Working with images can be confusing. Believe me. And if you’re not really interested in learning more about graphics it can be a real chore. I’m lucky because working with and creating graphics is something I love to do so I dove in head first learning and absorbing everything I could about using images to enhance my work. There’s a big bright world out there full of wondrous images so I’m always on the prowl to gain as much knowledge about how to work with them as I can.
Questions pop up about which types of images to use and why, which is best for your projects, how to save them, what sizes to use, and so on. I often get asked about these issues and want to share some basics in case you’re struggling with trying to figure it out.
This will be the first of a series of Question/Answer type posts to help you to better understand the terminology and how to use images effectively.
We’ll start with a couple of questions from one of my clients.
Here we go!
“I had a question about saving my images and other images. I want to start saving images in the most effective way. I have had problems loading images before because they needed to be a ‘certain way’ in techie terms.
- Can you tell me what is the best and easiest way to save and use images?
- I want to start using images in my blogs and on the sites, I see you can buy certain sizes and such. Is there a best size to use?”
As for saving and using the images, the simple answer is use .jpg (same as .jpeg) for photos and other images with tons of colors, use .png for everything else. Also, if you have transparent elements or a transparent background you will need to use the .png format.
As for image sizes, when I buy from stock photo sites I generally by the smallest size (xs at Deposit Photo):
- because it the least expensive; and,
- because smaller images load faster.
I like to have my images as wide as my blog page because I like to show a full blog width photo that’s easy to see. Some people choose to make them smaller and off to the side of text. It’s really just your preference. When I create my images I make them to 500 to 600 pixels wide and that is good for my blog.
If you choose an image that you want to use on the internet as well as in print (like for business cards or letterhead) you would want to choose one that is at least 300dpi (Not that you asked this but just a little nugget of info. in case).
I’ll be back next week with another Question/Answer post. In the meantime if you have specific questions about images, please respond in the comments or send me a message though the contact page and I’ll do my best to answer in a coming post.