One of things that makes this age great is the Web and mobile devices. These are changing the way we live in many ways. It is also changing the nature of photography.
Photographs can be shared in any number of ways, both between individual people and on public and semi-public platforms such as Flickr, Facebook. Or in private galleries like Mosaic View. Individual blogs and websites are another outlet for your photographic art to be seen.
But, have you ever gone to a website (especially one featuring photographs), just to wait and wait for a page full of pictures to load and finally become so discouraged that you leave the site before ever getting to see the pictures that brought you to that website in the first place? If you want your photos to be seen by people, the last thing you want to do is to make it a chore for the viewer to see them.
The first thing you are going to have to do is to decide what you want to get out of your site or blog. If it is just to have a photo to go with an article, then you will have to resize your photo and then see if the file size is small enough to load quickly on the slowest systems.
But let us assume something more difficult – that you are an amateur photographer who wants to place his or her photographs on the web. Now, having an eye for quality means that your original photograph is somewhere around two and a half megabytes or larger. This results in an image of 3680×2760, which is far too large to use on any web page. Keep in mind that the pictures a digital camera produces is not going to be the same size as the sensor capability. The 2.5 meg photo just mentioned was taken with a ten megapixel camera. For most web pages or blogs, you will need to shrink the size of any images used on a page down to between a few and several hundred pixels on each side. This is the most important thing you can do to prepare your photos for the web.
If you are a Lightroom user, than Lightroom makes it very easy to resize your images on export. Just select the “image resizing” option on the Lightroom export dialog. This creates a new file for you to use on your blog or website.
If you are not a Lightroom user, this does not need to be difficult or expensive. There are numerous inexpensive or even free programs on the web that will help you resize and tweak your photographs. My favorite is called Irfanview. The program is free, and you can change your picture to any size you like. A great paid alternative is Perfect Resize by our friends at OnOne Software. It is also possible to do other simple, but powerful, things to your photos to get them ready for display.
When preparing a page of our favorite photos that we have taken, make copies of all of them before doing anything else. Do NOT resize your originals! I suggest putting an “_sm” (for small) after the file names of any copies I make. That way, I can easily tell which of them have been resized and which are the originals. Therefore, for Photo1.jpg, I would make a copy of it called Photo1_sm.jpg before doing any resizing. By the way, .RAW images are the best choice of format to have your camera set to for the original photo, but make a .JPG copy in the original resolution as well for web use.
Any exports I create using Lightroom, I delete almost immediately after using. There is really not much use for them and you can always create them again easily in Lightroom.
Most software will ask you for a desired size in pixels, and when we go for physical printing, we want to use at least 300 dots per inch. For example, an 4×5” photo would need to be at least 1200×1500 pixels. But, for the web, that is far too large, and most images are usually 96 DPI, where a 4×5” picture measures 384×480.
Then, upload both the original resolution files (in .JPG for the general public and .RAW for more serious photo lovers), and use the smaller versions to display on your page. Next to the photo, give people a chance to view or download the full-sized images. That way, your page will load quickly and your viewers will still get a chance to see your art in all its glory.
Enjoy yourself, and show off your talent to the world.