Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Want good photos worth saving? Quit using that low camera setting!

I've been receiving photo files from a lot of great people from events that are very grainy.  Unfortunately, these are great for a show and tell via email but not good for much else.

Yes, I know years ago we used to make our photo files very tiny in an effort to make it easy for emailing when we had dial-up Internet service, which few of us use these days. Even back then all those small file sizes were only good for a quick share, or perhaps to use for an avatar - you know those teeny tiny photos you can barely see when a person comments on Facebook? You enlarge a small photo file to a size you can actually use and quite frankly it looks like crap.

You may think that you're doing something great by setting your cameras to hold more photos on your memory card. BAD IDEA!
If you choose a low quality setting you're going to get just that, a low quality photo.

An example of what is happening to your photos.  Pour a little sand into 2x2 picture frame. Just put enough in that 2x2 to make a nice layer of sand so you do not see the paper underneath. Ok, now take that same amount of sand and spread out over a 4x6, 5x7 or 8x10 frame area.  Spread a little thin isn't it? Perhaps even bare spots in the larger frames? That's what's happening to the pixels in your photos when you use those low settings and try to use for photos later. 

Need more space when you're traveling, just buy another memory card, they're not that expensive. Or dump the files on your laptop each night, or move to a free service such as Dropbox to save for later to clear out that memory card so you can take more GOOD photos worth saving.

When you set your cameras on such a low setting you may as well delete all your photos right now. Yes that's right = Delete.They're not good for anything, but a quick view for the moment. If you enlarge to print out even a 4x6 photo they'll look grainy. There goes that great event, family memories, and those photos from that awesome vacation you wanted to remember forever or print out to hang on your wall.

Set those cameras on the highest possible setting! If it means you will get less photos, so be it, because at least they'll be worth something more than a waste of your time. Isn't it better to have a few great photos than a bunch that you should just delete?

And remember, you can always downsize those photos for other purposes if need be. If you don't have the software to do so, there are a lot of free sites that allow you to do just that if needed for any reason.

Now pull out your camera book right now, and find those instructions to set that camera to the best quality photos you can take. It's worth your time, and you'll thank me later.

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