Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday's News and Tips: Resizing Photographs

One of the keys to a successful Etsy shop is good photography. This may seem daunting, especially if you do not take pictures on a regular basis or feel like you do not have the right equipment.

One of those tasks that seems to befuddle people with whom I have spoken is resizing pictures. This is important to know because, first of all, Etsy won't let its sellers upload anything higher than 570 to 1,000 pixels wide. Secondly, resizing pictures to a smaller size helps your pictures load faster and takes up less space on your website. This is very useful for blogging and also for sending pictures by e-mail to family and friends. Who wants to sit at a computer waiting for a huge picture to load and then have it fail?

The Etsy Seller Handbook has some great tips on this issue and also lists some freeware you can use if you don't have Photoshop. These sites range in experience level so whether or not your are comfortable with a computer will determine which site you'll probably choose. Here is what they suggest:

Gimp (like Photoshop - high learning curve)

Picasa (mid-level usage)

They also suggested Piknic, a site for those less computer savvy, but that has closed. I would suggest Picasa if you want something less involved than Photoshop.

These sites help you with an assortment of photo editing processes. For specifically resizing images, Etsy recommends Aviary and Photoshop Express Online.

Image editors and resizing utilities

Another program that I use, besides Photoshop, is Irfanview. This is a freeware program that allows you to view your images and magnify them so that you can tell if they are fuzzy. You can also edit them and Irfanview allows you to easily resize your images to Etsy's requirements (570 to 1,000 pixels wide). Irfanview will also allow you to place borders on your image, in such a way that your image will appear to be matted.

Microsoft users who have Windows XP or higher, can resize their images by right clicking on the file with a mouse and choosing a size. I have found that small works best. But in order to do that, you must first install an image resizer. For XP 32 bit, you can use the Microsoft PowerToy image resizer. This bit of freeware is available here:

Just download it and run the install process. Once you have done that, you can right-click on an image and resize easily.

For XP 64 bit, and Windows 7 and Windows 8, I prefer the Prish resizer. You can download it through this link:

and then run the installer. Once that is done, you will have a right-click ability to resize images. Both the PowerToy and Prish allow you to resize multiple images in one batch.

Protecting your computer

When you own an online business, the last thing you want is for your computer to pick up a virus or for it to become slow because of excess files and cookies. My husband, who works as an IT Systems Manager, recommends several freeware applications from that will protect your computer. These are CCleaner, MalWareBytes and AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition. 

CCleaner - with the press of a button, CCleaner will clean the unnecesary files, such as Internet cookies, history and trash in your recycle bin, from your computer and will make it run faster. 

MalWareBytes - According to the company's Web site, this program "detects, blocks and quarantines spyware, adware and other threats in true realtime," protects from "malicious links, harmful websites and malware servers." It also "kills browser hijackers, removes rootkits, prevents botnet attacks." Don't ask me what a botnet attack is. It just sounds bad. When you install this one, you will be given the opportunity to activate a trial for the paid version. If you want to use the free version, skip that activation.

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition - This is the best virus scanner I have ever used and it's free! Forget Norton and McAfee. AVG will protect your computer and allow you to use social networking programs, like Facebook, safely. 

All of these programs are very easy to download and use. We use them on our home computers and they run beautifully. 
Written by Lisa Gossman-Steeves

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