How to Work with Photos in WordPress

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 or clearly do not understand 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 and give them the time and thought necessary to ensure we are perceived as we desire. If you use cheap graphics or photos that are not sized properly what perception do you think that leaves?

So, here are some tips you need to consider and implement to ensure your WordPress site remains visually appealing:

  • First we want quality images. Stay away from cheesy clip art graphics. I have used clip art — but that is the exception not the rule — and only 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 a slew of affordable image membership sites for you to choose from. Find one and subscribe. I have used quality photos from both ClipArt.com, Fotolia.com and ShutterStock with great success.
  • Photo formats are always .jpg and/or .png. These formats allow the compression to give you the best results.
  • 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 or are at no additional charge as part of your photo site membership package. Paying big bucks for a high resolution photos to use on your site is not necessary.
  • When using your digital camera to take photos for your site, 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 makes the file and physical size larger than needed and almost impossible to upload without resampling 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!
  • When adding photos as a compliment to your pages and posts, they really need not be larger than 200-300 pixels in width. Choose the “Medium” size option before clicking “Insert into Post”.
  • Many Premium WordPress Themes have Flash galleries on the top 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.

    The gallery plugin I work with most is the Dynamic Content Gallery. As is the case with most plugins like DCG, the plugin’s settings page reflects the gallery size and what size your photos need to be. Then, you need to make sure your photos are that exact size! Smaller and they won’t fill in the space, larger and they may be skewed or blurry.

    Once you know the size of the space the photo will display in, it would behoove you to use photos that you know will look good in that size. So if you have DCG set at 588w x 377h you won’t want to use a photo that is vertically oriented at 200w x 550 height. In the majority of cases only horizontal photos will do.

    Can’t seem to get your photo to the exact desire size? Then look where you can turn off “Constrain Proportions” which allows you to set both the width and the height independently to the exact size you need.

    Usually this is a check box option or you’ll see a graphical representation of a couple chain links next to the dimension boxes. Click on that link graphic so it then changes to display as not linked. You can then set your width and height to what you desire.

    Learning how to resize photos for use on your site and in plugins is critical to contributing to a polished presentation.

Adding photographs 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 in the first place is what will make your site stand out!

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