Preparing and Uploading Photos to the Internet


Source: Flickr user mmm-fibre

So you’ve got some lovely shots of your kids or your art or your knitting, etc and you want to upload them to the Internet. But what is the best way to do that? Well, like everything else, there are so many different ways to approach this, but today I’ll focus on getting your photos in a web ready format and then uploading them to a photo sharing website like Flickr.

I’ll assume you have already downloaded your photos from your camera to your computer. If you need help with this, the best place to start is the manual that came with your camera, the website of the camera manufacturer or do a Google search using something like “download photos [camera brand] [Windows version]” eg “download photos Canon Windows XP”.

Photo Formats

Most cameras take photos in jpg or jpeg format (pronounced “jay-peg”) and this is the best format to use for on the web. It is a lossy compression format – which means that it can be compressed without losing too much detail. It is best to take your photos in high resolution to ensure the best print quality, but high res = large file size, which isn’t great for on the web. Large file sizes are slow to download and use up your data download allowances.

So, to get your photos ready to upload you need to resize them. Your camera probably came with some software to do this, and if you are comfortable with using that, it’s a great way to go. I like to use a free program called IrfanView – it’s simple, does the job well, has lots of handy features and well it’s free!

Other free programs you may like to try include Picasa, PicPick, GIMP, or PhotoScape.

In IrfanView, open your photo.

If you want to select just one area of your photo you can click and drag a selection box. Then select Edit –> Crop Selection.


Once you are happy with the image it’s time to resize. Select Image –> Resize / Resample. You will be presented with the following dialog box:


Ensure “Preserve aspect ratio” is selected then under set new size enter either a width or height setting – only enter one, as IrfanView will then automatically set the corresponding measurement. The image at the top of this post is 450x203px to give you an idea of what size the image will turn out.

Once you are happy with the image then save it. I recommend saving a copy, not overwriting the original as you may want to reuse the high res version in the future. Select File –> Save As.



Choose the Save In directory, name the file and set the save options. Here is where you can compress the file further to reduce the file size by adjusting the save quality. Have a play around with these settings to find the right balance between file size and quality you require. Then click Save.

Your photo is now ready to upload!

A quick note on file sizes: It wasn’t that long ago that any image file over 75kb was considered too big for the web. But with the increasing speed of broadband we can be a bit more generous. I would still aim to keep images under 200kb each, except in the case when I really want to present an image with as much detail and definition as possible, then I’d aim for something around 1Mb.

Uploading to a Photo Sharing Web Site

I’m going to walk you through uploading to Flickr as I think it’s a great website. But there are many others available, such as Photobucket or Picasa Web Albums. Wikipedia has a full list of photo sharing websites. Have a read through their services, About pages and FAQs to determine which service is right for you.

Sign in to, or create your new, Flickr account. Then click Upload in the menu at the top of the page. Now, you have a couple of options. If you only have one photo to upload, you may like to use the Basic Uploader or if you have more to do you may want to use one of the uploading tools.

Basic Uploader

Go to the Basic Uploader page, click the Browse button, locate your photo, enter any tags (see below for more info on tags) and click Upload. You are then presented with some more options for adding detail to your image if you want. Click Save and your photo is now in your photostream. Too easy!



Uploading Tools

You have 4 other methods available for uploading your photos:

  • The online Uploader (the new and improved version of hte Basic Uploader) which is the one I use most often and will probably meet most of your needs.
  • Desktop Uploadr is software you install on your computer for heftier uploading needs or offline photo management. It oftens functions including drag and drop single photos or videos, or select a whole folder, reorder how photos will be displayed in your photostream, etc. Available for Windows and Mac.
  • Upload by Email is especially handy for uploading from your mobile phone. You can use your very own private email upload address to email photos to your account. There are also other mobile options available.
  • Or you can use one of the many third-party upload tools available.

I’ll walk you through the online Uploader today. This tool requires you have Flash installed. If you don’t have it installed your browser will show an error message, and should provide you with a link to get the file and install it. If you don’t want to use Flash, then just use the Basic Uploader which is pretty much the same anyway.


Click on Choose photos and videos. Browse to the folder containing your photos, select all those you want to upload and click Open.


You are then presented with a list of the files you selected and options for privacy settings. Make any changes you need here and then click Upload Photos and Videos. You then get some nice little animations showing the upload progress.

Once they are all uploaded, click Add a Description. Here you can add the same details to all photos via batch operations, or do each photo individually.


Then click Save. Done!! Your photos are now up on Flickr for you to share. What you can do now is endless… add your photos to a relevant group, organise your photos into sets, link to them from elsewhere, share them on Facebook, Twitter, put a badge on your website or profile on IndiePublic, etc. You can even order prints! Go, have a play!!


A note on tags: Tags are a very useful way to organise your photos. Tags are like keywords or labels that you add to a photo to make it easier to find later. You can tag a photo with phrases like “catherine john holiday france.” Later if you look for pictures of Catherine, you can just click that tag and get all photos that have been tagged that way. It is a much better way to organise them than using folders or sets. For more info see Flickr’s Tag Help page.


Look out for future articles on editing photos, uploading photos to your own website and detailed instructions on getting the most out of Flickr!

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