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Suggestions/comments on working with images


shagymoe

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Hi all,

 

I'm new to working with photos so much and was wondering what suggestions you all have for working with your images. I recently bought a Sony DSC-85 digital camera and it is working great, but the process from camera to site can be a real pain in the you know what! Anywho, here are some qualities I'm looking for in photo software and after that some questions about best practices etc... Also, I prefer open source, but I'm flexible. Hopefully there are others here who can also benefit from this thread. Ok, so now for the qualities:

 

1) Directory previewing - What I mean here is that I'd like to be able to quickly look through an entire directory of images and preview them so I can choose the ones I want without having to open each image in the software. Yes, I know you can set up windows explorer to preview images in directories, but I'd like to be able to do it in the software.

 

2) Directory memory - the software I'm currently using doesn't remember the last directory I opened from and I have to browse to it every time. This is the worst.

 

3) PNG support.

 

4) Good JPG -> PNG conversion.

 

5) At least some small amount of touch-up capabilities to edit out small blotches or whatever.

 

6) Good resizing capabilities.

 

7) File size optimization. (to decrease download time)

 

QUESTIONS:

 

a) My camera can take lower resolution pictures which take less space on the memory card. I think this is a good mode to work in because it keeps the file size small and this allows me to put additional images on the store site which don't take forever for the customer to download. However, I lose some detail when in this mode. Also, I'm not sure if higher or lower resolution pics give a better quality "thumbnail" (after resizing) for the catalog listings. What do you think? How do you operate?

 

B) I use a blue cloth for the background and this will become part of the look of the site because every pic will have this color for the background. I like the way the pics look with this background but the color might conflict later...any suggestions on this? One major problem is that we sell finished ceramic art and also the bisque which is unpainted ceramics. The bisque HAS to have a background because it is pure white, so a white background is not an option.

 

c) What are your opinions on "real" backgrounds? Some of our art is, for instance, meant to be used in a garden or outdoor setting. So, I've taken pics of them in these settings, but I don't want to turn off people who would rather just have the darn thing on thier coffee table or wall either. Any comments on that?

 

Basically any good ideas or hints on how to be more effective with images and how to decrease the amount of work necessary would be greatly appreciated. I'm a programmer and administrator by trade so most everything else comes easy, but I'm extremely new to imaging and site "look & feel" design.

 

Thanks a million.

 

Matt

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Sounds to me as if you would get a lot out of Photoshop 7. It fits every description you want, and a whole lot more. My only concern is the advanced nature of the program; if you are not familar with image editing in general, Photoshop can be daunting. The only reason I suggest it is I think as a computer guy, you can probably figure out what you want to get done.

 

a) My personal preference is to shoot all images at the highest resolution I have, and crop down to get the ideal shot. I am not a professional photographer; I am, however, a professional Photoshopper. :) So for me, it is more efficiant to capture as much data as I can with my camera, and use Photoshop to create the image I'm looking for. The thumbnail question is easy: it doesn't matter. A high resolution shot will degrade to a thumbnail just the same as a low res.

 

B) If you use a consistant background, I think that will make a nice design element in your store. It should not present a problem unless the color is reflected off your product. Keep an eye on this: you don't want your dazzeling white vase to look blue. :) Other than that, you shouldn't have a problem. Colored backgrounds are very easy to edit (or remove) provided the forground is not the same color.

 

c) I don't have a clue. Personally (graphic design background), I think I'd go with the regular blue background. But I don't sell your products, or know anything about the market. You might be able to include a link on the product page that takes them to a page with multiple images. That would be a good compermise, unless somone has an idea for including more than one image per product.

 

Good luck :)

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