Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tech Talk Tuesday Part 2

How Big Should I Post My Photos on My Blog???

I've had several people ask me how I get my photos to post so big.  I'll tell you how in a minute, but first, some deep thoughts about photography, blogging, and combining the two.  (Don't worry, not too deep I hope!)  
The first question to ask yourself is,  "Why do I want to post big photos?"  No, actually the first question is, "Why do I post photos on my blog in the first place??"  Well, what is the purpose of your blog?  Here are some reasons to blog where photos may be included:

1.  Keep in touch with family and friends
2.  Keep an online journal of my daily life and that of my family
3.  Outlet for my creative writing
4.  Earn money blogging about a popular topic when I get enough followers
5.  Attract customers for my photography business
6.  Want to connect with others who share my passion for photography 

Of course there are many more reasons to blog, but of this short list, I suggest that for the first 4 reasons, small to medium photos will do just fine.  This is because the photos are just supporting the main reason for the blog, they are not playing the staring role.  In the last 2 reasons, photography IS the reason for the blog.
I did a quick check of all my favorite photo blogs I follow, and the majority post big, beautiful photos.  They say "HERE I AM" right at the get-go without any additional effort or clicks on my part.  Big photos say, "Photography is my passion, it's a BIG part of my life, and I want you to see what I see through my viewfinder."  It's kind of like the difference between watching a movie on a 16 inch TV compared to watching in the theater.  Big photos make a bigger impact and show off your talents as a photographer better. 
I also noted that most of my favorite photo bloggers only show one or two photos per post.  This gives me more time to study and appreciate the photographer's work.  When there are too many photos, I find myself quickly skimming through them without really seeing the photographer's vision.  This reminds me of a post awhile back on Scott Kelby's blog.  He was giving advice to professional portrait/wedding photographers who were trying to use their blogs and websites to attract business.  He said that one mistake so many make is they post way too many photos.  He said a photographer should only post a few of his very, very, very best images .  That way, potential customers will assume that all his images are amazing because all they see are amazing photos.   I believe he suggested having a fellow photographer pick out a few of the best images, because often we photographers have a hard time being objective about our own work.   On this blog, (which falls into the No. 6 reason mentioned above), I sometimes sneak in a series of family photos, but usually I try hard to be selective and think about what my viewers would really like, because I truly want you to enjoy and be inspired by what inspires me.  I am always so grateful to get comments and emails from people saying they enjoy my photography, but I often wonder if they'd be impressed with the thousands of images that don't make it to the blog!
O.K.  here's how I make my photos BIG:  First of all, I almost always shoot in RAW which gives me a huge file since my camera gives me 21 megapixels.  For each photo shoot I keep three files:  (1) the originals, (2) the edits which are the original size, (3) the edits resized for the WEB.  I use Photoshop and Lightroom which makes resizing really easy, but no matter what program you use, you have to be able to do this:  Size your photo to 900 pixels on the longest side, (and then whatever the number is on the short side to maintain the correct proportions), and then chose 72 dpi.  (For printing, I use the original size and 300 dpi which is probably overkill).  After you resize, you need to sharpen most images.  Upload to blogger from a file on your computer, not flickr or Picassa, etc.  After you've uploaded to blogger, go to the 'Edit HTML' tab.  You will see about 4 lines of computer code identifying your photo.    Toward the end you will see  /s320/
Change this to  /s900/
You may also have to find the width and height codes and change them to your exact photo dimensions.
This should make your photo BIG and BEAUTIFUL!  (If anyone still has problems, send me a comment or an email and I'll help you figure it out.)  I'm looking forward to seeing more of your big and beautiful photographs!


A Life In Focus Photography said...

thanks so much for sharing your gifts and talents. i always find something i need to know. i have quite a few holes, being new to this and self taught.

Sandra said...

thanks Karen, I look forward to your Tech Talks. I will try this. I love photography and that is my whole reason for blogging. if no photos, no blog. but i also enjoy telling a story with the photos AND socializing. you are right, it depends on what the blogger is trying to do.

Robin said...

Karen, I see my reasons in there! Although I'm not doing it for the money, photography is definitely a passion.

bugnose7 said...

Karen your big photos always inspire me.

Denise said...

Thanks Karen, all very interesting. I'll have to try this out.

Denise said...

Thanks Karen, all very interesting. I'll have to try this out.