We previously addressed the concepts of examining your target audience and choosing the appropriate file size and image size for the intended display. Here, we’ll look at the important steps of applying sharpness and applying watermarks and using metadata. Watermarks are an essential tool for protecting your images when you make them available on the web, and metadata is extremely useful for both image protection and for making your images searchable so people can find you on the web.
Image sharpness is, by default, paramount to photography, particularly when it comes to online viewing. Sharpening photographs for online display can be done in a generic fashion via application presets. Alternatively, those with a more discerning eye may want to utilize specific sharpening techniques to selectively sharpen portions of an image. Keep in mind that no one technique universally will look best. The key is to experiment and see what looks best to your eye and to your specific photographs.
Presentation, Watermarks & Metadata
An important consideration when placing your photography online is to provide a mechanism or path for others to contact you and find more of your photographic work. This can be accomplished by embedding metadata in your image file, applying a watermark and/or adding a branded frame to your photo.
At a minimum, you should always embed your contact information within the metadata of the image file you place online. If using Lightroom, before exporting your file, you can accomplish this by filling out the Contact fields within the Metadata portion of the Library module. If using Photoshop CS3, before saving your file, fill out the Contact metadata fields by selecting File Info under the File menu. Including your name, phone number, website, e-mail and copyright information enable those interested in your photographic work to contact you no matter where your photo is found online as long as your metadata is preserved.
Alternatively, using Photoshop or Lightroom you can apply a watermark containing your name and/or website over your image. This also can be accomplished within a frame that borders your photo. While these options may not be the most aesthetically pleasing, branding your photographic work can be beneficial. Watermarks alone or in combination with a branded frame make it very clear to viewers who took the photo and where to access your website. As to which of these approaches you take depends on your preferences in balancing function and aesthetics.
To reduce the repetition of entering your contact information within the metadata of individual image files, utilize a Metadata template.
In Photoshop CS3, access File Info under the File tab and toggle to the IPTC Contact fields. Type in your contact information. Afterward, click on the arrow button in the upper-right corner of the dialog window. Save your entered contact information as a Metadata template here. Later, access your saved template when preparing other photos to more quickly embed your contact information.
In Lightroom under the Metadata menu, select Edit Metadata Presets and create a contact template. When importing files from your CF card, you’ll be prompted with an Import Photos dialog window. Select your saved Metadata template listed under the Information to Apply section of the dialog window. Upon clicking the Import button, all imported images will have their Contact metadata filled out as specified.
How you choose to present your photography online is a creative choice. Looking beyond such choices, factor in these best practices and never lose sight of your audience and how to enhance their viewing experience. For as much effort as you put into your photography, a poor viewing experience can make or break a viewer’s impression.