Feb 17, 2011

Website Content: Photography Tips

Great Photos Help Make Great Websites!  Adding high quality photographs to your website is one sure way to help impress visitors to your website. 

Although Cole WebMarketing offers local Charlotte, NC area on-site and off-site professional DSLR (digital single lens reflex) high resolution (15MB) still photography services, sometimes our clients might want or need to "shoot themselves". 

Garbage In / Garbage Out is a phrase commonly heard in the Information Technology world, so here are a several Photography Tips to help you provide us with good raw materials to work with.

Especially for home builders, new/custom machinery development, any business involved with refurbishment/restoration (before and after photos are a must!), etc. - it's best to capture and preserve daily/weekly (or major event) project progress.

For best results, it's best to use a tri-pod to mount the camera, even if it's a simple, inexpensive "point & shoot" camera. Remember to shoot from several positions around project. Be sure to make those positions (tape on floor, stake in ground, etc.) to ensure you get the same angle/view each time.

For still camera shots, take one photo zoomed out and then one zoomed in.  Always take two identical shots in case the first is flawed (lighting, focus, or other issue). You might even want to take a few and alter the settings slightly. It's recommended to not shoot too tight in regard to shot framing.  Excess can be trimmed during post production by us, but if you cut off body parts, sections of equipment/machinery, etc. - it's garbage in / garbage out!

As soon as possible after shooting, transfer your photos to your PC.  To best organize your content, create folders - with clear and concise labels. Including the date is also helpful.  I prefer this dating format: 2011-0217 (for February 17, 2011). Main folder example: SmithHome_2011-0217.

Using this format style helps with chronological sorting later. Inside the main folder, create sub-folders, also clearly and concisely named.  Smith_OutsideFront, Smith_OutsideBack, Smith_InsideLiving, Smith_InsideKitchen, etc.

And finally, it's always a good idea to make backup copies of anything shot. You want to preserve a back up of any and all "master originals". You can store a copy on another PC and/or external hard drive. It's also easy to burn to CD or DVD, and "off-site" storage is recommended.

We prefer that our clients don't edit photos on their end. However, if you feel the need, keep in mind not to downsize photos. We sometimes get tiny photos (150 x 150 pixels for example) and while a large photo can be made smaller, increasing the size of a small photo always results in degradation of quality - i.e., blurry and/or ''pixelated'' (jagged edges).  In post production we can make big small; but not small big.
PHOTO FORMAT & SIZE: Cole WebMarketing always tries to follow current "best industry practices". JPG file format is recommended. For website photo display, most "large pics" we use are 750 pixels wide x 500 high - small pics are 200-350 pixels wide.  Maximum total website/photo width is 960 pixels wide, as this size avoids the dreaded "side scrolling" for 96-99% of all internet users.  

To get your photos in our hands for "post production" - editing/enhancement for website use, you can email photos, several at time.  If you have more than 50MB or dozens of photos, we can help you to "FTP" them to your website server for our retrieval, or you can burn and snail mail a CD or DVD. 

For more information about this blog post topic, please visit CarolinaWebsiteDesign.com and then call Cole WebMarketing at 704-503-7069.

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