These days, most photographers share their images on the web (for many good reasons). But, before posting images online, there’s a few things you should do to prepare them:
#1 – Convert color space to sRGB
Color spaces are a complex topic, but to ensure the colors in your images look consistently across a wide range of screens, it’s important to convert your images to the sRGB color space before posting them online. This is the most compatible color space across all devices.
Your images may already be in the sRGB color space, but many cameras export images in Adobe RGB 1998 or some cameras have their own unique color space. Be sure to check!
In Photoshop, you can convert your images to sRGB by going to the “Edit” menu and selecting “Convert to Profile” — then, make sure the “Destination Space” is sRGB and press OK.
#2 – Resize from the original image
To preserve the quality and sharpness of your image, it’s best to resize it only once from the original image. Every time you resize a resized version of the image, you’ll lose quality and sharpness. So, if you know the size of the image you’ll be sharing online, resize it to that size from the original. Or, if the platform you’re uploading to automatically resizes anyway, then upload the original (sites that do this include: Facebook, Flickr, and 500px).
#3 – Always sharpen last
To maximize the sharpness of your images, always sharpen LAST after any resize. If you sharpen the image and then resize, you’ll actually lose some of that sharpness quality or the image might end up looking over sharpened.
#4 – Add copyright information
Before posting your images online, it’s also a good idea to add some copyright information to your images to help protect them. This could be as unobtrusive as adding some metadata to the file, or you could also add watermarks on top of your image. I discussed this more in a previous post.
#5 – Save images to JPEG at a minimum 80% quality
Although broadband Internet speeds are widely available now, it’s still a good idea to compress your images a little. JPEG is an excellent format for this, and you’ll barely notice any quality difference if you set the quality to at least 80%.
What did I miss?
Is there another thing you do to prepare your images for the Web? If so, please tell us about it by leaving a comment below. Thanks! 🙂
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About the Author: Steve Berardi is a nature photographer, software engineer, and founder of PhotoNaturalist. You can usually find him hiking in the beautiful mountains and deserts of southern California.
Steve, thank you for this concise article on how to prepare photos for the web. Very few people, even experienced photographers do not understand color space and that the sRGB is the universal way to display photos on the web. The same is true with resizing photos for the web as many servers have size limitations. When people look at their photos on the web and they do not look as good as they did in post processing this article explains it all if they take the time to read it and understand the importance of what you say!
“Always sharpen last”. This step is important, I think. Thank you for this useful steps. Some of us do not know them.