Editing your Photos for the Web

Digital cameras that are getting more and more affordable. So, snapping a very huge number of digital photos of your family, friends and dear ones is now easier than ever! But, how about finding a practical way to print your photos and then show them to your family and friends? Sometimes this can be a big hassle.

The software that came with your camera may be the best software available to edit your photos. Some have a “red eye” removal tool, some have the ability to lighten and darken your photos. But generally these “included” programs do not have the capability to OPTIMIZE your photos for putting them on the web.

What is optimizing?, you ask. That is editing your photo not only to make its appearance better, but compressing the photo so that it loads faster.

PhotoShop is hands down the best photo-editing software available. I use it every day and I am lost without it. In PhotoShop you will find that all the editing tools you could ask for are available. And the really cool thing is that you can find free add-on tools all over the internet, but I digress.

Once you have that perfect photo for your website, you then want to put it online. But once it is there, you notice that you are waiting a good 1 to 2 minutes to see the full photo. That is where optimizing comes in. An unoptimized photo 600 x 400 pixels* at 72 dpi can take 25 to 35 seconds to load. That is just one photo, that doesn’t include all the other elements of your web page. Using the higher dpi’s that are required for best printing, that same photo could take up to 2-6 minutes to load on your website.

When you optimize a photo you are removing pixels from the photo to change the resolution from 300 dpi to 72 dpi. For the most part the missing pixels will never be missed when viewed on the web, but when printed will make for a fuzzy, unappealing photo.

Just keep in mind that once the photos are optimized and pixels removed, they cannot be replaced back into the photo. What I generally recommend to my clients is to keep 2 sets of photos, one for printing and one for their website. To print great photos you need at least 300 dpi, but that is overkill on your website. The standard web resolution is 72 dpi.

So two things to remember when placing photos on a website.

Always use 72 dpi as your resolution

Always optimize your photo (in Photoshop) to medium resolution, which is about 6 on a scale of 1-10.

*600 x 400 pixels equates to 8.33 x 6.25 inches. 

Kathy Barto
Crackerbarrel Corner

About the Author
Kathy Barto is a former web designer. Now the owner of Baby Diaper Cake Chatter, which is one of our site sponsors.

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