Photo and Social Networking Sites: Are You Ready?

How to Prep Your Photos, and What the Photo Resizer Really Does

Keys: photo sharing, social networking, photo resizer

The web has spawned an amazing variety of photo-related sites. Nearly all of them are free to use, with fees for deluxe features or a larger number of photos. Their purposes range from high-end professionals to beginners, from social networking to photo sharing, from selling your photos to bookmarking what you like. What's more, many of these sites blend such features to cook up their own recipe.

 

You can be a happy fanatic and spend days learning all about your options, or simply get going on one of the more popular sites, where you're pretty much guaranteed to have a good experience with plenty of features to keep you busy.

 

But what does it take besides getting pictures onto your hard drive? Wait! Some sites even let you upload pictures right from your cell phone! So let me rephrase that. What does it take to get your pictures into shape for photo sites?

 

Once you pick the photo sharing site that suits your needs, you'll want to know what limits there are on bandwidth. (Bandwidth means the amount of data you can transfer onto the site.) Is there a monthly limit as to how many gigabytes of data you can upload (transfer)? Is there a maximum total amount? How much does it cost to upgrade to a higher limit? Of course, that only matters if you'll want to share a large number of photos.

 

If you are concerned about the limits, there are some things you can do to stay under that radar and avoid upgrading, if you wish. Your best option is to upload only the photos that are really worth sharing, either because of their personal significance, or because of their artistic merit. Of course, that depends on why you're there. If you're selective, you'll be uploading fewer photos, and getting more out of what you do share.

 

Many photo sharing sites do not have size limits on photos, because the sites are intended to share high resolution photos. However, if you don't need the highest resolution, resizing the photo is a good idea. If your camera was set to high resolution, but you just want to share an ordinary photo, you can use a program such as Bulk Photo Resizer to do the job quite easily.

 

In fact, if you have many photos with the same requirements, you can have Bulk Photo Resizer perform the same operation on all of them at once. This is a super time saver. For a typical family photo that doesn't need artistic high resolution, you can please your visitors with a size from 400 to 600 pixels per inch on the longest side (height or width). It just so happens that Bulk Photo Resizer has presets in these sizes, and others, so you don't even have to manually input your desired dimensions. It will even keep everything in proportion for you. This is called maintaining the "aspect ratio.

 

Whatever you do, don't enlarge the photo. Bulk Photo Resizer will stop you from doing this. Enlarging will not increase your resolution, it will just make the imperfections larger and more jagged. The larger it is, the more you'll see jagged edges, that we call the "jaggies. These are from the actual square pixels that make up the image. Once those squares get too big they become pretty obvious throughout the image, not just on the edges. Things they start looking like the effect you see used on TV to obscure someone's face or license plate. That is called pixelation.

 

Another thing you can do to cut the amount of data is to crop. To crop a photo is to trim away the outer portions of the photo. Even the best photographers often need to fine-tune their framing. Cropping helps you feature the important objects or people in the photo. Our highlighted program, Bulk Photo Resizer, makes this perfectly easy. If you don't care for the result, you simply discard the change and try again.

 

Our testers found it nearly impossible to make mistakes with the program. It is important to crop in order to get the best effect, but the other benefit is that you are trimming away data! The outer areas of a photo hold the most data, simply because of the square inches they cover, yet is is usually the least important part of the photo. You can get quite artistic with cropping to bring out what is important, or to shift the contents over to one side, or up or down.

 

There is one more way to reduce the size of the file, and it's called compression. Compressing a photo takes out some of the data, but tries not to reduce the picture quality. Of course, the more you compress, the more obvious it becomes that it's a compressed picture. There is definitely a loss of quality. But you can eliminate a lot of bytes without an obvious loss of quality. In Bulk Photo Resizer, a setting of 80 or thereabouts will cause very little degradation. Of course, if you want the highest possible resolution, you don't want to compress the photo at all. If you use 90, you probably won't be able to tell it was compressed, and you'll still see some good reduction in file size.

 

By the way, a side benefit of all these data-saving measures is that they upload much faster.

Here is an important point for those of you who will have some full-resolution needs, such as highly artistic photos. Your computer screen does not tell you that you have good resolution for printing, because printers, household and professional, have higher resolution than your computer screen. That is, the screen has a much lower number of pixels per inch. If someone is going to print your photos, including you, then you'll want to check on their quality before you get too far. If you have a decent printer, you can use that to test with.

 

You can save a lot of ink by testing patches of the photo. Pick an area that will give you a good impression of its detail. Then, use a program such as Bulk Image Resizer to crop away everything but that area, and print what is left. Be sure not to save this piece of your photo unless you use a different file name, or you will hate me forever for suggesting this trick.

 

If you have a page layout program, you can reuse the same photo paper over and over, by placing your patches on different parts of the paper until it is used up. I have made much use of this trick, to save ink and paper, while developing graphics for music album covers.

 
Now you know the most important information you'll need to have your photos ready for photo sharing sites. Of course, there's plenty more to learn. Thank goodness learning is such a joy. I'm sure you'll be getting plenty of great ideas in the photo sharing community, and enjoy compliments from them as well as your friends and family.
 

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Client Testimonials

"Just wanted to let you all know, that out of all the things I buy online, your product has been the most useful and easiest to understand and use. Thank you for a great product."
Wayne Dec - Perrone Realty

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