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Monday, August 20, 2007

Creative Photo Projects

Fun ways to put your photography to good use, from classic to high tech


Email Sharing and BeyondE-Mail Sharing And Beyond
By Kim Castleberry

E-mail remains a great option for sharing your photographs instantly. But keep in mind that no one wants enormous multimegapixel files jamming up the inbox, so before you hit send, scale your photos down to a reasonable size that will fit on most screens and take less time to download.

All photo-editing software programs have a command for changing the pixel dimensions of an image. So after you've cropped to remove unnecessary parts of the picture, search for the command called Image Size or Resize. A dialog box will open for entering the exact number of pixels. Other options you may come across are Resample, which allows the software to change the pixel dimensions for sizing down the image, and Constrain Proportions or Keep Aspect Ratio. Enabling this feature prevents the image from stretching or becoming distorted.

Once you've sized the photo, make sure to Save As so you don't overwrite the original, high-resolution file. When selecting a compression level, keep the quality in the medium to high range and shoot for a file size of around 800 x 600, keeping each image under 150 KB. If you're attaching several files to one e-mail, go smaller.

Most of the editing software programs available today make it easy to quickly size and compress a batch of photos. With many of these applications, like Adobe Photoshop Elements and Apple iPhoto, there's an e-mail feature that resizes and compresses copies of the pictures for you. Windows XP and Vista (www.microsoft.com) have this feature built into the operating system.

An alternative to e-mail is to post them to a photo-sharing website, like KodakGallery.com, Snapfish.com or Flickr.com. If you have a ton of photos to send, posting them to the web is ideal because most of these sites automatically downsize large images or offer a choice of sizes. Features vary, but most help you organize photos by event or subject and offer basic accounts for free. They come with limitations on file size, number of albums and storage capacity, but for a fee, you can upgrade to an account that's free of those restrictions.

Apple makes photo sharing even simpler with the photocasting feature offered in iPhoto, which is also part of the iLife software suite. You just select an album and click on Photocast this Album. Once your images are published, iPhoto asks if you'd like to announce your photocast to friends. If they subscribe, images are automatically downloaded to their computer when you make updates.



 


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