You Are Here.
Jump to our supported pages.
Resizing Images for Web Pages
Family Garden Trains
Garden Railroading "How-To" Articles
BigIndoorTrains (O, O27, On30, and Christmas trains)
Big Indoor Trains "How-To" Articles
Family Christmas Online
Christmas Craft Resources
Big Christmas Trains
Halloween Trains
Creek Don't Rise(Regional History and Folk Music)
"Howard's How-To's" (Vintage-style Cardboard Houses)

Written by Paul D. Race for Breakthrough Communications™

Resizing Images for Web Pages

This is a followup to our series on How (and Why) to Write "How To" Hobby Articles

Our premise is that you'll enjoy your hobby more if you share it with other folks. In my case, I've been able to share my hobbies with people all around the world. Folks from places like Belgium, Dubai, Argentinia, Sri Lanka, Shanghai, New South Wales, Dublin, France, Latvia, and many more, have written me with questions and tips. I regard it as a privilege to hear from them, and help them when possible.

One way people interact on the web these days is by uploading photos. And many sites are equipped to handle the really big files that today's digital cameras churn out. Some sites, though, have a "cap" on how much HD space you can use on their servers. Others aren't equipped to resize them, so if you upload a huge file, all the next person will see is one corner of what you sent.

Isn't "Bigger Always Better"?

Not on the web. My 12 megapixel camera gives me photos that are nearly six times too large to display "full-sized" on a 1080p HD television. Yes, if you feed really big photos directy into a monitor (say on a USB card), the monitor will "resize" them on the fly to fit the screen. But the quality of the image you see is actually worse than if you used graphics editing software to resize it before you fed it to the monitor. The software knows how to keep an image looking nice when it shrinks it.

The same thing is true on the web. I can put a 4000x3000 pixel image on my web site and program my web page to display it at 800x600 pixels. But it won't look as nice on your screen as if I resized it first - and it would take up to 25 times as long to download to your computer. I don't care how fast your DSL is; there's no excuse for that.

Now it's likely that screen resolutions will continue to increase. But today, when I want to embed a photo into a web page as part of a illustration, I usually make it somewhere between 250 and 400 pixels high. Then I usually put a link that lets you click for a bigger photo. And that's where the 800x600pixels come in. Most of the time, that provides all the visual information needed to illustrate any point I write about. If I am providing graphics that are just "for pretty," or, say, for folks to use as backgrounds on their computers, I may go up to 1200 pixels wide. But that's the exception. (Yes, some monitors now are 1600 pixels wide, but they are in the minority.)

Prepping Photos for Web Publication

CNET's Download Site for Paint.Net

software knows how to compensate for the reduced size and blend pixels, where Not only that, but if I feed those big files into a monitor (or browser) and allow the monitor or browser software to resize them real-time for viewing, the picture will not look as good as if I In fact, if I wanted to put together a slideshow of photos, have a midrange camera that takes photos that are 4230 pixels by 3240 pixels. So if I wanted to print a poster that was, say 100 dots per inch (a respectable print resolution for a poster), the poster would be 42"x32" and still look almost like a photograph until you got very close. Most photo printers consider 200dpi as good as you need to get (since photo printers merge adjacent dots to make the image look smooth) so I could print a 21"x16" photo that the average non-professional could not tell from a professional image. You get the idea - that's a lot of pixels.

On the other hand, the average computer monitor displays graphics at 72 dots per inch. Which is to say, to see the original photo from my camera at full size, you'd need a monitor that was 58"x45" with resolution that is nearly six times the resolution of a 1080p HD television (1920×1080). you can use. Others, meet them. , including Latin America, Western and Eastern Europe, Dubai, India, Sri Lanka, h larger group thanks us for explaining something that no one else has taken time to "walk them through."

You Have Important Skills

No matter how new you are to a craft or hobby, you bring skills you take for granted but not everybody has. And chances are you have already done projects that you think are easy, that seem completely beyond the reach of other folks who came into the field from a different background. If you're inclined to share your ideas and successes, you'll discover that hobbies are most fun when they are community activities, in which we can all grow together.

So what if you're not much of a writer or a photographer? Everyone reading this note today can take useful photographs with a digital camera and keep a list of steps the next time they start a project.

What if half or two thirds of your projects don't work out? That's fine, too: several of our articles describe the disasters as well as the successes, and even the disasters encourage folks to "take a stab at it." They figure that if anyone who makes as many mistakes as we do can complete such a project, they can do it, too, and probably better.

Everybody Benefits

  • Growing your hobby benefits you and your fellow hobbyists, because a growing hobby attracts additional resources that will help you in the long run.

  • If you are a member of a local hobby club, posting quality how-to articles will increase folks' sense of community, and help newcomers realize how helpful your club can be.

  • If you have a commercial web site, the best way to bring "organic" hits and get crosslinked from other sites is by providing free, quality content.

  • In some cases you can earn a few dollars for your work, especially from magazines or subscription-based internet sites related to your hobby.

  • If you sell a service, publishing "how-to" articles related to that service will give you credibility and attract clients. Yes, you may lose a few jobs if your readers use your guidance to do simple tasks themselves. But building a reputation as an expert in your field will increase the likelihood that folks will come to you with the really big jobs.

  • Finally, you become a better communicator. Learning to organize your thoughts on paper helps you whenever you need to write or speak, regardless of the subject. In fact, a few of my contributors who started out sending me lists and photographs paid close attention to what I was doing with their materials, and they're now sending me articles that are 80-90% ready for publication when I get them.

The following articles in this series contain tips for anyone who wants to help others in their hobby by passing on your own successes or near-successes or not-even-close-to-successes . . . .

Note About Writing for the Web

I am a writer, not a marketeer. So I'm used to publishing information that people need, in the most understandable and useful form possible. Unfortunately, the vast majority of books published about "Writing for the Web" are all about how you can make loads of money if you post a lot of "zingy" hype on your site. As far as I can tell, the only guaranteed way to get rich quick this way is to sell a lot of hype-filled books that tell other people how to get rich quick.

The articles listed above, have a few links to books about writing and photography. But I wanted to warn you in advance that even some of the best books about writing for the web have "get rich quick" hype embedded somewhere in the pages. The truth is that editing any truly useful resource (be it web or print) on any hobby is a labor of love. If you love your hobby and you'd like to see it grow, and you know how to do anything worth passing on, this is a good way to give back and to encourage the "next generation" of hobbyists.


Not long ago, I published a "blog-like article" called "Pay No Attention to That Man Behind the Curtain," which describes both the pitfalls and the advantages of sharing creative "secrets" with others. The short version is that, in spite of the pitfalls, your own creativity benefits when you take part in creative activities and communicate what you've learned to others. What can you try? What can you teach? How can you benefit the hobbies and communities that have benefited you in the past? (And keep in mind that you REALLY learn a subject when you try to explain it to the next person).

Looking forward to your suggestions, additions, criticisms, and anything else you care to send me, I remain,

Paul Race

Breakthrough Communications

P.S. Enjoy your hobbies. And be sure to enjoy any time you have with your family in the coming weeks.

Note: Breakthrough Communications™, Family Garden Trains™, Garden Train Store™, Big Christmas Trains™, BIG Indoor Trains™, BIG Train Store™, and Trains-N-Towns™ are trademarks of Breakthrough Communications ( All information, data, text, and illustrations on this web site are Copyright (c) 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 by Paul D. Race. Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically forbidden.

For more information, please contact us. Or visit one of our supported web pages:
Breakthrough Communications
Family Garden Trains
Outdoor Trains,
Large Scale Trains
BIG Indoor Trains
O Gauge and On30 trains,
Holiday Villages, more
BIG Christmas Trains
Trains for Trees,
Trains for Towns
Family Christmas
- Christmas Articles,
Music, Stories,
and Craft Resources