Photo/Image/Graphics Editing 101



Initially, I guess I'll focus on the editing, but if anyone needs help on taking pictures, I should be able to provide some links there also.

First and foremost, be sure you have the rights to use all images/graphics/logos, etc. included in your ads. Either take the pics yourself, get them from a Public Domain source, or get permission from the rights holder. At the very least, note the copyright or trademark and give credit to the source.

You will need a decent photo/image editing program. There are many free ones available on the web and I will be trying to compile a source list to be posted either here or on a webpage I am working on which will soon be linked here.

Two such free programs are;

IrfanView

VicMan's PhotoEditor

I use IrfanView quite a bit, but have only recently tried VicMan's

Most of the things I have created [logos, etc] have been done in ArcSoft PhotoStudio 2000 SE, which I got free with my Fuji 2650 Camera. It is available for sale on the web also [and I believe in some retail stores];

ArcSoft Software

Some basic editing can be done in Windows resident programs such as MS Paint, but you are quite limited there.

There is a learning curve with any such program, so don't expect to be proficient in a matter of hours. Paint Shop Pro [PSP] can take months to learn, or so I have heard; I have not tried to tackle it yet.

Of course, if the picture is bad or cluttered to begin with, no amount of editing can make it great.

Cropping is one of the easiest things to do and one of the most effective.

Text overlaying using colored text/fonts is also simple and included in most programs. Actual watermarking is different and not always included in free or low cost programs.

A simple example of cropping and text overlay can be seen here:



Here you will find a ~*FREE*~ On-Line watermarking
tool as well as a great gallery making tool called Clic*Pic: 


File Size vs Image Size

There is a common but significant misunderstanding about 'size' when it comes to images. There are 2 important factors to remember:

Image Size or Dimension refers to the amount of screen space an image takes and is measured in pixels.

File Size refers to how much storage space an image occupies on your hard drive and is measured in kilobytes or Kb.

Both can be seen here:


You can see from the above screen cap, that there is very little correlation between dimension and file size. Larger images DO NOT always have larger file sizes.

"Resizing" an image generally means changing it's dimensions which does little for the file size. Compressing an image changes the file size, but not necessarily the dimension.

File Size is the important number when placing images in a listing since it affects loading, the amount of time it takes for an image to appear on the viewer's screen. You do not want to place any individual image with a file size greater than 50Kb. Remember that some 2/3 of U.S. internet users still do not have broadband web service, either by choice or because it is not available or cost effective. You do not want images so big that they do not load quickly for the viewer.

Image Size or Dimension is also important since it affects the layout and spacing of your template. Most viewers have their screen resolution set to 800 pixels wide although many are set wider. You do not want to make the viewer scroll side to side to see your listing, so no one image should be wider than 600 pixels, less if you intend to place images side by side. 2 images, each 600 pixels wide is not appropriate, as that would total well over 1300 pixels in total width including spacing and other page coding.

OK, with that in mind;

This photo of Stephanie Seymour is 384 pixels wide x 614 pixels tall and 51.8Kb: This one is the same physical size, but compressed to a setting of 75 and the resulting file size is only 25.3Kb, meaning it will load much faster.
Stephanie Seymour Stephanie Seymour
Can you see any significant difference in quality?


This one is 'resized' to half the physical dimension, but NOT compressed. The resulting file size is actually larger [ 42.8Kb ] than the larger, compressed image above, meaning it will take LONGER to download even though it appears smaller.

Stephanie Seymour

The least effective way to 'size' an image is by using HTML "width=" and "height=" attributes. It works as far as changing the size the image appears, but it does NOTHING about file size. It still take just as long to download as the full size image would without the tags.



Resizing and compression [as well as many other things] can be done with the FREE editor IrfanView.

For those devoted to MicroSoft, they also offer a FREE PowerToy Image Resizer.

Both are available from links on the main page.