Photography Techniques – How to Shoot Well-Composed Creative Images

For well-composed images, learn to shoot raw. Shooting raw makes it easy to experiment until you get the desired image quality, all the while saving different versions of your original image files.

You don’t have to be a professional to capture an image that makes you look like a pro. Shooting raw, will enable you to take several shots at different exposure levels with a single click of the shutter.

JPEG is a lossy-compression image file format meaning the pixels are of less quality when compared to TIFF or RAW formats. Shooting raw will give your images enough composure and make you want to show off your work to the pros’ with a nice print. If you shoot JPEG, no amount of post processing can get rid of compression artifacts in your images.

In case you’re worried about large raw image file sizes, hard drives are getting cheaper by the day. Even if you own a proprietary camera like a Canon 40d which won’t open in Photoshop, easily convert your raw files to DNG format which is smaller but still maintains most of the original raw image qualities and best of all, can open much faster in Photoshop.

If you’re serious about photography, consider shooting raw. Only shoot JPEG if you’re not quite up-to-speed on your post-processing skills. Unless you’re printing at full resolution, you will not visibly notice any sharpness or quality issues with JPEG fine mode. Why waste lots of time trying to reset photos by cropping, photoshopping, and curves when you could just practise enough to get the shots you need in the camera.

Raw isn’t hard to set up, doesn’t take along time to sort and post-process, is many times more flexible than when shooting JPEG and is more rewarding.

Shooting raw captures original light levels in a scene and not the tone levels that is, the simulation of film’s reaction to light through the exposure curve. It is hard to adjust settings like white balance correctly after the exposure step unless you have knowledge of the exact in-camera exposure curve applicable to each image and well, undo it yourself. A fundamental difference between working in light-space contrary to working in tone-space is almost never mentioned.

JPEG format can contain all the data from a camera sensor though with limited resolution levels. Most cameras clip data outside of a certain range of stops without giving you much choice or control.

Always shoot raw before converting your files to say DNG. Archive the image files separately in the two formats on different memory discs. Once archived, you can then delete the raw files from your memory disc and just work with the DNG files which are smaller and work much faster in photoshop.

Shoot JPEG if you intend never to edit your photos in any way. If you seek quality imagery and want to edit at all, shooting raw is the way to go.

Blogging: Original Images As Important As Original Content?

Yes. The answer to the title’s question is an affirmative. When search engines crawl through a new blog post, it too sees the image for its description, not necessarily its appearance. What an image is named, in particular, what it is coded with alt text oralt tag is quite important.

Alt Tags Explained

Many people believe blogging is all about content. And, they are correct. But it’s not only about the content an Internet user sees in their browser, but the content search engine spiders seeing when crawling over a new post. Bloggers should know this about blog tags: they do help search engines to pinpoint relevant material when asked. But the images associated with that content should be complementary-adding to or completing the text. That’s where alt tags in the HTML code are useful.

For example, an image of a search engine spider should appear with a like description in the alternative attribute like “search engine spider”. This allows a search engine to pick-up the image by description as it cannot see the rendition.

Original Images

When creating a post for a personal blog, for a guest submission to another blog or for freelance sale, use original images when possible. And name/rename images appropriate to the material in the post. Using the above image of a search engine looking through a magnifying glass at a spider, the content in the post shouldn’t be about Canadian curling championships of the early 1900′s. The image and content would have nothing to do with one another. It would confuse both readers and search engines.

Original content is lacking without proper images. But the image itself must be named to fit the content. The name of the image in a post must be relevant to the text. So a post about gluing fabric to scrapbook pages should have an image of fabric and a scrapbook or a post about the price of gasoline and downward sticky pricing should contain an image of a gas station price board/sign.

Size Matters

Blog image sizing is also important to making the post attractive. While search engines only know the raw dimensions of the image, readers will see how it impacts the text. Too large and the post’s text becomes de-emphasised. Too small and the reader must squint to take in the details. An image shouldn’t be a distraction. Some take advantage of eye candy to get attention. Readers will quickly abandon a blog that promises information on one subject but uses deceptive images to rack-up clicks.

When it comes to images in a blog post remember these cardinal rules: name the image for what it is, not “image1.jpg”. Make good use of the alt tag/alt text and size the image so it fits in a neat proportion with the text.

Increasing Website Traffic Through Google Images

Optimizing images is very important when optimizing any website or blog. If images are optimized correctly, they can bring a huge amount of traffic to your site. Image optimization is highly advantageous but the most underused when it comes to optimizing websites to increase rankings and traffic.

Depending on niche and images used, one may be able to attract a great deal of extra visitors easily with very little additional work. Following are a few points you can put into practice when optimizing your website:

1. Insert Keywords in your Alt text

This step is the most useful and important when optimizing images. Select a keyword or phrase which is relevant and popular to describe your image and web page. This alt text should be inserted in the code for your image file.

For example:

Here are a few more specific rules:

If the image is just decorated text, put the text in the alt attribute
If the image is used to create horizontal lines, bullets in a list or other similar decoration, it is fine to have an empty alt attribute (alt= “”)
If the image represents a lot of important information, try to summarize it in a short line and ass a longdesc link to a more detailed description.

2. Optimize the page with the image
Optimizing the actual page for search engines improves graphic images search. Search engines also look at text surrounding a graphic image to determine relevancy. It is recommended that descriptive text with your targeted keywords be placed immediately before or after the image itself. Also text within the anchor tag and next to the anchor text is especially going to influence image-search rankings. If you do a search for any term on Google Image, you’ll find a short description of around 20 characters below every image; the keyword is listed in bold as well.

3. Name images with Descriptive Titles
If you have an image of Bill Clinton, you could use the term “bill-clinton.jpg” to name your image file, instead of just using the original file name which could be something like “c789.jpg”. You can name the images exactly the same way as my alt text.

4. Determine overall content relevance using AdSense
This method can be used specifically used for Google Image Search. It is not very important to follow this but it is very useful to determine the relevance of your content with respect to your image. It will tell you how Google thinks about the overall theme of what your page is about. Keep changing your content until the AdSense unit on the page reflects the keywords you want to target. This method does not only apply to Google images but it is a generally a helpful method and it improves your overall latent semantic indexing. Your site will appear more relevant to Google for targeted keywords and phrases.

5. Use Social Site Tags for your images
If you are using images with little or no textual content, it will be useful to tag your images using internal tagging or social tags like Technorati. This may add more weight to your image and help it rank better. And if you are uploading your images using Flickr, remember to use appropriate keywords as well.

6. Make your image file accessible to search engines
Check that your robots.txt file does not restrict search engines from accessing your image files. Try not to use javascript links on image files as it will limit search engine access as well.

7. Hotlink Images from Google Search Results
Type a search query for the image you want. Then visit the original web page and copy the image location to your own website (hotlink it). Your website might show up high among image search results. Most of the images in the top row are actually hotlinked and rank better than the original image source. Well this method is frowned upon by most webmasters because it violates copyrights issues.

8. Use Images about ‘Hot topics’
Deliberately use images to catch visitors who are searching for hot topics or trending topics. Through Google Trends you can find this out. Make sure your content is relevant to the image used for more impact.

9. Add an optimized web page on your website and link the image to that page.
Users can access this page via the ‘back’ anchor on the new page when they find your page through Google Image Search.

10. Monitor the Number of Indexed Google Images
An important aspect of Google Image Search optimization is to monitor how many images on your website are indexed by Google if you have taken the right steps to optimize your image. Just type site: vinfotech.com and check the images indexed for vinfotech. Instead of vinfotech.com, just type in your website to get indexed images.

The Basics and Benefits of Image Compression

Thanks to technological advances and the advent of the internet, image files have become one of the most common file types to be used and shared today. But along with their convenience, image files are often large, making them difficult to store and transmit.

Some people do not have faith in image compression because they believe that compressing an image risks image quality. Others, having tried to magnify images they’ve found on the internet, have quickly discovered that image quality deteriorates.

While image compression does involve the removal of image data, it does not pose a risk to an image’s overall quality. Similarly, images on the internet have been optimized for faster download speeds when a surfer views a web page, and not necessarily optimized to preserve image quality. These kinds of misunderstanding are what often discourage individuals from compressing their images. As a result, they may experience frustration as they repeatedly attempt to transmit their uncompressed images over the web or email.

When the basics of image compression are understood, the benefits become much more apparent. There are two basic type of image compression: lossless and lossy. Both compression types remove data from an image that isn’t obvious to the viewer, but they remove that data in different ways.

Lossless compression works by compressing the overall image without removing any of the image’s detail. As a result the overall file size will be compressed, but only by a half to one third. Usually, lossless compression will be most effective on images with less color (such as a small image on a white background) as opposed to those with more color (such as a larger image with several shades of background color). When an image compressed using lossless is viewed, the image will actually uncompress and match the original image’s quality.

Lossy compression works by removing image detail, but not in such a way that it is apparent to the viewer. In fact, lossy compression can reduce an image to one tenth of its original size with no visible changes to image quality! Lossy compression is most often evident in JPEG images, and removes data from an image that, again, is not obvious to the viewer. For example, if an image contains 10000 pixels of green in different shades, lossy compression will save the color value of one pixel along with the locations of the other green pixels in the image. The different shades of green will be removed from the image, but the complete image will still be clearly viewable and easily interpretable by the viewer.

So what are the benefits of using compressed images? For one, the smaller file size that compression provides can take up much less room on your hard drive, web site or digital camera. It will also allow for more images to be recorded on other media, such as a photo CD. Compressed images also take less time to load than their more cumbersome originals, making it possible to view more images in a shorter period of time.

On the internet, compressed images not only reduce a web page’s uploading and downloading time (which keeps impatient surfers happy); they also take up less space on the server in terms of space and bandwidth. In email, compressed images take much less time to send and receive. If you or the recipient has a slower computer, compressed images will dramatically reduce the time wasted on downloading and viewing.

Overall, image compression is necessary in any instance where images need to be stored, transmitted or viewed quickly and efficiently. If you’re still skeptical, try downloading image compression software and run some tests on your own image collection. You just might wonder why you didn’t compress your images sooner.