Digital Photo Gallery Tips

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What file size does your digital photo need to be for an online gallery?

Easier Gallery Viewing

While high-resolution files are great for printing tack-sharp digitial photos, they're bad news for online galleries. That's because large files take a long time to display. And you don't want to make your gallery's visitors wait to see your images - they may move on.

The solution is to post smaller files for viewing. Here's an example:

If your original image is a JPEG file, about 10" x 7" at 300 ppi (pixels per inch), and using minimum compression, it's about a 4 MB file. That will take a long time to display, even if the person viewing your gallery has a high-speed Internet connection.

But a photo that big is overkill anyway, since 72 ppi displays beautifully on almost any monitor. Plus, do your viewers really need to see your photos as enlargements? More often than not, a 4" x 6" will be plenty big enough.

Use your image editing software to resize the image to 6" x 4" at 72 ppi, and you'll reduce the file size to about 170 KB, even using minimum compression. Increase the compression to medium, and you can get the file to less than 100 KB - 30 times smaller than the original 4 MB file!

When resizing your files, keep the following things in mind:

1) You have to resize using your image editing software. Resizing on the Web page itself doesn't change the actual file size - or the time it takes to load.

2) Don't overdo the compression. The greater the compression, the smaller the file. But it also means you'll lose more data. And lost data translates to less detail - and more fuzziness - in the viewed image.

3) To avoid losing your original image, save your resized images under a new file name. For example, if your original file is named Flowers123, you could name the resized file Flowers123a. If you save your resized file under the original file name, your computer will replace the original file with the new, smaller file.

   
Why do people post online digital galleries?

Digital Photo Gallery Options

If you're thinking of posting a digital photo gallery online, you have several options. There's sure to be one that fits your needs.

Commercial photo sites such as Kodak Gallery (www.kodakgallery.com),Snapfish (www.snapfish.com) and Shutterfly (www.shutterfly.com) primarily offer printing services, but also allow members to post and share digital photo galleries online.

Other sites, such as Webshots (www.webshots.com) and Flickr (www.flickr.com) focus more on the social aspect of sharing digital photo galleries. While the majority of these sites do offer prints and other products, most members join primarily for the social aspect of sharing their images.

You can also post your photo galleries for free on social networking sites such as Facebook (www.facebook.com). But unlike Flickr and other photo-centric communities, digital photo galleries are more of an afterthought on these sites.

A fourth option is to post a gallery on your own site. Web hosts offer sites for as little as $4 or $5 per month, enabling you to post your photos in your own digital gallery without any membership restrictions. If you're interested solely in showcasing your images, this may be a good choice.

Photo blogs (or phlogs) are a relatively recent development. They're blogs ("Web logs") that consist primarily of pictures. Photo blogging software - which makes buillding and maintaining your phlog easier - is available from a number of companies, such as Pixelpost (www.pixelpostorg), or as one of several photo plug-ins for the popular WordPress blogging software.

   
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Carma Spence-Pothitt