The quality of the photos you use on your WordPress site can either enhance or detract from not only how your site displays but whether you are perceived as tech savvy and a credible site to be taken seriously.
All too often I run across otherwise professional and legitimate business sites that use crummy clip art. Clip-art just looks tacky. I also see sites where clearly there is no understanding about the variables involved in integrating photographic images into their sites.
Being this is a visual medium, we need to take our choice of graphics and photos very seriously by choosing wisely and formatting properly. If you use cheap graphics or photos that are not sized properly what perception do you think that provides?
Here are a few tips you need to consider and implement to ensure your WordPress site remains visually appealing.
WordPress Photo Photo and Graphic Tips
- First and foremost make sure you have the right to use the photos you want. Just because you can right-click/save doesn’t mean you can use any graphic you find online. Just because you can view them in Google’s image search engine doesn’t mean they are yours to take and use. Big image houses now have teams of attorneys who do nothing but hunt down copyright infringers and levy very large fines for illegal use of their images.
Ignorance of copyright law will not be a valid excuse to avoid any penalties. Not knowing who to ask or who to contact to use the graphic, and then posting to your site anyway, does not release you from this responsibility. Copyright Infringement is not something you want to have to deal with.
If you find a graphic you would like to use on your site, you must ask the creator or site owner. If you do not get an answer — do not use the graphic. If you are unsure if the graphic or photo is free and clear for you to use — do not use it. You will come to regret doing so when you see that legal e-mail with the large $$ fine in your inbox that you will be obligated to pay.
- Next, we want quality images. Stay away from cheesy clip-art graphics. I have used clip-art — but that is the exception not the rule. I will only use clip art when the image was so spot on apropos to the topic at hand that it enhanced my post rather than distracted from it.
- There are three formats you will use for website graphics. Animations and drawn images such as logos can be .gif. Photographic images are always .jpg and/or .png. If you stick to these formats you’ll have the best results.
1. JPG is best for photographic images.
2. GIF works for small animations, drawn logos, icons or images without any gradients. You can have a transparent background if needed.
3. PNG is the best of both worlds. Great photo-level resolution — for smaller files — that can be placed on a colored or transparent background if needed. Add styles such as drop shadows to text and PNG is the way to go.
Photos/graphic file sizes are a huge factor in how fast your site loads. Having the best looking graphics with the smallest file size should be your goal. You can play around to find the format that offers the best looking image (JPG vs. PNG for example) with the smallest file size. Graphic programs allow you to set the level of resolution quality — which of course will increase or decrease the file size.
- The Web is 72dpi — period. You do not need to spend big money on high resolution photos. Photos sites will offer you low resolution photos, which are not good for print or off-line use, but are exactly what you can use on your site. Low Res photos are the least expensive. Paying big bucks for a high resolution photos to use on your site is not necessary. For page or post accent photos, like the ones I use on my site, graphics 300-400 pixels in width in most cases is all I need. Only buy higher resolutions if you need a larger physically sized image or intend to also use off-line.
- When using your digital camera to take photos for your website, set it at 1024×768 resolution. If you don’t know how — learn. You do not need to be higher than 1024×768 for use on your site. Higher resolutions only make the file and physical size larger than needed and almost impossible to upload without resizing the photo down to a reasonable size.
- When it comes to resizing photos keep in mind you can always reduce a photographic image’s size, but cannot increase in size from the original size. So, you can go smaller — but not larger. Increasing from a photo’s original size results in loss of resolution and a blurry photo. Yuck! Be aware that when it comes to photographs with every “save” the file quality will degrade.
- Many Premium WordPress Themes have gallery sliders on the home page that give you the ability to have a representative photo of a featured post or page that then clicks over to that post or page. While these galleries are very cool looking (I call them “eye-candy”), putting photos in that space that have poor resolution or are not the correct physical size for the gallery can leave a less than stellar impression.
Themes that use galleries will let you know exactly what size looks best in that space. That is the size you must use or you will not have the same elegant effect the gallery is meant to relay. Using vertically tall graphics when the gallery is meant to use horizontally aligned images and they will be cut off. Use smaller graphics and they won’t fill the space; larger graphics may be skewed or blurry.
Once you know the size of the space the photo will display in, only use photos that you know will look good in that size. So if you have a gallery that is set to display at 1000 pixels in width by 400 pixels in height you do not want to use a photo that is vertically oriented at 300w x 800h height.
Learning how to resize photos to the correct size for use on your site and in plugins is critical to contributing to a polished presentation.
INFOGRAPHIC: When to Use JPEG, GIF, & PNG
For even more details visit: WhoIsHostingThis.com
Here are a few sites to help you hone your graphic resampling skills:
- Graphic design basics in Photoshop
- CorelDRAW Graphics Suite Tutorials
- Web Graphics Training and Tutorials
Adding images to your WordPress site is fairly simple to do within the WordPress dashboard. But, making sure you are uploading quality properly sized and formatted photos and graphics in the first place is what will really make your site zippy and stand out!
At your service,