Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Prepping Product Shots for Web Shops

Prepping Product Shots for Web Shops: "Prepping Product Shots for Web Shops By Helen Bradley March 11, 2008. "There is so much at stake when you place images on your Web site that it pays to understand that, on the Web, a photograph is more than just a pretty picture," Helen Bradley writes.

Images have a big impact on a Web site. Unfortunately, the impact can be both good and bad — and sometimes at the same time. While an image's visual impact is a good thing, it can also make your site slow to download, which is not a good thing. Compelling images are critical to netting sales, but if the file size is too big, waiting for it to load will annoy visitors. In this article we will go behind the scenes and look at how you can ensure that the images at your e-store work for your site, and your bottom line, and not against it.

Helge: How to make it easy to download and still pretty and informative...

Knowing Your GIF from Your JPEG. The average online shopper's Web browser can only display two different types of still images. These are GIF format images and JPEG images. While some browsers do support the PNG format, it's sure to be a tiny fraction of your customer base, so it's not a sensible choice for your Web site.

Helge: Serving the masses.

While both GIF and JPEG formats are fine for Web images, they have different strengths and weaknesses, so are appropriate for very different types of shots. First, lets look at the GIF format. It is typically used for line drawings and for images that have large blocks of solid color, such as clip-art and screen-shots. GIF is a compressed format so the file sizes are smaller than when using other formats, and the GIF format does not lose any image quality so a GIF image will display exactly as it originally looked. The GIF format can also support a reduced color palette. This means you can reduce the file size of the image by limiting the colors in it to a smaller than usual palette size, such as four or 16 colors. In general use, however, the GIF format supports 256 colors.

Helge: Line drawings and for images with large blocks of solid colors...

The JPEG format is ideal for photographs that may use millions of colors. The JPEG format also compresses the image but it does so in a glossy way so that some image detail is lost every time you save a photograph as a JPEG image. When you save an image as a JPEG, you can choose the level of compression on a sliding scale — the more the image is compressed, the smaller the file size will be. However, the flip side is that the image quality will suffer — the quality is lost permanently and can never be regained.

Helge: Send originals to Press.

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