A picture paints a thousand words

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Are you trying to upload images to your website and having a few dramas? Time and time again we see our clients and others on the world wide web who are having a crack at updating images on their website upload HUMUNGOUS pictures. This is not a good idea for several reasons:

1) You’ll take up valuable bandwidth and potentially pay more money for your hosting bill

2) Your website download speed will slow and cause mega frustration to the user causing higher bounce rates (or people who click on and straight back off on arrival), and decrease the chance of repeat visits.

3) It can throw a page’s alignment and overall look completely out making your website/brand and hence your company seriously devalued.

Other times we see pictures that are uploaded which are stretched/skewed, pooly lit or constructed or just generally with no love or care applied. It brings the site and hence your brand and professional image DOWN.

So what’s the solution?

In-house we tend to use Adobe Photoshop but with a retail price tag of around $1400AUD we realise this is serious overkill for people with basic computing skills who simply need to edit pictures to be suitable for upload to their website.

Your options apart from the professional and costly programs include those that you download to your hard drive and those that are online. So here’s a few suggestions (all f’ree!). Four of the best are Paint.NET, Photoscape, Gimp and Picasa But you can choose from many more, including Photofiltre, PhotoPlus, Vicman (ugly interface) and Pixia (very Japanese).

Free downloadable options:

http://www.getpaint.net – Paint.NET is free image and photo editing software for computers that run Windows. It features an intuitive and innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. An active and growing online community provides friendly help, tutorials, and plugins. Paint.NET features layers, painting and drawing tools, special effects, unlimited undo history, and levels adjustments. If you want something that’s near professional class, download it.

http://picasa.google.com/ – Geez it’s hard to provide tips of the week without mentioning a Google tool – they have so many cool ones on offer! Picasa is a software download from Google that helps you organize, edit, and share your photos. It is designed to make it easy for you to download pictures from a digital camera, organise them and edit and share them. Picasa offers you some basic editing and attractive enhancement tools which are very easy to use. It can also turn out posters and collages. However, Picasa is primarily photo organising software, and if you are not careful from the start, it will take over your photos and organise them the way it likes. Of course you can over-ride it – I think!

http://www.picnik.com/ – Picnik is very popular and it’s no wonder because it can make your photos fabulous with easy to use yet powerful editing tools whether you know anything about photo editing or not. Tweak to your heart’s content, then get creative with oodles of effects, fonts, shapes, and frames. Even better it integrates with other Web2.0 services.

Photoscape – It doesn’t look the prettiest on loading the page and it’s functionality doesn’t include layers (which are kind of handy). However its features do include:

•          Editor: resizing, brightness and colour adjustment, white balance, backlight correction, frames, balloons, mosaic mode, adding text, drawing pictures, cropping, filters, red eye removal, blooming. It also has some very funny filters.

•           Page: Make one photo by merging multiple photos at the page frame

•           Combine: Make one photo by attaching multiple photos vertically or horizontally

•           Print: Print portrait shot, visiting card, passport photo •   Splitter: Divide a photo into multiple parts

•           Rename: Change photo file names in batch mode

GIMP for Windows – Whilst the name is remninscent of Pulp Fiction, GIMP for Windows is a popular open-source image editor. It has been called the “free Photoshop,” and does have an interface and features similar to Photoshop, but like Photoshop it’s not the easiest of programmes to learn.

Online solutions:

Your other choice when it comes to image editing is to upload your photos and work on them in cyberspace, using free online programmes. Of course if you do a lot of editing online your internet usage will skyrocket. So be aware you may need a more generous – i.e. expensive – broadband plan. If you would like to try an online editor, here’s a few of the best:

(added to the list 18 Jan 2016) https://photo-editor.canva.com/ – Canva.com’s newly-launched photo-manipulation tool that enables users to quickly filter, resize or edit photos without the hassle and at no cost. It does not require any installation as the tool is completely web-based and can also be accessed through a mobile phone’s web browser.

http://www.Picture2life.com  -In some ways it’s just another online image editor. But it’s interface is kind of different with a descriptive side panel stacked into four vertical tabs and the ability to see how the picture will look if the effect is applied before you commit.

http://www.pixlr.com – Advanced online image and photo editing tools, just choose your flavor, jump in and start creating!

http://www.splashup.com  – Splashup is a web based photo editor that looks like a desktop application. Open files from your computer or from most popular photo sharing sites. Splashup also has the ability to import images from your webcam. Nice.

What image editing programs have you found useful? Let us know.

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