Photo Uploading Tips (Sticky?)

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Photo Uploading Tips (Sticky?)

Postby markannab » Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:43 am

Some have mentioned confusion about photo re-sizing before uploading. Having worked with photos in my work for about nine years, here are a couple of tips that you may find helpful.

First of all, for those wondering about Windows Paint, it is next to useless for the purposes of preparing photos for upload. If you have some other commercial software installed such as Photoshop, PhotoImpact, Corel PhotoPaint or Paint Shop Pro, you are set. If not, there are many totally free paint/photo programs you can download. Some have a surprising array of features. I won't go into them all now since there's always new ones appearing.

To see the range, go to Google and type in: free paint programs. A quick look has revealed one called Painter 25 (about five down from the top): It comes with a number of features and is only 1.21Mb.

Ideally, you want to accomplish two things:
1. Re-size the image; and
2. Compress the image.

Every program is different, but generally across the top menu, you will find something like "Image". Try that or a similar one until a drop-down box refers to something like "Resize". A very good size, in my opinion to resize a photo to is about 800 pixels in width. If it's a portrait photo (vertical), aim for 800 pixels high. This is a good size for two reasons. The file size is not too large for people to download and the physical appearance is comfortable to view. Anyone still using a small monitor (not so long ago, monitors were around 800 pixels wide), doesn't have to scroll sideways or up and down to see the whole image.

This is not essential and not all freeware programs will do it, but is worthwhile if it's possible. Compressing an image doesn't alter it's size on the screen but does reduce the file size dramatically by removing unnecessary colour information and degrading the quality of the image. This sounds undesirable, but when only done by 15% to 25%, it's not noticable onscreen. Note my signature image with the lizard. This was compressed by 15% yet even the text is still clear. There are also two photos below at 800 pixels wide. Note details above each image as a guide. Going beyond 25% tends to destroy the image too much.

This leads to a faster upload and a faster download each time someone views a page. This is especially good when on a page, many forum users have uploaded their own photos. If all photos have been compressed, the page will load quite fast.

After re-sizing, click "Save As" rather than "Save". This brings up a box to rename and do some other things. Be sure to choose "Jpg" or "Jpeg" as the format to save. Jpegs have a small file size to begin with and also have the ability to be compressed. See if there's an option for "Compression" within this box (you may have to click an "Options" box to access it if that program even has the compression feature). Normally, compression is selected by percentage. Default is 100% (almost unchanged). Move slider or type in a figure to compress by about 15% - 25%. After renaming the file so it doesn't overwrite your original, click "Save". The photo is now a good viewable size and quick to upload and download.

Below are two samples, both at 800 pixels wide. Note the descriptions with them as a guide.
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Last edited by markannab on Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Photo Uploading Tips (Sticky?)

Postby CampGrrlz » Sat Feb 14, 2009 3:08 pm

For members with Macs ... the "poor wo/man's Photoshop" is Graphic Converter which for the shareware price asked is very good value. There are also free paint applications for Mac.

Photos can be re-sized and compression selected - I usually use a 75 percent compression which does not reduce the quality of the image much yet saves a substantial amount in download.

To check an image's size, select the image and hit Command i (for Get Info) then a window will tell you the size of the image. Or in Graphic Converter, the image size is displayed. If attaching an image to an email, in Apple Mail the cumulative size of the attachment/s is at the bottom left of the message.

Ideally the images should be around 100 to 200 kbs to allow a fast download for even a dialup connection. Not everyone has access to broadband and all broadband's are not equal - a fact a lot of sites don't take into consideration. Here we are limited to ADSL 2 since we are on the very edge of the maximum distance from the telephone exchange. A lot of members and visitors could be less fortunate than we are. Speaking personally, it is very easy to forget what it was like on dialup. Never mind remembering what it was like without the internet! ;)

If you are using PhotoBucket to house your images for this board, then choose the last of the image links presented - the one for message boards - the code starts with IMG. That's the only one which, when copied and pasted into the posting, will allow the picture to be shown on this forum.

Anyone with a Mac who has more questions can PM to me and I'll do my best to answer.

Happy posting - Elaine
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