How to optimise your photos for online viewing.
Very easy indeed, you just need to remember to do it.
Less than 5 minutes, each time you download.
What do you do when you download photos from your camera to your computer? Do you know where they end up? Can you always find a photo from a couple of years ago when you want it?
Photo editing is a crucial part of your digital workflow. In the good old days of film cameras you didn't need to do this - but you also didn't get the benefits of being able to instantly find all the photos from your daughter's last 3 birthdays or that great sunset you took on holiday.
Editing means ruthlessly deleting. The beauty of digital cameras is that taking pictures costs nothing. And we all end up with many, many more photos than we need or want as a result. Consider editing in camera before you download - maybe on the way back from a holiday or in the car on the way back from a wedding. Delete duplicates, out of focus shots, photos with the lens cap on, pictures where everyone has their eyes shut, anything that is basically a really, really bad photo. This way, when you get home you will have fewer photographs to deal with.
The second stage of editing happens immediately after you have downloaded your photographs. Skim through everything and delete or trash any photos that aren't that great. You will be left with a slimmed down bunch of photos to take care of and treasure.
Where do your photos end up when they have been downloaded? Photo organising software users (such as iPhoto and Picasa) are in the fortunate position of being able to let their computer do all the work for them - it automatically stores photographs in logical places according to your existing preferences and instructions. Users who don't use software need to be a bit more proactive. If this is you, from now on, save all your photos in clearly marked files, organised logically - eg. have have a top level folder for each year, which includes 12 folders, one for each month. If you are using photo organising software, make sure that you are familiar with all the categorisation tools, and that your photos are being downloaded where you want them to be.
If you use photo organising software (which we strongly recommend that you do), not only will your files be organised logically for you, but you have the opportunity to add keywords to photographs. You can do this as you download them, or later. The benefit of doing this is the speed and lack of effort it will take you to find photos in the future. For example if you tag all birthday photos with the keywords 'birthday' and the person's name, you can then search for all that person's birthday photos at once. Family keywords will include names and occasions; travel and landscape keywords will include locations, landmarks and other descriptors. The more specialist your photos, the more detailed you will want your keywords to be - 'flower' will be enough for some but others will want to include the name of the flower and even the Latin name.
Start using photo organising software and keywords for all your future downloads, and when you have a spare half hour, start moving all your old photos into the software and tag them with some keywords.
Do you already have a system in place? What works for you? What are your most useful keywords?
Note: no links are sponsored.