Resize Photos Or Images – It’s Not Just Size That Matters

You have just taken your digital photos, now you need to convert them to be just the right size. Whatever your purpose is – you may want wallpaper for your phone, you may be a budding webmaster, you need to send some photos through email to your family or friends – you need to resize your photos.

It’s not necessary that you know what size your photos are; what’s important is that you know what size you want them to be. Of course it helps to set your camera for the right size (the setting might be called “resolution”). If you know how to do that, your camera to take bigger, clearer photos; however, they will eat up memory faster than smaller ones. You don’t have to make a choice between two extremes, though. If you want to take a lot of photos and still want acceptable quality, then you can go for medium resolution.

Most cameras have a setting like medium resolution. If there’s no such setting, something around 600 pixels wide gives you a size that is acceptable, unless you want an incredibly artistic photo that you’ll want as big as possible.

Camera manuals have additional specific tips on resolution or image quality settings. Whatever your camera is, whether it’s a cell phone camera, a web cam, or a regular digital camera, or you scanned some photographs from your family album, there are some settings to configure. Cameras come with default factory settings that are good for general usage. This setting will allow you to get acceptable image qualities without knowing all the tricks from the manual.

Now, let’s get back to the photos that are already saved in your hard drive. If the photos are too big for the application you need them for, you can easily resize them with the Bulk Photo Resizer, an easy to use software you can download and try out for free.

The question is: what size is the right size? For attaching photos to email, a conservative size is about 400 pixels wide. For use in social networking or dating sites, you will want to check on the resolution they prefer. Resizing the photo to the sites required or preferred dimensions will give you the best-looking result. After clicking on a thumbnail (the smaller image), you see the larger image which is usually around 300 pixels wide, although this varies. Finally, if you’re creating wallpaper or an image for your screen saver, you need to consider your monitor’s resolution, unless you just want to let Windows stretch the image. The resolution would not be quite that good if you do this.

Whatever size you decide on choosing, you’ll need to do a lot of the following three things: crop, resize, and compress. Our featured program, Bulk Photo Resizer does all these three easily. The user interface is very simple; using the software is very easy to learn. Use it for one photo at a time, or use it on hundreds or even thousands of photos all at once. Our software testers found it nearly impossible to make mistakes. The software even prevents you from stretching the photo too tall or wide keeping everything the right shape. This is called “preserving the aspect ratio.” The resizing choices Bulk Photo Resizer gives you are already preset to ensure that the aspect ratio is preserved.

One thing that is almost as bad as stretching your photo out of shape is enlarging it. If your photo is not large enough, it’s best to leave it at its resolution. Bulk Photo Resizer prevents you from enlarging the photo. If you want larger photos from you camera, you need to learn how to set it for higher resolution photos.

Why does Bulk Photo Resizer prevent enlarging? When digital photos are enlarged, they start to get jagged edges known as the “jaggies”, which are the little squares that make up the image. If a photo gets too big, it starts to look like what they do on TV to hide someone’s face or license plate, turning it into little squares. This effect is called pixelation.

Great news! There’s no problem if you don’t know what the size of your photo is, Bulk Photo Resizer will tell you!

If you need to know what the size of your photo is and you don’t have software similar to Bulk Photo Resizer, you can check the photo on your computer using a Windows program called Windows Explorer. Windows explorer will help you find where your files are. First, you need find the directory that has your photos. Thumbnail view will be very helpful in finding photos. To switch to Thumbnail View, just click View (in the menu row near the top of the screen), and then select Thumbnails. Windows explorer helps you figure out what directory to look in by showing you some of the images in each directory when you are in thumbnail view.

After you find your photo, right click on its thumbnail or file name, then select Properties, and click on the Summary tab. This tab will show you the height and width of your photo in pixels.

Before resizing your photo, you should consider cropping. Cropping a photo simply means you are trimming away the parts around the outside edge so that you can have the things in the photo positioned and featured the way you want. Look at some photos in a magazine, or observe how things look in movie scenes. You will notice that the important parts of the photo stand out. They aren’t surrounded by too much of the scenery or background, unless there’s a good reason to show it. Never show someone from the chest up and then have several inches of sky overhead as though his head was a bulls-eye. Have his head shown at the top of the photo.

The Bulk Photo Resizer software makes it very easy to crop any image. You will actually see right away how it will look. It’s also very easy to undo things and try over.

After cropping an image, it will have a smaller size. You can now check the size of your photo so that you can decide if it needs to be even smaller for your purposes. Don’t be too eager to click that save command. When cropping an image, you might want to save it as a different file just in case you change your mind and would want to revert to the original image. This advice applies to images that you resize as well. You may just need that image in its original size later?

When saving an image, you will need to decide on how much compression to use. Compressing an image means making it take up less space on your hard drive. The problem with compression, however, is that you lose image quality. If you go too far in compressing, your photo can look downright blotchy. If you will be doing more editing to an image, you need to save it with no compression.

If you are saving an image in its final form, then some compression is usually recommended, especially for the web. If you intend to show an image on the web, you want it to be shown on visitors’ browsers as quickly as possible. Social networking and dating sites have rules about how many kilobytes an image can be as well. If they say an image has to be less than 100 KB, then check to see if your image needs to be compressed or made smaller. Either of these actions (cropping / compression) will make the file size smaller. Image size and file size confuses a lot of people. Image size is how big an image looks while file size is how much space it takes up on your hard drive. Larger file sizes take more time to show up on a webpage because a visitor needs to download more data in their browser when they go to the page.

With Bulk Photo Resizer, compressing images is very easy. If you want compression to be not that obvious, use 80. Compression scale goes from zero to 100. 60 is a considerably high level of compression since the image starts to be noticeably blotchy at this setting. There should be no noticeable effect of compression at a setting of 90 or higher, although it will still reduce the file size a good bit.

As a side note, the kind of image file or file type that is compressed is usually those that end in .jpg. People usually call these file types “jay-pegs,” but no one spells it that way. A great majority of photos or images on the web are in .jpg’s format.

There are a lot more facts you can learn about digital photos, but now you know the most essential stuff. We hope you enjoy resizing, cropping and compressing your photos!

Top 12 Image Editing Skills Every Photographer Should Know

Before you start editing, make sure that you have a good image work flow.  This means saving originals in a separate place to prevent you from damaging or destroying the original image.  And get familiar with your program’s UNDO capability – usually the Ctrl-Z key is a shortcut to undo the most recent image change.  Don’t forget SaveAs, which allows you to save a copy of the image with another name so you don’t disturb the original.

Crop.  This tool allows you to remove some of the image.  Generally you shape a rectangle around the area you want to keep and the rest is removed.  The area inside the rectangle becomes your new image.  Related to this tool are the rotate and straighten tools.  Rotate allows you to rotate the image, and Straighten does a similar task, allowing you to specify a horizon line or reference point. I recommend to rotate first and then crop after you have the proper orientation.

Brightness and Contrast.  This tool lets you increase or decrease the relationship between brights and darks (contrast), and increase or decrease the overall brightness of the image.  Combinations of brightness and contrast settings can have very dramatic impact to your image, adding extra “punch” or softening the visual impact.  It can also add emphasis to sunsets and other scenic shots.  If your image appears flat or dull, this is a good tool to try.

Saturation.  This tool is used to increase the color of an image.  Used to excess, the result can be artificial, and skin tones can be made to look unnatural.  But for floral and outdoor images, this tool can be used to sweeten the color impact of an image.

Resize.  This tool is used to change the size and number of pixels, or image dots, in an image file.  When sending something to a website for instance, you may want to reduce the image size so that it does not take too long to load.  When sending an image to be printed on a large size, you may want to size it larger.  Many programs will try to fill in the missing spaces if you attempt to resize an image beyond its original pixel dimensions.  Called interpolation, this program can deliver mixed results if you are trying to increase the images size too far beyond its original dimensions.  Combined with Crop, this is a good way to preview and prepare an image to be printed in a specific paper size.

Color Temperature/Color Adjust.  This tool lets you adjust the image’s color temperature.  If your camera’s white balance was not matched up to the color temperature of the predominant light source, the resulting image can have a color cast that is undesirable.  Using this tool, you either choose a color neutral selection (white or grey) in the photo and let the tool shift the color balance to match, or you tweak some settings or sliders to make the image “warmer” or “cooler”.  It’s better to get it right in the camera, but this tool can help rescue photos that otherwise have improper color casts.

Curves and Levels.  These tools are a more sophisticated verion of the Brighness and Contrast tools.  Levels allows you to change the white, mid and black points of an image and it will shift the image accordingly.  It is useful in pushing darks darker, whites whiter, and adding some lightness to midtones.  It is useful to bring up skin tones on faces while keeping very bright elements unchanged.  Curves is even more flexible, where you can describe a very sophisticated transformation of the original image’s characteristics.  Both of these tools can also be used to excess, and the result is often surreal or abnormal in appearance.

Clone/Rubber Stamp.  This tool lets you remove items from the image or otherwise retouch the image.  For example if you have a telephone pole in an otherwise perfect rural image, you can use this tool to duplicate the part of the picture next to the pole and paint over the pole with that section.  With some practice, you can edit out glare on glasses, braces, background objects and much more.  Related tools include Scratch Remover and Object Remover in some programs.

Eraser.  This tool lets you remove sections of an image.  This leaves behind a blank spot or hole.  It’s useful to isolate an object to place on another image, for example, to cut out a person so you can drop them into a location that was not in the original image.  A variant of this tool is the Background Eraser.

Layers.  Learning to use layers opens up an entirely new world in editing.  Basically you create two or more overlays that can have varying amounts of transparency so that you create a new image combining parts of these layers.  You can specify how the layers interact with each other, so that one may enhance the color of another.  That feature is called the “blend mode”.  You can also use layers to superimpose items on each other, for example to put your subject in a new location.

Sharpen.  This tool lets you increase the edge contrast of the image, which makes small features stand out more.  You will generally sharpen only as a last step after resizing, because sharpening emphasis will change with the image size.  You can selectively sharpen parts of the images, such as eyes, to draw attention to them.  You can also apply a sharpening to the overall image.  The Unsharp Mask will let you specify just how small and how much to apply the sharpening effect.

Channel Mixer.  This is a tool that allows you to change the amount of red, green and blue in the image.  But its real value is in being able to tailor a black and white conversion to include specific amounts of red, green and blue.  If you choose “monochrome” as the output, you can mix the red green and blue channels to bring out features that a straight black and white conversion will not be able to do.  The defaults include 33% each of red, blue and green.  Experiment with 80%/10%/10% of various modes and see how elements like bricks or blue sky or green leaves will change from dark to light in relation to other objects in the image.

1-Step Fix/Smart Fix.  This tool often combines much of the above tools into an easy to use dialog that will let you play with many things at once to improve an image.  Even if you use this tool most of the time, remember that the individual elements above can be utilized individually to create image enhancements that the simpler tools cannot provide.

Want to learn more?  Take a handful of images that you are not totally pleased with, and spend some time using each tool to see how you can expand your creative and editing skills to produce truly great works of photographic art!

Blogging: Original Images As Important As Original Content?

Yes. The answer to the title’s question is an affirmative. When search engines crawl through a new blog post, it too sees the image for its description, not necessarily its appearance. What an image is named, in particular, what it is coded with alt text oralt tag is quite important.

Alt Tags Explained

Many people believe blogging is all about content. And, they are correct. But it’s not only about the content an Internet user sees in their browser, but the content search engine spiders seeing when crawling over a new post. Bloggers should know this about blog tags: they do help search engines to pinpoint relevant material when asked. But the images associated with that content should be complementary-adding to or completing the text. That’s where alt tags in the HTML code are useful.

For example, an image of a search engine spider should appear with a like description in the alternative attribute like “search engine spider”. This allows a search engine to pick-up the image by description as it cannot see the rendition.

Original Images

When creating a post for a personal blog, for a guest submission to another blog or for freelance sale, use original images when possible. And name/rename images appropriate to the material in the post. Using the above image of a search engine looking through a magnifying glass at a spider, the content in the post shouldn’t be about Canadian curling championships of the early 1900′s. The image and content would have nothing to do with one another. It would confuse both readers and search engines.

Original content is lacking without proper images. But the image itself must be named to fit the content. The name of the image in a post must be relevant to the text. So a post about gluing fabric to scrapbook pages should have an image of fabric and a scrapbook or a post about the price of gasoline and downward sticky pricing should contain an image of a gas station price board/sign.

Size Matters

Blog image sizing is also important to making the post attractive. While search engines only know the raw dimensions of the image, readers will see how it impacts the text. Too large and the post’s text becomes de-emphasised. Too small and the reader must squint to take in the details. An image shouldn’t be a distraction. Some take advantage of eye candy to get attention. Readers will quickly abandon a blog that promises information on one subject but uses deceptive images to rack-up clicks.

When it comes to images in a blog post remember these cardinal rules: name the image for what it is, not “image1.jpg”. Make good use of the alt tag/alt text and size the image so it fits in a neat proportion with the text.