Having great pictures of your artwork for your artist portfolio website is critically important. You obviously want to present your work in the best possible light. But whether you shoot them yourself or hire a professional to do it for you, there are a few extra steps you should take to prepare those jpeg files before you upload them to your website. I recommend using Photoshop, but I’m sure there are other photo software programs that will do the trick, too.
1. Crop and clean up your images. Especially if you’ve shot your photos yourself, you’ll probably find that you have some of the background showing in your initial jpeg. You might even have a little distortion because the camera lens wasn’t exactly parallel to the surface of the painting (called parallax). So the first thing you want to do is to crop off any background and wonky edges. While you’re at it, use the color and contrast adjustment tools to make the jpeg look similar to your original art.
2. Adjust the size and resolution. If you want to be really smart about this process, you’ll shoot your original jpegs at 300 dpi, a high resolution. It’s good to have a library of hi-res jpegs handy because you never know when you might need them for a competition entry or reproduction printing. But you don’t want to post hi-res jpegs to your website because it makes it easier for people to steal your images and use them for reproductions and such. So, knock down that 300 dpi to 72 dpi, and at the same time, give the image a reasonable size, such as 1920 pixels wide or tall or somewhere between 6 and 8 inches wide or tall. Then save the new low-res image as a jpeg (not PNG) file so you'll have a faster load time (the time it takes to “build” on the screen when a visitor clicks on your website), which is better for your ranking on search engines.
3. Name the file the right way. This requires a little bit of background explanation. When a search engine like Google is searching your website, it reads through the text, looking for keywords so it knows what your website is about. But it can only read text, not images. It can, however, read the file names of the images, so here’s a great opportunity to work in a keyword, such as the dominant color and/or subject. You also want to make sure you get your name on the file, again to help protect yourself in the event someone steals your image. You might also consider including other details as well, such as title, medium, and dimensions.
Here are a couple of examples of how I would name the jpegs for works by three of my favorite artists:
With a little extra time and effort, you can have amazing looking images that also add to your search engine ranking and drive more traffic to your website.
Any other suggestions? Let’s connect!