Optimizing Photos for Your Website

An important element of any website is photos and images – they help tell a story, communicate the next steps, bring new and returning visitors to the site and much more.  Yet, photos that are not optimized lead to slow webpage load times and load time is a major factor that influences the desirability of your website.

Faithwebsites application already downsizes images automatically for you when the image is placed on the site using tools (such as the Photo Gallery, Slide Show, and Text/Graphic Editor), but depending on the image size and type, the auto-downsize may not be always be enough for a good result. And while our tool is a huge time saver for most photo uploads, high traffic or key images on your site should be optimized using photo editing software in order to produce an size optimized photo that didn’t lose any quality. Finally, images that are added to the site through the use of uploading the file image in your File Uploads area are not downsized through the application at all – so this is where we see our customers really having optimization struggles.

How do you go about doing photo optimization? There are many experts out there with formulas for bit depth, resolution and dimension, but we find that is not practical or necessary for most of our customers. Instead, we suggest that you will find very good results with the following options.

Installed Applications (purchased):

  • Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. If you own this software, you already own one of the best tools on the market to optimize your photos for web. (Hint: If you don’t know how to use the software, do a Google or YouTube search for “Photoshop tutorial optimzing photos for web” and you’ll find a wealth of free tutorials that will have you on your way in short order.)
  • Mac users – here again, you are in luck. Your Mac comes with iLife and not only does iLife optimize photos, it does much more with ease.

Web Based Photo Applications (free):

If you don’t own photo editing software there are a few good free and web based photo editing software programs out there. We have found that these options below to be among the best.  And, with these options, like photo editing software such as iLife and Photoshop, you can crop, recolor and do basic image fixes before you resize and upload your photo.

  • Picnik does more than just resize your photo. You can do quite a bit of editing and enhancement work while you’re at it – all easy and fast! To resize your photos, you can chose “Resize” or you can choose “Save & Share” and enter in your dimensions and quality. For your FWS website, we recommend uploading no photo larger than 600 pixels wide – which would be nearly the same as your entire main body width.  Your right side bar is typically 200 pixels wide or smaller. So, depending on where you are going to upload your photo, simply enter your width and the height will automatically adjust. Save the file to your computer and you are good to go!
  • Aviary is more than just a photo editor, and the photo editor part is called Phoenix. Phoenix is more like Photoshop in that you have layers and similar tools to work with.

    Launch Phoenix, upload a file and edit as your choose. Select “Image Resize” from the Image menu and enter the pixel dimensions (follow the same pixel recommendations above). Save the file and upload your newly resized image.

  • Picasa. Google’s Picasa is a free photo management program that provides simple edits and more. The benefits of this program includes batch processing, and total file organization.  Within Picasa, you can batch photos and export them to a new folder, downsizing file sizes for the entire batch of photos at the same time.

Other free, optimization-only tools:

The following options are free or low-cost, web based optimizing applications.

Having quality images that don’t take extra time to download is a very important part of your website. Faithwebsites does not necessarily endorse nor support any of the 3rd party software or applications above, but does recognize

the need for our customers to understand and have access to resources that make optimization possible. If you are having difficulty with this, please contact support for more information.

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2 responses to “Optimizing Photos for Your Website”

  1. After some additional discussion amongst our Support Team, we’d like to also recommend Google Picasa as a free photo application. An additional post with this resource will be issued shortly.

  2. Stacy Nesome says:

    Hello there. I wanted to drop you a quick note to verbalize my appreciation. I’ve picked up a lot of great tips and also enjoyed the way you’ve built your web site.

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