– By Deb Carney a.k.a. Loxly
Web sites need images to break up the text and show your visitors things you want them to see. Taking photos that you specifically want to use on a Web site is different than taking family photos or photos for print production.
First, they don’t have to be huge in size. You simply want an image that is big enough to show what you need, clear and properly exposed. Let’s take this step by step.
It doesn’t have to be a DSLR to get good images to use on your Web site. You can use a small camera or even the camera in your phone, as long as it has good optics and exposure settings. The largest size image you want to show on a Web site is about 500×500 pixels, which is very small by today’s camera standards.
But you want that image to be super sharp. If your phone takes blurry underexposed pictures, don’t use it. Most digital cameras are fine for general photography.
If you need to take close ups of products, you will need a better camera, one with a “macro” mode that will let you get close to your subject. Be careful, though, with close up shots that you don’t use a lens that makes the subject distorted (fisheye effect).
And remember that since you don’t need large files you can crop to make the subject bigger.
Hold it Steady
Hold your camera steady when you are taking pictures that you are going to use online. If it is in the evening or at night and you don’t want to use a flash (like night shots in a city for a travel site) lean the camera on a light pole or a mailbox.
Anything that you can set the camera on that won’t move can be used as a makeshift tripod. Even if you have a tripod, some cities and parks don’t allow them to be used in certain areas without a permit.
For daytime pictures, shooting outdoors in sunlight is usually fine, but avoid shooting directly into the sun. Indoors you want to use a flash to avoid images that are dark or have a yellow overtone to them.
Use a photo editing software (most computers come with them now, and there are plenty of free ones) to crop your images and resize them.
The image that comes straight from the camera is WAY too big to use on your Web site. Don’t use the resize tags in your HTML code to make the file fit. Doing that uses valuable bandwidth and slows your page load time.
Open the picture in your editing software and use the crop function to eliminate extra space around your subject. Next resize the image so that it is 500 pixels on its longest edge. Then use File, Save As to save the modified version of your image.
Hopefully these tips will help you take pictures that will spice up your Web site and make a good impression on your site visitors.
Download the entire FeedFront issue 5 here