How to prepare your photos for publishing online
Want to add your own professional-looking photos to your website or blog? Now you can learn simple tricks to get them perfect for publishing using a free online tool.
High quality photos can completely transform the appearance of your website or blog. But if you’re taking your own pictures, how can you get them ready for publishing?
Olga Hoffman is a mum and professional photographer with over 10 years’ experience working for clients including Elle and Marie Claire. In this final article in her three-part series for us, she shows you how to et your photos ready for publishing online in a few simple steps using a free online tool.
All photos need tweaking before publishing online
Did you know that all pictures need a bit of adjustment before they go online?
The most common change is a size adjustment if you want them to load fast. (We’ve been spoiled by some social media websites which automatically adjust our pictures so they’re web-ready – unfortunately, your website or blog usually doesn’t usually have all these facilities.)
Besides resizing, other elements of your photos that will usually need some adjustment include contrast, crop and exposure (if your photos are too dark or too bright).
In this article I’ll take you through the steps to get your photos perfectly ready for publishing on your website or blog. But first, I need to explain some technical bits.
Understanding picture resolution
You’ve probably heard the term ‘picture resolution’ before, and it’s very important to understand what it means if you want to publish professional-looking photos.
Each digital picture is created with dots/pixels. Resolution refers to the number of pixels in the picture. It is measured in PPI (pixels per inch), also known as DPI (dots per inch).
The more pixels a picture has, the better quality it will be. 300DPI is enough to use for printing, and 72-96DPI is used for online display.
You can change a picture from higher to lower resolution, but never from lower to higher (for example, 72 to 300DPI). If you do, the picture quality will visibly deteriorate.
If you set the right DPI, your pictures should upload to your website without any problem. However, most digital cameras shoot a higher DPI than 72-96 (unless you set this way), which is why you could have a problem uploading photos.
Choosing the right image format
The most common image format used online is JPG (most websites accept PNG as well). This is because JPG it is a high quality, compressed format, and means the picture will be easily uploaded and quickly opened online.
Most digital cameras shoot JPG anyway, so you don’t need to worry about it. However, if you use a more professional camera, check your setting. (You can convert your images from other formats to JPG using online image format converter if you need to.)
Retouching your photos
Before I show you how to retouch your photos, I need to explain the difference between retouching and image manipulation. Retouching is an adjustment of the image, simply to make it look better. Manipulation happens when parts of the image are removed or replaced. In this article I’m going to share tips on retouching to enhance your pictures to make them more appealing to your viewers.
As already mentioned, the pictures which come straight from your camera aren’t usually ready to be used online. As a general rule, there three main things which you should consider when retouching:
- Exposure correction.
- (And occasionally a bit of airbrushing.)
I use Photoshop to retouch my photos because it gives me full control over the image. However, there are plenty of other make of online software, some of which you can use for free, that will do a good job. All the tips I am now going to show you are used with free online editing tool Pixlr, so you can use them too without investing in expensive software.
How to crop and change your composition
Pixlr’s crop tool allows you to remove unwanted elements from your images. You can find this tool on the left hand side tools bar.
How to improve your exposure and contrast
With Pixlr’s LEVEL or CURVE tool you can brighten, or darken, your image and improve contrast. You can find both tools in the top navigation bar under ADJUSTMENT.
CURVE – move the curve as above to see how the shadows, highlights, midtones and contrast of your picture is changing.
LEVELS – adjust the shadows, highlights, midtones and contrast of your picture by moving the level sliders, as above. You can see how it changes the appearance of your picture below.
How to remove blemishes from your photos
You can use Pixlr’s SPOT HEAL TOOL to remove blemishes on faces in your photos. Simply paint on the spots and they should disappear. (You’ll find this tool in a left hand side tools bar.)
How to change your picture resolution
Pixlr’s online pictures editor also automatically changes pictures resolution to 72DPI if you save the picture as JPG, so you don’t need to worry about it.
Want more professional photography tips?
- Get easy tips to help you look good in photos every time
- Learn how to take brilliant lifestyle photos for your website or blog
If you found these tips useful and would like to learn more about lifestyle, children and family photography (and download a free photography tips ebook) check out Olga’s website.