Preparing Photos for the Web

Few design elements brighten up a web page more than a well chosen photograph. For that reason, photographs are widely used in building web pages. They are used to make a dramatic home page, to create buttons, to display products in a catalog, to create design accents such as borders, etc. Nearly every visually appealing web site uses photographs in conjunction with other graphics and elements of design like lines, color, etc. The correct photo, in the right spot sets the tone and conveys the message of the page. Conversely, improperly prepared pictures can not only distract from the visual appeal of a web page but also take so long to download that your visitor will leave. The size of the photographs is the biggest factor in down load time. Consequently, web designers quickly realize they need to prepare their photographs for the web.
Below is a good example of how well prepared photos can be integrated with other graphic elements to create an enticing, tourist oriented web site. You can do this too.
The purpose of this mini course is to explain some basic concepts about preparing photographs so that they will look great on your website and load quickly. The course will not cover making buttons or graphics, though many of the same principles apply. These concepts are easy to learn and the required software is readily available. In fact, if you have a digital camera, a scanner, or have had your pictures developed at Walmart, you probably already have the software you need. Once you master these simple techniques, you will have a lot of fun brightening up your web with pictures.
The next three parts of this lesson will discuss how to achieve create greater impact with your photos, make them the right dimensions, and finally how to optimize them so that can load in under an hour over a modem.
Part 2 - Cropping your picture to focus on the important elements