Pictures, we all love them on our websites, the more the better, or maybe not. The number one request to a web designer is to add more pictures to our site. Also the number one request from web designers is to have more images from the clients. Lets take a moment and talk about pictures.
Professional pictures from a photographer, is always the best option for images to promote your website or products. But there are some things you need to keep in mind. First and the most important is file size. A picture straight from a camera is usually 300 dpi (dots per inch) because of this, they are naturally too large for the web. A good size for web images are 72 dpi. Now it does not need to be exactly 72 but as close as possible.
If you are not sure what size your images are, right click on them, go to Properties -> Details, and it will show you. So now you are wondering, how do I reduce the file size? Before I tell you how, lets go with why. A large file size will slow the loading of your page down, and usually a 1200 px wide image will not fit on the site. Remember MySpace? This was part of it’s down fall, everyone throwing giant images all over their layout, plus other things.
Now to reduce the file size you will need a program like Photoshop or GIMP. Photoshop might not fit your budget, but GIMP is a free version that can do the same thing. Also there are many image web sites out there that can change the size of your images. Of course all of this comes with a learning curve.
Now that we know not to add large 300 dpi images to web sites, let us cover the other important issue, copyright. The days of stealing images off of Google are over. Sure you can use images for your personal use, but if you take a picture of a flower from Google and post it to your website with out credit to the owner you may be issued a cease and desist order, and if you don’t take it down you could be sued.
I know what you are thinking, well they will never catch me, wrong! There is image recognition software now that can scan the whole web looking for stolen images. I suggest you break down and pay for your images or use free stock images with proper rights. Websites like Shutterstock and Photodune offer reasonably priced images to use.
The last part I would like to talk about scanning. Often clients don’t have images, so they want me to scan a brochure or newspaper article. Now sometimes you can get a pretty good image from this, but keep in mind if you hand me an old dirty business card with a logo the size of a penny, the results are not going to be perfect. Also when ever you or your company has a logo made make sure to get the digital copy of it. It saves you a ton of headaches in the long run for printing and other uses.
So, in closing make sure you have a legal copy of an image, the image has been reduce to a smaller file size and if scanned, it’s a clear good copy.