A Few Notes about Posting Photos

My Canon cameras

These are my cameras: a Canon PowerShot A570iS (the silver one, which I’ve had since Sept. 2007) and a Canon PowerShot G11 (purchased in 2010).

Both of these cameras are capable of capturing high-quality, high-resolution (in terms of image size) photos. You’ve seen examples here on my blog. The G11 can even shoot in “RAW” format, which gives me more options on how I want to use and save the image — for instance, as a high-quality tif rather than a jpg (which has a built-in compression algorithm to keep the file size “portable,” kind of like mp3 and m4A files for audio).

But none of that matters on the Web. Well, yes, high-quality photos matter anywhere, but the resolution for Web images must be downsized & optimized for online viewing.

For example, my last cute puppy pic was causing my blog to take longer than usual to download. That’s because I had kept the original picture at almost 1,200 pixels wide. I’ve noticed that if I upload a picture with a width or height greater than 1,000 pixels, that image will take extra time to load.

To fix this problem, the best thing to do before you upload a picture (because you can’t downsize the file once it’s uploaded to WordPress) is edit it in an image manipulation program. I don’t have and can’t afford Photoshop, but I’ve been working with a freeware program called “GIMP” (GNU image manipulation program) for years, both for my hobby and for work.

With this program, I can rotate and crop my images, just like you can in WordPress. I prefer to do it in GIMP however, so the image is exactly the way I want it (most of the time) before it goes up on the Web. The most important thing I do, as I have said, is downsize the image. Most digital images are 72 dpi (dots per inch), which is perfect for the Web. If you have a print-quality image (300 dpi or larger), you will need to scale it down to 72 dpi. Anything larger just “clogs up” the Web, unless you have a lot of bandwidth, like, say, NASA’s Earth Observatory site (which I think is very neato).

The final step is to make the image itself smaller — less than 1,000 by 1,000 pixels. It’s not going to appear that large in the post anyway, and there’s no need for it to, unless I am selling my photography (and here’s a good place for me to note that you can buy or borrow higher-resolution versions of my photos by contacting me at keagiles AT coyotesong DOT com).

To give you an idea of how large 1,000 by 1,000 pixels is, have a look at the screen settings on your computer. The screen resolution on my Lenovo Thinkpad is 1,280 by 800 pixels at 32 bits. That means an image that’s more than 1,280 pixels wide at 100% will not fit on my screen; I’d have to scroll to see all of it.

To summarize: Post small pictures on the Web; high-resolution photos are best for a print medium (like a magazine).

Now I want to say something about my choice in cameras. The silver Canon PowerShot was a gift — my first digital camera! I have enjoyed it to such an extent that I carry it everywhere.

I researched the black Canon G11 for a couple of months, comparing it to other models, including the Canon PowerShot SX series. The G11 is the best choice for me because I prefer a smaller camera (anything bigger just causes my hands to shake, especially when I’m trying to capture a closeup image) and because I can still program it (for white balance, mostly, and for the macro and image stabilization functions) and shoot in RAW format or jpeg. Best of all, the G11 allows macro shots up to 0.4 inches away from the object. Shooting in macro is my favorite mode, because I love looking deep into things.

More could be said about the cameras, the file types, image manipulation, and print versus Web, but since I am not an expert, I’ll leave it here for now. If you’re interested, however, let me know, and I’ll give you a brief tutorial on what a magazine editor looks for when assessing print-quality images.

About Gem

Writer, photographer, editor, wife, friend, sister, dog mother.
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One Response to A Few Notes about Posting Photos

  1. Pingback: Speaking of Posting Photos – KeaPOD 41 | KeaNeato!

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