Optimizing an image for publishing on a website/blog.

The first image is a full size un-cropped fresh from my Nikon D800 7360 pixels by 4912 pixels at 300 pixels per inch. 1-DSC_0258.jpg

The image is of a 1973 BMW CSL driven by Chandler Briscoe in Portlands turn three early Saturday morning. Camera specifications are Nikon D800. Color space RGB. Lens focal length 200mm.  Lens 200-500mm f3.5-5.6 Nikon. 1/250 second at f10. I used a mono pod with a swivel head.

Keep in mind the early light allowed me to capture the CSL with nice high back light. Lower side panels and the front are in shadow as is the drivers face. There is a high lighted fence rail in the background over the front camera left corner of the car that is a bit distracting. The tire wall just in front of the camera has a strong high light.  The back light has given the fences and bleachers in the back ground lots of texture.

My publisher Sportscardigest.com requires images that are 1500 pixels by 1000 pixels with captions. I include a © notice in the metadata panel.

 Original Image

Original Image

First step is to crop the image to 1500x1000. I do not change the dpi at this point. I will drop the resolution down to 72 dpi from 300 dpi as the last step in preparing the image.

Considerations when cropping this image:

1.  Make the car a larger part of the finished image.

2.  Keep the textures and colors of the back ground and foreground.

3.  Show where the CSL is coming from at the same time giving space in front of the CSL to show where it is going.

4.  Don’t worry about centering the image. Off center may ad visual impact to the image.

 Cropped Image

Cropped Image

Second step is to enhance the color and shadow detail. I use PhotoShop’s Exposure control and lower the exposure by -0.30. This darkens the orange helping it to separate from the background BUT it darkens the front of the car and the drivers face. The inside of the wheels may also use some help. I use PhotoSops Shadow control and open the shadows +60. These two adjustments enhance the orange with out losing detail in the shadow area of both the car and the background.

 Enhance Color

Enhance Color

Third step is using PhotoShops Dodging tool to lighten the drivers face and the inside of the wheels. First I enlarge the image allowing me to easily maneuver the dodging tool. Remember less is more here. Don’t make the area you are dodging scream “I have been worked on”. Subtle subtle subtle when using the dodging and or burning tool.

 Dodge Tool

Dodge Tool

Fourth step is the PhotoShop Clarity tool. I set the clarity tool to +35. This is an arbitrary setting to what looked good to my eye for this image. Experiment with this tool and all the PhotoShop tools. Again less is often more.

 Clarity Tool

Clarity Tool

Fifth step is using PhotoShops Cloning tool to remove the high lighted railing in the back ground. Again enlarge the image. Set the cloning tool to a soft edge, here I used 12%. Take your time and experiment with size and hardness of the cloning tool.

 Cloning Tool

Cloning Tool

For many this may be the Hero or Finished image.

Sixth step is using Photoshop’s filters found under Image-Adjustments-Photo Filters-Warming Filter (85) I added 15%. This really helps the tire wall and the tire in the lower front come to life. After all this is the West Coast where our light is known for it’s golden warm glow especially early morning and late afternoon light. Help Momma Nature a bit with this warming hero.

 Add Filter

Add Filter

A Step Too Far?

Step seven using PhotoShop’s Vibrance tool set +20 and the Saturation tool to -40.

Is this the look of an old print that has been hanging on your wall for almost forty years? Is it an interesting look?

7-post-DSC_0258.jpg

One last step. Reduce the image size to 1500 pixels by 1000 pixels at 72dpi for web publication.

Hint. You may use any steps after the fifth step as an optimized image for printing. But remember each printer has a “look”. Balance and test your images to produce the best images from your printer.

Hint. The same holds true with web sites. Test your images to find the best balance for the web publishing your images.

Hint. I may have over dodged the drivers face and or the wheels. Remember less is more when dodging and burning. For that matter almost any PhotoShop modification of your images will profit from the “Less is More” mantra.