Image Size?

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A recent discussion with a fellow flickrnaut, about image size, has me interested to hear others thoughts and ideas on 'image size' in a web context?

293 pixels   interface

Viewing images, and by images I'm talking photography, although paintings and prints fit this idea to a certain extent too, in a gallery context for example, gives many artists a great deal of control on how the images are read by, and impact upon, the viewer. Taking them out of that context, and putting them in/on a web site, is a profoundly different process, with a potentially different outcome.

There are several variables to consider when using a web site to view images.


  • Screen Size
  • Graphics Card/resolution
  • Colour controls
  • Navigational elements within the user interface of the web page.

As a photographer, you have no control on how people, set their computer up or buy the hardware they use.

As a photographer, using sites such as flickr, you can control the maximum size displayed in the options available to you, but not the size displayed as the main size.

500 pixels   interface

My argument is this, if a fairly common resolution is 1024 x 746 pixels for the majority of monitors, why upload anything larger. As this will result in the images needing to be scrolled, thereby changing the experience of the image.

You see composition for me is the most important factors in making the decision to press the button, particularly with large cameras, such as my Hasellblad, or Linhoff Tecknika. That decision is destroyed in a screen based environment if the viewer needs to scroll to see the image, in my opinion.


1024 pixels - interface

So my question is this, is there any value in uploading large size images that while the viewer can see more detail, the image as a whole, is destroyed?

A caveat if I may, all this is based on the assumption that, people are using a computer to view your work. This problem is going to be multiplied upwards as people consume content on different devices, iPods though to plasma screen and projectors.

6 Comments

s2art
I agree with your argument that "a fairly common resolution is 1024 x 746 pixels for the majority of monitors, why upload anything larger. As this will result in the images needing to be scrolled, thereby changing the experience of the image."

It's what I've more or less come to realize.

I just wonder though Gary; does it fragment the experience of the image beyond redemption or are people going to get used to it and consume their imagery this way?

Well I consume most of my images this way these days.So I make the shift from larger PC computer screens to Apple ones so that I can get a better image.

I'm always most interested in the overall impression, and the composition of the entire photo, and hence will look at the small screen fitted size first.
Beyond that, and for flickr specifically, there are a few reasons why I like having larger sizes availabe, they are a nice additional feature, but by no means the most important one.

- Post processing pitfalls become more evident and serve as a reminder for myself when editing. (e.g. over sharpening, artefacting, noise, etc.)

In regard to scanning, there are also some technical issues involved and I like seeing "clean" large sizes in order to get a feel or benchmark for what is good scanning and editing practice for negatives. I have to find all these things out by myself and need some visual comparison points. I haven't had any formal training in photography etc and have to go by what I see other people do right or wrong.

- It's interesting for me to see how much tolerance users have for artefacting and how much they are prepared to put up with them. Or maybe they don't even recognize them?

- A lot of images look good small but fall apart in the larger sizes. This is interesting when dealing with big ego amateur photographers who are caught up in some sort of self celebratory love fest.

-Sometimes it's just nice to go back to the parts that make up the sum and find that there are some hidden gems that weren't visible in the small size image.

Thanks barb, I like that comment "big ego amateur photographers who are caught up in some sort of self celebratory love fest", and of course there are gems to be found in the large size. Glad to hear you have the tenacity and persistence to learn by looking and thinking about others mistakes.

barb interesting remarks.

I'm only slowly moving into the post processing. its more playing around with the mood of the image ---that generally means darken the shot if its graveyards and away from the photoshop look of heavy colour saturation. Yet I find myself increasingly fascinated by the colour and lighting of CSI Miami, which I presume, is largely computer post- processing of film. or are they shooting digital? It's an interesting aesthetic

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This page contains a single entry by s2art published on January 24, 2009 6:16 PM.

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