Friday, July 12, 2013

Prepping Photos for Web Sites and Blogs

I usually shoot for maximum image quality in the camera so that I always have the option to make large prints, project onto a large screen or do major manipulations to the file. This means shooting RAW files with the camera mounted on a tripod and the shutter triggered with a remote or the self-timer. When downloaded to my computer from the memory card these original files are quite large, require adjustments to exposure, saturation and contrast and cannot be recognized by most web software or even many image editing programs.
This original image of otters is 4272x2848 pixels and has had basic exposure, saturation, contrast and color adjustments done in Adobe Camera RAW. It was then converted to a .psd Adobe Photoshop file.
Once photo files are transferred from the camera memory card to my computer, I check them for sharpness and delete any files that are not sharp because of camera movement, subject movement or bad focus. These RAW format files are 4272x2848 pixels out of my DSLR camera and 16-bit.

The sharp files are then adjusted for exposure, contrast and color. These adjustments are all done in Adobe Camera RAW or another RAW file converter. They are saved as .psd Adobe Photoshop files and the original RAW file is retained so that the option of a different "development" in the future is retained.

The .psd file is fine-tuned as needed in Adobe Photoshop, PaintShopPro or a similar editing program. These adjustments are always made on layers to retain the original file intact. If cropping is needed, as is the case with this otter photo, that is done next. After cropping the file size is 2950x1967 pixels. This file is saved with a "cropped" appellation.
This is the cropped, 8-bit, 1000 pixel wide .jpg file called "mg3209-otter-cropped-web" on my photography hard drive.

For general full-column web use I then re-size the longest dimension to 1000 pixels while retaining the same image proportions. This file is changed to 8-bit and saved as a medium quality .jpg file with a "web" appellation added to the end of the file name. I will generally save this web version to the file folder containing images for use on a particular web site or blog.

For a file that was properly exposed in the camera using the correct color balance setting and is not overly contrasty, this entire process from camera memory card to uploaded to a blog takes 5-10 minutes. Some files, of course, require considerably more work(and time).

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