Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Emailing photos

Digital cameras have advanced in photo resolution at a much greater rate than the average Internet connection capacity (and remember RuddNet is pretty much still a pipe dream). Further many companies and ISPs have limits on attachment size, frequently this is only a couple of megabytes and that might only be enough for half your photo! So here are a couple things you might want to considered and set up before you start emailing lots of photos from your new camera to aunty Flo with her old (and very slow) bigpond dial up internet connection.

Go JPEG

Most camera will allow you to take photos in JPEG format (the file will end in .jpg or .jpeg) or the camera manufacturer will normally bundle software to convert its .RAW format to jpeg. This jpeg format has two very important advantages
  1. Compressable, there is a trade off between image file size and quality but 10:1 compression can normally be achieved with with little perceptible loss in image quality.
  2. (almost) Universally supported for the format by software (especially file & photo viewers, browsers)
Photographing directly in jpeg format will mean you can fit many more photos on your camera card.

Use a photo email feature

Most new digital cameras (and that includes mobile phones with cameras) come bundled with software, to upload, manage and do some editing of photos. Usually there will be an option to email photos and a ability to select the size to email, it may called share rather than email and it may involve reading the dreaded manual, assuming you kept it.
vista emai; Alternatively you can use tools probably already on your computer, for example in vista when you just click on an image in a normal explorer view, you will see the menu bar change to include and email option  If you click on this you will get a submenu to select the capture2photo size for the attachment. Usually the small (800 by 600 pixels) is more than adequate for an emailed photo and the files size is likely to be less that 300kb.
If you are still using XP you can get the same feature by downloading the Windows Live Photo Gallery. The most recent version of which gives you some fairly nifty formatting features inside Windows Live email so that the photo is part of the email, much more aunt or grandma friendly, instead of as an attachment that must be downloaded and/or opened separately.
email picasa However I prefer to use the excellent email feature within picasa, which lets you edit and crop the image and just press the email button. You can both select a number of default capture7formats and size or choose between using your default email and gmail on the fly. If you have outlook you can also create a HTML story book (ie photos are embedded in the email rather than as attachments.)
Having shown you all this one thing I definitely don't recommend is resizing your photo directly, because you can so easily accidentally overwrite the original and lose a lot of detail if you ever wanted to get a blow up printed at a later date.
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