Improving Your Site’s Photos

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When I create web sites, I always pay attention to the quality of the photos on the site – clear, crisp pictures make a big contribution to the professional look of a site. So if you’re adding your own photos to a site, how do you keep the quality up, especially if you don’t have (and have training in) a professional program like PhotoShop?

My favorite resource for my clients is a free, easy-to-use site called Picnik. In just a few short steps, you can dramatically improve the quality of your photos and resize them as needed.

To get started, go to http://www.picnik.com. Click on “Get Started Now.”

Get Started Now

Once the interface loads – it takes some time – select one of the demo photos on the left to practice on.

Practice Photo

The picture will open up in a window with several buttons at top.

  1. Start with Auto-Fix. Most of the time, this will automatically make your picture look better. If it makes it look worse, just click “Undo” on the right.
  2. If you need a different size, click on Resize. Make sure “Keep Proportions” is checked and enter the width you need in the first box. Click OK.
  3. Once you’ve resized an image, it will usually need to have the colors made a little brighter. Click on Colors and slide the Saturation slider to the right a little until your picture looks good. Don’t overdo it! Click OK.
  4. Next click on Sharpen. Slide the Sharpness slider to the right a little. Again, be careful not to overdo it. You can slide the slider back and forth until the picture looks sharper without strange white halos. A good technique is to slide the slider all the way to the right, then move it back to the left until the photo looks sharp without being overdone – usually this will be a low number like 2 – 10. Click OK.
  5. When you’re done, click on the “Save and Share” tab at the upper right. Accept the defaults and click “Save Photo.” A dialog box will open up that will let you save the picture on your computer.

Save and Share Tab

There are several other options for editing and saving your photos. Take some time and explore the other options. If Auto-Fix doesn’t fix your photo, try the Exposure button. You can get rid of red eye with the Red Eye button. Besides resizing photos, you can also rotate or crop them.

When you’re done, click on the Home tab, close the sample photo you’ve been working on and select “Upload a Photo” to get started on your own photos.