Optimizing Your Photos for The Web
There are several things that you can do with an image to optimize it for the web. Your goals are to correct flaws in the image, to make needed size adjustments, and finally, to convert the image to an appropriate file format.
The first step is to import your photo into an image editing program. Do this by importing from your scanner, digital camera, or hard drive. Now take a look at your photo, and decide what you want to adjust. Some flaws to fix or improve are blurriness, discoloration, lightness, and darkness.
Adjust a blurry image by working with your image editing program’s “sharpen” feature. For best results, do this before moving on to other adjustments.
Many image editing programs have an “autocorrect” option that will fix the levels, contrast, and hue of your photograph. If you use this function, and you don’t like the results – or if you don’t have access to this function – try tweaking the specifications, manually. Hue adjustments can be made manually by mixing in opposite colors. For example, if your image has a blue tone, try mixing in some orange. If your image has a greenish tone, try mixing in a bit of red.
If needed, adjust the lightness or darkness of your image. Keep in mind that adjustments made to your photo’s lightness can give it a flat appearance. To fix this, boost the contrast. This will separate the various elements within your photograph. If you want your colors to appear brighter than they are, boost the saturation to your liking.
When you are satisfied with your image, you can personalize it by adding a caption. Some image editing programs have a text tool that you can use to accomplish this. A caption can be anything: your name, the location where the photo was taken, the date, a copyright symbol, or even a funny quote. Use a text tool to type directly onto your photo. Most captions are placed in the lower portion of the image so that it doesn’t draw too much attention away from the image itself.
If you want to fit your photograph into a specific space on a web page, you need to size it down, making sure to constrain the photo’s proportions. This will prevent the image from distorting, and will also cause it to load faster when it’s viewed in an internet browser.
The last step to optimizing your photo for the web is to save it in an appropriate file formate. The two most popular image formats are JPG and PNG. The JPG format is the standard for displaying photographic images on the web.
JPG is an acronym for “Joint Photographic Experts Group”. While it can greatly reduce the file size of an image, causing it to load faster, the JPG format also distorts the image, depleting it’s detail. Distortions in compression above 75% are usually not detectable by the naked eye. Compressing an image below this percentage causes a loss of detail equal to the amount of compression.
PNG is an acronym for “Portable Network Graphics”. This file format is not as commonly used as the JPG format, because it results in a rather large file size. The advantage of saving in the PNG format is that it preserves the quality of your image. Keep in mind that, due to it’s size, some web applications will not accept the PNG format.
You can make a mediocre image seem vivid and visually stunning. While you learn to optimize your photos for the web, it takes some experimentation to find methods that work best for you.