Resize Photos : It's Not Just Size that Matters
Now that you have digital photos, you need them to be just the right size. Whether you're a budding webmaster, you want wallpaper for your phone, you need to send off some emails to your friends, or any other purpose, you need to resize your photos.
This article will give you the key details you must know. We'll tell you about sizing, cropping, and compressing. Fortunately, today's tools make this possible with one simple program. We'll feature Bulk Photo Resizer, an excellent Swiss Army Knife for your photos. It does more than resize.
You don't have to know what size your pictures are. You just need to know about what size you want them to be. But it helps to have your camera set for the right size (it might be called "resolution”). If you learn how to do that, you can set your camera to take bigger, clearer photos, but they will eat up memory faster than smaller ones. You don't have to choose between two extremes, though. If you want to take a lot of pictures, but you don't need the biggest ones, then you can go for a medium resolution.
Your camera may have a setting like medium resolution. If not, something around 600 pixels wide gives you a size that won't disappoint, unless you are taking an incredibly artistic photo that you'll want as big as possible.
Your camera manual will have additional specific tips on resolution settings. Whether your camera is a cell phone, a web cam, or a regular digital camera, or you scanned in some photographs from the family album, you have some settings to play with. Cameras come with standard factory settings that are good for general purposes, so you can get away with procrastinating on learning tricks from the manual if you want.
But let's get back to the pictures that are already on your hard drive. If the pictures are too big for what you need them for, you can easily resize them with the Bulk Photo Resizer, a download you can try out for free.
But what size is the right size? For email, a conservative size is about 400 pixels wide. For social networking and dating sites, you're probably trying to fit your portrait into their system, so you will want to check on the photo dimensions they prefer. That will get you the best-looking result. Usually, it's the size of the larger photo you see after you click on the thumbnail (the smaller image). The larger image is usually around 300 pixels wide, but it varies. And if you are creating wallpaper or an image for your screen saver, then it depends on your monitor resolution, unless you just want to let Windows stretch the image. If you do that, though, the resolution would be quite so good.
Whatever size you choose, you'll need to do a lot of the following three things: crop, resize, and compress. Our featured program, Bulk Photo Resizer does all three, and with a very simple interface. You can use it for one picture at a time, or you can use it on hundreds of photos all at once. Our testers found it nearly impossible to make mistakes. The program even prevents you from stretching the photo too tall or wide. Keeping everything the right shape is called preserving the "aspect ratio.” When Bulk Photo Resizer gives you sizes to choose from, they are already pre-set to take care of this for you!
Something 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 current size. At least Bulk Photo Resizer prevents you from enlarging the picture. If you want your camera to give you larger pictures, you need to learn how to set it for higher resolution photos.
But why does Bulk Photo Resizer prevent enlarging? When people enlarge digital pictures, they start to get jagged edges, known as the "jaggies.” These are the little squares that make up the image. If they get too big, they start to look like what they do on TV to hide someone's face or license plate, turning it into little squares. That effect is called pixelation.
Good news! You don't have to know what size your picture is. Bulk Photo Resizer will tell you!
If you want to know the size of your photo, and you don't have a program such as Bulk Photo Resizer handy, you can check the photo on your computer. Use the program that shows you where your files are, called Windows Explorer. First, find the directory that has your picture. If you have trouble finding your pictures, then you need to start writing down their locations when you save them on your computer.
Windows Explorer gives you some help, though. You can see thumbnails of all the pictures in each directory. Just click View (in the menu row near the top of the screen), and then select Thumbnails. Windows explorer even tries to help you figure out what directory to look in, by showing you some of the images in each directory when you are in thumbnail view.
Once you find your picture, right click on its thumbnail or file name, select Properties, and click on the Summary tab. This will show you the height and width of your photo in pixels.
Before you resize your photo, you should think about cropping. When you crop a photo, 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. Take a look at some photos in a magazine, or how things look in movie scenes. The important parts of the picture stand out. They aren't surrounded by too much of the scenery, unless there's a good reason. Don't show someone from the chest up, and then have several inches of sky overhead, as though their head was a bulls eye. Have their head at the top of the photo.
The Bulk Photo Resizer makes it very easy to crop your photo, and see right away how it looks. You can always undo and try over.
Once you crop your photo, it will be a smaller size. This is when you check the size of your photo and decide if it needs to be smaller for your purposes. Don't be too trigger-happy with the save command. When you crop a photo, you might want to save it with a different file name just in case you change your mind. The same advice applies to pictures that you resize. Might you need that same photo in its original size later?
When you save the photo, you will need to know how much compression to use. Compressing a photo means making it take up less space on your hard drive. The problem with compression, though, is that you lose quality. If you go to far, your photo can look downright blotchy. If you will be doing more to your photo, then you want to save it with no compression.
If you are saving it in its final form, then some compression is usually okay, especially for the web. If it is going onto the web, you want it to show up on the page in visitors' browsers as quickly as possible. Also, social networking and dating sites have rules about how many kilobytes a photo can be. If they say it has to be less than 100 KB, then check to see if your photo needs to be compressed or made smaller. Either of these actions will make the file size smaller. That confuses a lot of people. The image size is how big your photo looks, the file size is how much space it takes up on your hard drive. Bigger file sizes take longer to show up on a web page because the visitor is downloading them in their browser when they go to the page.
Bulk Photo Resizer makes it easy to compress your photos. For compression that is not too obvious, use 80. The scale is zero to 100. 60 is a lot of compression, but the image starts to be noticeably blotchy. You probably won't be able to tell there's compression at a setting of 90 or higher, but it will still reduce the file size a good bit.
By the way, the kind of image file that is compressed is usually the kind that ends in .jpg. People call them "jay-pegs,” but no one spells it that way. Almost all the photos on the web are .jpg's.
Of course, there's plenty you can learn about digital photos, but now you know the most important things. Enjoy your photos!
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