Easier Gallery Viewing

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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.

   

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Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.