Sharing photos online has never been easier, but it does present certain risks, because material can be easily copied and used without your permission. Does the Photoshop Save for Web feature really protect your images?
Fortunately, Photoshop – arguably the most commonly used photo editing software – provides a dedicated Save for Web feature, located under the File menu, which not only streamlines the file size of your images for fast online display, but also allows you to reduce physical image sizes, choose the most appropriate image format, and determine compression levels and resolution so anything you place online becomes usable only within a computer screen context.
A range of presets are available within the Photoshop Save for Web interface, including variations on the primary screen formats of GIF, JPEG and PNG.
Ignoring the GIF format, because the colour limit is too restrictive for photography, PNG provides arguably the best quality due to its lossless benefits.
However, JPEG is the more universal image standard, providing the simplest conversion settings with more than respectable levels of compression.
A tabbed approach to the main interface allows comparison of your original image against a number of alternative conversions, so feel free to explore the various settings in more detail using the four-up view, for example.
But with limited monitor space available, make sure you view your image at 100% so you get the most accurate idea of how changes affect your conversion.
Adjust your preview area to include an area that includes sharp detail as well as areas falling out of the focal range so you can balance how your settings affect both detail and bokeh.
Understanding what these options allow provides the key to creating the best visible content without compromising your intellectual property.
And with the added ability to embed basic metadata, such as your name and copyright details, you manage to retain some ownership and minimise any risk of orphaning your images into the public domain.
It must be mentioned, though, that some photo sharing websites (Facebook included) have a tendency to strip any such EXIF or IPTC data by default, so including a visual watermark with your name, copyright and contact details is often a standard consideration when converting work for online presentation.
However, opinions differ on watermarking photos.
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