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Preparing Pictures

Article Summary: Information about preparing GIF and JPEG picture compression for use on your website, and where to go to get free pictures.

Before you can use any picture or image on the internet, you must first convert the pictures into a web-friendly file format. The two most commonly used file formats on the internet are GIF and JPEG formats. An image stored in a GIF file format can store up to 256 colors. GIF is mainly used for images that have flat or low color resolution such as clip art or picture logos. JPEG files on the other hand are generally larger than GIF files and can support up to 16 million colors. JPEG is more commonly used in the conversion of photographs and images where the image contains a lot of fine details and a wide spectrum of colors. If you have problems with GIF files, you can also choose to convert your images to PNG. The PNG file format was originally designed as a replacement for GIF, and offers better image compression and resolution. Although PNG is widely supported by most browsers, GIF and JPEG are the most universally supported file format on the internet.

GIF And JPEG Picture Compression
FORMAT FEATURE
GIF Interlace Allows pictures to gradually "fade in" while the content is still downloading. It is popular for viewers with slow connection speed.
GIF Transparency Allows the area surrounding the text to be see-through so that the background looks blended together with the text.
JPEG Progressive Similar to interlaced GIF file, however not all browsers support progressive JPEG pictures.
JPEG Compression Allows pictures to be compressed to reduce file size. For web photos, go for medium compression (50%). This will ensure that image quality is still retained.

Tips:

The best way to convert pictures and images into GIF or JPEG file formats is to use a an Image Editing Software such as Google's FREE Picasa software. Picasa is a simple, but powerful image editing software tool that you can use to share, edit and post your pictures to your email or blog. .

For more information about image editing see the digital image editing tools section, or the FREE guide to Popular Web Design and Digital Image Editing Tools.

Sites Providing Free Stock Photography on the Internet

Besides taking your own pictures, you can also download free, high quality photographs for personal or commercial use from a number of stock photographic websites. Generally the photograph on these websites are contributed by other photographers. Morgue files and Stock.xchng are perhaps two of the most popular stock photography sites on the internet. Most pictures can be downloaded and freely used on your own website, though some may require that you inform the photographer before you use their pictures. You can also find free web articles and pictures at the Freesticky site. Even with thousands of pictures to choose from, it may still be difficult to find the right image for your site. Your best bet is to take your own pictures and supplement them with stock photos - that way you have more variety and more pictures to choose from.

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