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Preparing photos for the Gallery

Submitted by biff on 2003-04-13 | Last Modified on 2010-02-24

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Preparing a photo for Photo Gallery

1) Scan: Photos in the gallery are are all relatively low quality; if you are scanning a 4x6, you can probably set your scanner at 75dpi Colour photo. If you want just part of your 4x6 print (you plan on cropping your digitized image), you might have to increase the dpi in order to get an appropriate sized final image. Remember your final image should be around 400x600, if your scanner says that the image you are going to capture is smaller or much larger than that, you might want to adjust your scanner settings (higher DPI = larger output image)

2) Edit: Once you have a digital copy of your image, you may want to edit it. Check out my next article about Editing images for some outdoor photography specific tips on ways to improve the quality of your image

*Note: At this point, should you want to save your photo for personal record, you should sharpen your image and save a copy without resizing or compression. Resizing and Compressing will significantly reduce the quality of your image, but make it more suitable for purposes.

3) Resize: To get an appropriately sized image on the majority of Web-surfers' monitors you will want to have your larger dimension around 550 pixels and your smaller dimension no less than 400 pixels. If your image is too wide, most people will have to scroll their web-browser window sideways, which can be frustrating. If you feel important detail in your photo is lost by the reduction of image size, do what you can to keep the width of your image less than 700 pixels, even if it means re-cropping your image. The resize tool is generally under the Image menu in photo editing programs, and may be called "Image Size" (Photoshop see image to the right) or "Resize" (Paint Shop Pro). You only need to resize your image if it is larger than the guidelines outlined above .. resizing an image to make it larger than it currently is, doesn't make sense for posting on


4) Sharpen: Blurring of your image will occur during all of the previous steps; sharpening your image may give your photo a better look. It is a good rule to only sharpen an image just before saving it and to try to get the results you want with a single application of a filter. Although sharpening an image may make it look better, it usually causes a loss of information which might be useful during the editing process, especially for resizing. Most Photo Editing programs have some automatic sharpening tools similar to the ones found in photoshop (see image). Play around with the automatic filters, and with different parameters in the Unsharp Mask. The name "unsharp mask" seems like it will unsharpen the image, but in fact I find it the most useful because you have much more control of the sharpening effects. See my image editing article for more information on sharpening and unsharp mask. Almot all images will look better once they have been properly sharpened.


5) Saving / Compressing: It is important to select the correct compression ratio when saving a photo to post on Since the photos on are only intended for viewing on computer monitors, and are not to be printed, Image files can be made significantly smaller through jpeg compression. It is important to get the smallest file size possible to lighten the load on the photo server and to speed up download times for users. The Jpeg compression algorithm is adjustable but lossy, meaning you can tell it how much you want it to compress the image, but final image quality will decrease with higher compression. (it is important to note that image compression is different from image resizing). Click Save or Save As from the file menu as you normally would to save your image, then when the save options box appears, select the "Save as Type"(Paint Shop Pro) or "Format"(Photoshop) to "JPEG .jpg .jpeg .jpe", then set the compression level as follows:

In Photoshop once you select jpeg, and then press "Save" it will automatically take you to a "Jpeg Options" window (see image). Here you can select your Image Quality (lower quality = higher compression). It also gives you the very handy option of a preview; as you decrease quality you may notice your image become "blocky" , select the lowest quality that looks good enough to you.
In Paint Shop Pro, like most programs it is easy to not properly set compression. Once you select Save As Type JPEG, the Options box will become pressable. Press it and adjust your compression ratio, or press the "Run Optimizer" button to get a nifty little tool to guide you through a quality interface similar to Photoshop's. compression 2

I saved the above PhotoShop Save options screenshot in high quality, and the Paint Shop pro screenshot in very low quality so that the effects of high compression can clearly be seen. Since you can still easily read the text in both images, why not save time, space and's bandwidth by saving images in very low quality.

Now you have a small and compressed copy of your photo ready to upload through the "Submit Photo" page on Don't forget to link your photo to the Area and Section if your photo was taken at a Climbing area. Once your photo is successfully posted, you can delete the small copy off your computer.


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