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Photo Techniques

Adding Photos

Even the experts don't have a perfect answer for handling photos. How do you deal with photos? The problem is that it depends on what you plan to do with them. These tips come from experience not a photo expert background, but I continue to refine my approah.


1) screen appearance (sized for screen not the size of the photo)
2) print appearance (various sizes require different resolution) 
3) internet presentation (download speed, smaller size, lower resolution, fewer colors)
4) available disk space 

Each of these may require a different approach. I have chosen one approach that works for non professional genealogical use. 

I am working on being able to use the same photos for web presentation and a slide show that I will capture to video tape and to CD (CompuPic will let you include the software on the CD) for distribution to those who don't have internet access. The more money you spend the more options you have later. If you have suggestions for slideshow to video options let me know. 


1) The easiest is to scan for the screen something like 75dpi. My scanner software lets you pick what the output will be screen, color printer, laser etc. 

2) Size and crop to reduce size and fit on 640x480 screen appropriately. You don't need to fill the screen, just make sure it is smaller 2" x 4". If you print these in smaller size they print well too. 

3) Scan sepia or colored photos as black and white (not gray scale) can save space.

Photo Web Design:

1) Display low resolution smaller size photos 2-10k and/or allow clicking on the photo to see a larger higher resolution picture of about 10-35k. Photos for high quality print out require as much as 1-200mb each and would be unsuitable for web use. I have found that 35k photo print fine in smaller sizes.

2) Determine if you want the height or width to be the same. FrontPage 2000 has the nice feature to make the longest side a certain length (ie.100 pixels).

3) Portrait thumbnails 72-100 pixels tall or landscape 72-100 wide. Let the other side adjust proportionally. I like 100. You can choose to only show these smaller sizes or to also scan at a larger size with JPEG compression to show more detail when they click on it. These larger size will printer better. See below for tools to automate this.

4) Make a table roughly 4x5 and then link pages together. Too much on one page will take to long to load. 

5) Make sure to label the photo ie <img src=photo.jpg alt="John Smith">  <br> and put a title under the photo to be used by  search engines and to help the viewer.

6) A good index or Site Search can help people find the photos. 

Photo Filing/Storage

1) Create a directory separate from any software package for photos and under that I create one for each family or person. Use  names like Rury_Ken rather then Ken_Rury that way branches get grouped together. My file names are as clear as possible so they can function as captions if need be. 

2) Label the photos yyyymmdd_person_person.jpg. Group family pictures with the parents and individual pictures with the individual. All this structure allows you to see at a glance how old and for whom the photo is about. I can eliminate the surname on the file if the directory indicates the family.

Family Origins users: Focus first on how you want to structure photos for posting on the internet and then point FO to those locations. You don't need to copy the files to FO. FO can use them were you have them. When you create a web page in Family Origins it will create a thumbnail at that time in its own area. FO lets you change the drive the photos are point to, but not the directory. So if you change the directory name you have to fix the photos one at a time to point to the new location. A web page can show multiple photos for each person, but FO will only let you post one photo per person.

Worldconnect users: It does not support photos though it might in the future. 

Photography Tool Sites:

Software can take these larger photos and automate the creation of thumbnails and web photo albums. They are well worth the price. Thumbsplus (shareware) or CompuPic (7 day trial) or WYSIWYG HTML software like Frontpage can do this.

ThumbsPlus good shareware software by Cerious for creating thumbnails and web photo albums.  

CompuPic - a more professional looking tool by Photodex with nicer tools, but missing some features like annotation that ThumbsPlus has. Also has a professional version so if you decide you want more options you can upgrade later.

You can see on my Album page what I am currently doing with photos using Frontpage 2000.

Check out HTMLGoodies for an Image tutorial, but watch out that some of the examples don't work well with advertising banners at the top. Be sure to test with Webtv as things display differently there..

It is challenging and very time consuming to deal with photos. Proper planning can save you time all around. Try the various approaches with a few photos until you like it and then trudge ahead.


email:   1996 Rury Homepage Updated: Tue 11 Jan 2000