Content 101: Post-Processing to Improve Photos, Part 1

By: Eden Hensley Photo by: Brooke Dennis for Alt Summit

Great visuals grab our attention and encourage us to click through to learn more. But stunning images, those photos that make you say WOW, do not come out of a digital camera looking that way. Someone developed them in the digital equivalent of a darkroom.

Post-processing does not have to be scary. Here are four basic rules to keep in mind:

  1. Never save over your original image. Save As is your friend. Once you remove data, such as reducing an image's size or lowering its resolution for online display, the data is gone. You will not be able to use the image at a larger size and it may not print clearly.
  2. Do not enlarge your original image. If you have an image that you found on the Internet and it is an inch by an inch, you cannot make it eight inches by eight inches for example without substantially degrading the quality of the image and making it almost unrecognizable. Mike Loveland explains how to determine an image's size using Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Photoshop Elements.
  3. If you only have time to make one edit, improve the contrast of your photo. Mike shows how to use Levels in Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Photoshop Elements to make your images pop.
  4. Use the smallest file size you can for images. Smaller file sizes mean your website and your blog will load faster. Mike walks you through how to save images without text or overlays as JPG, save images with text and graphics but no photos as PNG-8, and save images with a photo, text, and overlays as PNG-24.