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Internet: Image size, colour and online albums

If you use film, sharing your images means passing prints around a group, or putting them in the post to clients. If you use a digital camera, posting your images takes on a whole new meaning.

Even with the advent of photo quality printers and high gloss paper, statistics show that we print only a small fraction of the images we shoot – the majority are never anything more than a series of ‘0’s and ‘1’s stored on a computer. However, although a digital image lacks any tangible physical existence, that series of digits does have a major advantage when it comes to sharing images – you can display them on the internet for all the world to see.

If you decide to go global with your picture gallery, there are two main factors you should be aware of – the size of the image and the colours.

Image size

For optimum viewing, your images should be small enough to fit on a computer screen without requiring users to scroll.

As computer screens have increased in size and decreased in price, it is now common for even inexpensive computers to be supplied with a 15 inch or 17 inch screen. Although the screen size itself will not tell you how big you should size your images, it will give you a good indication.

A few years ago, the standard monitor resolution was 800x600 pixels, and images were sized to fit comfortably within this resolution. With the bigger monitors now available, this standard resolution has increased; it is now usual for websites to be designed to be viewed on screens with a resolution of 1024x768 pixels or greater. This means your images need to be resized to fit within these proportions. However, you need to take account of the toolbars within the users’ window, so you’ll find most images on the web are sized to have the longest edge at 800 pixels or less. It means that most viewers will be able to see your images without having to scroll around the page.

How to resize images


Open the image in either Photoshop Elements or Photoshop. Go to Image > Image Size.


Make sure that ‘Resample image’ and ‘Constrain proportions’ are both ticked. If the image is a horizontal shot, under the pixel dimensions heading select the width box and type 800. For vertical images, type 800 in the height box. Click ‘OK’.

Your image will now be 800 pixels wide or high. The other dimension will be automatically scaled to fit. If you’re using Photoshop, there is an even quicker and easier way.


Open the image and go to File > Automate > Fit Image.


Type 800 in both boxes. Click ‘OK’

You might still find that an image 800 pixels on the longest edge is still too big for some people to see (they will soon tell you). If this is the case, you can make it smaller by simply adjusting the values you put into the resize boxes.


If you do not size your image correctly, it may not fit on the screen of some computers.

Image colour

To capture the most colours in your digital image, shoot with the camera set to the Adobe RGB 1998 colour space (this can be selected via the menu).

However, most monitors cannot display the full range of colours available in the Adobe RGB colour space. Instead, they can only manage the smaller colour range, or gamut, of the sRGB colour space. If you prepare images for display on screen and leave them in the Adobe RGB colour space, your images are likely to appear washed out and low in contrast. This is because the colour conversion is being done by the unsophisticated algorithms in your internet browser. To ensure bright, punchy colours, you should first convert your image to the sRGB colour space.


With the image open in Photoshop Elements or Photoshop, select Edit > Convert to profile.


In the drop down list for ‘Destination Space’ select sRGB IEC61966-2.1. Click ‘OK’.

Your image will now be in the sRGB colour space and should display correctly on most monitors.

A point to remember is that just because your image is in the correct colour space, it doesn’t mean that the colours will appear identical on all computer screens. Colour rendition is dependent on how each computer screen is set up and whether it is calibrated or not. If you have set your computer so that the screen brightness is high, an image will appear much brighter to you than it will do to someone else whose monitor is less bright. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about this as it is dependent on the end user to calibrate their screen.

Online photo albums


You don’t need extensive web skills to create acceptable online photo albums – just good software. This album was created in Microsoft Expression Media (previously iView MediaPro) digital management software. It is available for PCs and Macs at

One of the features of Microsoft Expression Media is the ability to create HTML galleries from selected images. These galleries can be uploaded to your own website if you want to share the photographs with clients – or the entire online world.

From importing the images into the software to having a finished HTML gallery takes only two or three minutes. You can choose how many images you want in each gallery, and there is no limit to the number of galleries you can create. You can create a menu page with links to each gallery for easy navigation. Galleries can be grouped by subject, such as portraits and landscapes, or by any other criteria, such as place or time.

It is relatively easy to set up web space – just choose and register a domain name, select an ISP (internet service provider) and you can have a website up and running within days.


Microsoft Expression Media offers a number of templates to add colour and other features to the gallery. When the gallery is loaded, clicking on any image takes you to a new window with an enlarged view. There is the option of showing EXIF data and other information, as shown here.


There are many other ways of creating photo galleries online, either using web design software, such as DreamWeaver or Web Studio, or even creating your own pages with HTML code. Alternatively, you can commission a web design company to do the work for you.

Image theft

By launching your images onto the internet, unless you have password protection, you are making them available for all to see – and, potentially, to copy. Nobody outside your family circle is likely to want to steal your holiday snaps, but if you are displaying images that are of saleable quality or content, they could well end up copied and re-used elsewhere, either on another website or in print, unless you do something to protect them.

The fact is that once your put your image on the internet, if someone is determined to steal it they will be able to. The surest way of deterring this is to put a ‘watermark’ across it (there are software applications which do this). The drawback is that the resulting text or logo does impinge on the image – even a semi-opaque watermark reduces the impact of images to some extent.

If you don’t want to put watermarks on your images, a relatively good and effective way to protect your work is to only display small images with dimensions of less than 500 pixels on either dimension. Although small images can still be stolen and used on other websites, at 500x500 pixels they are generally too small to make prints.