I am asked about this often. We’ve all done it. Posted a picture straight from the camera. Unedited, fat and slow to come down. This short article will lay out some ways for making pictures sweeter online and hopefully lead to a better experience for your reader.
It is the law. Make your images 72 dpi (dots per inch). Pictures will come from some phones and most cameras usually at anything from 96 to 300 dots per inch. They are designed to do so to make it possible to take a memory stick into Boots and get a 6″ by 4″ print that looks quite good. If you need an image for a brochure or printed newsletter then usually your picture will need a resolution of 300 dots per inch. If you’ve ever seen a pixelated photo in a newsletter it’s because the image has been taken from the internet with a much lower resolution. Now you can smile wryly to yourself whenever you see this.
A computer screen shows no more that 72 dots per inch so anything above that is wasted information to be downloaded by your reader.
Now the image is the regulation 72 dots per inch the chances are that it is still huge on the screen. Many programmes (eBay, instagram, Flickr and WordPress etc) will allow you to resize your image either automatically or with some kind of slider. An image is important for you and your reader. It can convey emotion, information, set the scene or indeed be merely illustrative. What ever the case it matters. Popping up an image that displays larger than an average screen is not good on the whole. Of course there are exceptions, for example, popping up diagram and linking to a larger version of itself for more detailed study.
The best solution is to resize your image yourself (or ask me to do it for you) and make it the size you want it to be. The publish it as full size safe in the knowledge that the picture will display exactly as you choose rather than a machine decision aspect ratio scaling.
The image above shows different pixel sizes. The numbers are all in pixels as elements of a website are measured in pixels. The convention is always to the width followed by the height even if the image is in portrait format. The width of this content area of this website is 700 pixels. If I make an image bigger than that I have two choices. I could make an image smaller and link it to a larger version of itself or live with an artificial compression of my image down to 700 pixels width. I couldn’t live with myself so I have made an editing decision not to have images larger than 700 pixels wide on this site.
In the next articles
Over the next articles I’ll be looking at framing and image and what tools I use to actually do the image manipulation. Subscribe to this website to make sure you don’t miss tips, tricks and other sundries.