Help with preparing a photo for uploading.

Background: Almost all digital cameras produce photos that have too many pixels for our website to process. Therefore, you must reduce the number of pixels in the image. (This is NOT the same as reducing the file size of the image). Many image processing programs can do this; although some simple ones cannot.

An image must meet two criteria to be processed on our site:

  • it must be at least 500 pixels wide (the image on the home page is 500 pixels wide). A good width is 1024 pixels because such images will completely fill many common computer screens.
  • it must contain fewer than 1.2 million total pixels (i.e. 1.2 megapixels).
  • To determine the total number of pixels in an image multiply width x height.

Method: There are two parts to the method -- cropping and resizing (also called resampling). Cropping is usually done to make an image look better, and you can skip cropping if you are happy with the way your image looks. However, cropping removes pixels from the image, and a large degree of cropping might make the image small enough that you won't need to resample it.

Image processing programs differ in menu systems etc, so these methods are general.

  1. Open your image and then immediately save it as a jpg file under a new name (to be sure you don't alter the original).
  2. Cropping (optional)

  3. Use the cropping tool to draw a box around the part of the image you want to retain. The exact procedure for finishing the crop may differ among programs, but often all you have to do is double click inside the box. You should now see the smaller image on the screen.
  4. Resizing (required, if cropping did not make your image small enough)

  5. Open the dialog box for resizing the image. Its location and name will differ among programs, but here are some examples. Look in the menu system as follows: Image-->Image Size (Photoshop or ImageReady) or Image-->Resample (PhotoPaint), Image-->Resize (Paintshop Pro).
  6. Be sure that the image size is given in pixels.
  7. Check the width of the image; it must be at least 500 pixels wide.
  8. Check the total number of pixels (multiply width x height); it must be less than 1.2 million pixels.
  9. -- If the width and total number of pixels are ok, then click OK and save your file. You are done!
    -- If the width is less than 500 pixels then click Cancel, undo the crop, and start over.
    -- If the the total number of pixels is greater than 1.2 million, then reduce it by resampling the image as follows:

  10. Check the box to Maintain Proportions or Maintain Aspect Ratio to automatically keep the width and height in the same ratio as the original.
  11. If there is an option for the resampling method, you can use bicubic.
  12. Enter a width (at least 500 pixels wide and up to 1400 for landscape or up to 850 for portrait). The height should change proportionally.
  13. Click OK and save your file.
  14. You are done, unless you want to do other image processing such sharpening.