Powerful Photography: Using Images on Your Website or Blog: The Absolute Essentials

So you’re posting your own images on your website or blog (hopefully professionally shot, or at the very least pimped up quickly via my cheat post from earlier today…), what sorts of things do you need to think about? These are the absolute basics of posting an image – I’d love to hear your basics too – do add your thoughts at the bottom…

Consistent Widths

This one is a bit of an obsession for me. I like to scroll down a blog and see images of a consistent width. And nothing, upon nothing, niggles me more than seeing a whole range of sized images – from thumbnails to half widths to full widths and almost there’s – yuk!

Find out from your blog designer what size images you should use and stick to it. Put two portrait images next to eachother if needs be – or use a lovely background to pad things out. But please, pay a bit of attention to how your blog post looks as a whole! Check out Matt Tyler’s beautiful wedding blog and you will see exactly what I mean – beautiful images all the same size. Aaaah!

File Size: Maximum of 70k

Uploading your images straight out of the camera onto your blog is baaaaad news. My camera takes files that are 3456 pixels wide and at least 4MB in size. Most blogs need images that are around 500-700 pixels wide at around 70k in size.

Loading your image straight from camera will mean your blog takes forever to load and annoys your visitors. You’re also uploading a whole load of image that just isn’t going to be needed. So take the time to downsize your pictures. I use an “action” in Photoshop that automatically downsizes my images without lots of tedious work. But you can do this in most image editing packages.

I also take the trouble to save my images for web. This reduces the file size further and means that my pictures load in maximum time.

You need to be looking at the size of the image (bottom left, delightfully circled in green) and then fiddle around with the quality of the image until you get the file size you’re looking for. You don’t have to be pedantic about it – sometimes my images are 80k or 90k but on the whole I’m aiming for 70k.

Naming your images so they get found

Try naming your files something interesting. Google images can be an invaluable source of traffic for your business. You’re not going to get a whole lot of people searching for IMG12345 but you might get visitors if you call the image something descriptive – ie english-bluebell-tabletop-vignette.jpg so think carefully about what you name your files.

To watermark or not?

I always used to watermark my images and recently I’ve stopped bothering. Why? Because I don’t mind if people use my images as long as they credit and link them back to me, and they’re less likely to do so if I’ve smacked a big watermark all over them. I understand why photographers might want to do this, but I would question whether you want to if you’re not a photographer. If you’re selling cakes, jewellery or handmade products, surely the more websites that feature your images (and link back to your site) the better? What do you think?

What other basics do you think about when using images on your website or blog?

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