Thinking in Pixels

When you take a picture with a digital camera, the resulting photo is quite large. On my camera, the large photos are 3072 pixels wide by 2304 pixels high. For prints, one needs that large size. However, if I put that on my browser without reducing the size, it would be way too big. And take a while to load. So I like to put up a photo that is a size that I need, not that large original size. One can often let your blog software do the reduction in size. But you may find that those posts take a while to load.

What is a good size for a photo (one to be displayed on the web)?
If you are displaying a photo on the web, you are best off picking a suitable size for the photo. I often make photos 520 pixels wide when I display them on my blog. Your column for content on your blog may be narrower, so you may want to experiment a bit to find the ideal size for your blog. When I display them alone I will often choose 800 pixels wide. Here’s an example:
fall leaves
This image is 520 pixels wide. If you click on it, it will appear 800 pixels wide and without the blog header or side bar.

A convenient way to post several photos on one blog post is to use thumbnails. A thumbnail can be 50×50 pixels, 80×80 pixels, 100×150 pixels; there’s no set size. The idea is to get a glimpse of the photo and encourage the reader to click on it to see it larger:
How does one get photos to be in a preferred size?
The best way to get a photo in a certain size is use photo editing software. I use Photoshop, but you can use a less expensive product (see top 10 photo editing software 2008) and still get many features. You can also use free tools, such as Picasa (do a Picasa Export on the photo and it will allow you to type in a different size for your photo).

Here’s a quick and easy way using Flickr (you might be able to do something similar with Photobucket or SmugMug) to get a photo in several different sizes, so you can choose the one you want for your blog post.

  1. Open an account on Flickr, if you don’t already have one.
  2. Upload your photo (or 2 or 3).
  3. If you click on “All Sizes”, Flickr will display the photo at a variety of sizes. As an example, you can see my leaves photo at a variety of sizes. Right click on the one you want for your post, save that image, and upload it to your blog post.
  4. You can just use the thumb or small size, and then link it in your post to your Flickr account so viewers can see the larger size. OR
  5. You can choose the larger size, and let your blog software offer choices of sizes (in WordPress, one can choose Full, Medium, or Thumbnail).

Please let me know if you find any of this helpful or if you would like to me clarify any of this. Or if you want me to post on a related topic. Or if you have further suggestions for readers on this topic. Recommendations for others on photo editing software would be helpful; if I get enough of those comments, I can later put them in a post.

 See Wikipedia’s definition of a pixel

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12 thoughts on “Thinking in Pixels

  • Your photographs are lovely!

    I incorporate small resolution photos in my posts (small width and lenghth, and always with a dpi of 72.

    In the digital camera world, having more pixels is not always indicative of having a better camera. Quite often, the higher the pixels, the more the image has distortion in it. I only buy cameras that accommodate the largest size I will want to use in a print, whether for personal use, or to sell it.

  • I think the 520 wide one is ideal in a post. I hope eventually to get down to just one sidebar and have the post area 520 pix wide like that.

    Wonderful visual impact.

    I think I’m getting a new (and better!) camera soon!!

  • that’s so cool I didn’t know you can do that with a Flickr account, I never really looked into it.

    I just always resize the photos on my blog by dragging them to the size of a thumbnail.

    I love finding out about cool new applications.

    also what you said about real pictures being much bigger, now it makes sense why if you get photo attachments in g-mail and you right click and view the image, it’s huge and takes up the whole screen with scroll bars. So that would come in handy to reduce the size of those so that you can view them at a glance without having to scroll through it to see one part at a time.

  • Lorri, glad you like my photos. I took the first two last fall.
    Jannie, enjoy your new camera! Hope you can post something fun with it.
    Babysitter, yes, you might actually find using a Flickr account to get the size you want easy and helpful. And do try some free photo editing software, too. You can do a lot with photos. Sometimes I reduce photos before sending them in email, if I don’t think they will print the photo.

  • thanks for the excellent explanation.

    flickr is a problem. They limit the amount of pictures you can upload on the free one. photobucket it better.

    When I did 19’s An Odd Number–JPIX I wanted to work quickly and couldn’t have done it like I did if I was going to play with the sizes.

    ps Could you explain how the pixel numbers on the cameras match this?

  • Batya, I haven’t played with Photobucket. I’ll try it at some point. Flickr seems to have nice “toys”, even if it is severally limited for numbers of pictures.

    Could you explain how the pixel numbers on the cameras match this
    If you have 6 megapixel camera, you are going to get more details than with a 3 megapixel camera. You can get good pictures for the web with a 3 megapixel camera, but with a 6 megapixel camera you can crop the picture and use a smaller part of it and still get a decent photo.

  • Thanks
    Mine is 7.1, which gives me great pictures when printed.

    I like photobucket, since it’s easier to get all the codes, and you can change sizes etc.

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