For artists, there is much more to preparing images for the internet than just snapping a photograph, then uploading it directly to Facebook. This is simple and quick, but there are a few essential steps missing. The artwork should be photographed properly, and edited in software such as Photoshop. Anti-theft measures should be taken, such as watermarking and image size reduction. The image files should be properly titled according to SEO rules, so that they may be easier to find online.
These are a few steps required to prepare images for a portfolio site. We have discussed some of these before, but here they will be placed in order for your convenience.
Preparing Art Photos for the Web and Portfolio Display
- Photographing Art
In order to take good quality digital images for the web, a good quality digital camera is required. The camera does not have to be expensive. The photos we are speaking of are not intended for printing. For printed photographs, a digital SLR camera is recommended.
The two primary things to focus on is making images properly focussed, and having adequate lighting to decrease shadows and glare.
Shoot photographs in the daytime on a sunny day, but in a shaded area. For more tips for artwork photography, please visit How to Photograph Art for the Web.
If your images are small and flat (ie drawings), you may scan them with a good quality scanner instead.
Fix the images with Photoshop or another digital editing software. Load up Photoshop and adjust brightness, contrast and levels until receiving adequate results. Also, images that are not completely square with the edges should be rotated and cropped.
Please follow our tutorials for fixing photographs for the web:
How to use Photoshop to Optimize Photos of Art – Part 1
Fixing Images with Photoshop – Part 2
Photoshop is not required for such a basic task. There are many free programs available. Digital cameras and scanners often come bundled with software for image manipulation. Other free software available on the web are The Gimp, Imageforge, and Paint.net. Tutorials for these may be found at their official sites, or by searching for “gimp tutorials”, for example.
- Image Size and Resolution
Decrease the image sizes and resolutions for web images. This can also be done with Photoshop or free software. Decreasing the file sizes will not only make them load faster, but will make the images less prone to stealing. Small images at lower resolution are not what art thieves are looking for.
These photographs do not print well. To learn more about decreasing the image size, and other ways of making images less prone to stealing, please visit How to Protect Your Art From Online Theft.
For an easy way of decreasing image sizes, try the Facebook trick. Upload all your photos to a Facebook album. The resolution and size of the photos are automatically reduced. Simply download them again, and delete the album afterwards.
- Watermark and Copyright
Add a digital watermark with copyright information to all images.
It is nearly impossible to prevent someone from taking an artist’s artwork without permission. If they are publicly on the web, there is always a chance that someone will come along and steal it, or share it on social networks such as Pinterest and Facebook. The original person may have gave the artist credit, but through continued sharing, the credit sometimes gets removed. To ensure an artist always receives credit in such cases, a watermark is almost essential.
Including your name or a website link in a watermark will reduce the chance of stealing. If people like your image enough to share it with their networks, and it is spread virally on the web, an artist always receives credit. With a website link at the bottom, your art portfolio website may receive visitors from interested art collectors.
For more on copyrighting and watermarking, please visit these pages:
Free Online Watermark Tools for Image Copyright
How to Create a Watermark in Photoshop
- Use SEO for naming images
SEO (search engine optimization) is essential for the naming of images. One of the best ways for people to find an artists work is through image search. Google Image Search mainly functions by the words in the title. If the photograph is named “abstract-landscape-newfoundland”, others may find you when searching for one or more of these phrases. On the other hand, any artwork named “img123.jpg” is very unlikely to be found through image search.
Here are some tips for naming image files:
Name all photos at a maximum of 4 words. Try to use words that are descriptive of the artwork such as color, style, medium, artist, name, etc. Consider including your name in some image titles, especially your most successful or popular pieces. Then, when someone searches your name, these artworks will pop up.
Save the file as either a .jpg or .png. These are the recommended file types for web images.
For more on image SEO, please visit How to Optimize Images of Art for SEO.
- Uploading to the web
Upload your photos to a free photo hosting service such as Flickr, Picasa, or Photobucket. With these, individual images can be directly linked and shared elsewhere, such as at an art blog, artist website, social networks, forums, groups, and more. For those who have a self-hosted website, these images may be uploaded to a folder at their hosting account.
But, to save on bandwidth, only use these photographs for the hosted website. Use free photo sharing services, with unlimited space and bandwidth (such as Picasa), for posting to blogs and social networks.
If you have anything to add, or have a question about a particular step, feel free to comment below! Thanks!! :)