicer.
Resolution and DPI (dots per inch) relate to image quality. It gets rather technical. I found this quite helpful in explaining it. 150dpi is a good resolution for the web, however, many graphics editors have a ‘save for web’ function. Look for it. It’s worth it. (Please remember to compress your photos if you are working in Word too! It reduces the file size considerably making it much friendlier to share).
File size – I compress my photos to around 100kb. Only because The Littlest Thistle told me to. (She is probably cringing at my lack of technical knowledge here, but she is in Scotland which is too far away for her to hit or yell at me, so ha ha).
Framing and cropping
There are technical and theoretical considerations to framing a photo – remember the thirds rule from art class? That the eye is drawn to the points where tic-tac-toe gridlines would intersect? Sometimes that works and sometimes centrality is more aesthetically pleasing.
I will tend to crop out distractions if they are around (and messy bits that I don’t want people seeing I haven’t cleaned up around my house. I’d rather crop the photo than pull out the weeds…).
I also seem to take a lot of late afternoon photos wit a lot of shadow. Even if it puts the work off-center, I like leaving the shadow in and not cropping it. I just think it gives more context and interest to the picture.
So here’s my process. I:
- Crop the area of the photo to best draw the eye
- Reduce the image width to around 650px
- Reduce the image size a smidge compared to the canvas size to give the photo a frame
- Add a watermark to protect my work
- ‘Save for web’ to around 100Kb to decrease load time
If you don’t have a lot of space on your hosting plan, you might want to upload your photos to a photo service like Flickr and then embed those in your posts. It’s a little extra work but it keeps your website size down and keeps all your photos in one space.
I’d love to hear if you have any technical tips for photos!