Organise your images to save time.
You will, at some point, be asked to send images of your work for inclusion in a website, catalogue or directory. Be ready and get in the habit of organising your images as you take them.
It is easy to snap away and just let them pile up. How often do you know you have a great image of a piece of your work - you hunt and hunt through your hard disk and CDs, but can’t find it?
Here is one method we have found which works well.
Set up a new folder on your computer with the name of your piece of work. Then, inside this folder, set up new folders for: Originals, Edited, Print and Web.
This covers most of the options and keeps the folders logical.
Firstly, and most importantly, be clear about what you need so that you can select recently taken images of your work which really represent the piece well. Place them in the ‘Originals’ folder and give them logical names. image1, image2, image3... will be unhelpful when you have 20,000 images in a few years. Give them names you can recognise which relate to the work.
Now, copy all of the images in the ‘Original’ folder into the ‘Edited’ folder and make any adjustments to improve them. This might mean cropping them, to remove unwanted distractions, or to make sure your work is central to the image. You may need to change the brightness, contrast or colour balance, or just sharpen them a little.
You don’t have to be an image-editing expert to do this, just sensitive to how you want your images to look. Many people use the industry standard, ‘Photoshop’ (or 'Photoshop Elements' which is smaller and cheaper), for image editing, but there are a number of economical or free alternatives. Have a look at our free software section.
Never, NEVER, edit your original images!!! One day your computer will crash, be stolen or explode and apart from the ensuing mess, your originals are gone, too, so always keep a copy of your selected original images on CD, DVD or some other back-up system and keep them safe, away from your computer. Remember, you will have deleted them from your camera and can’t go back and retrieve them from there if you have a problem.
Copy all your edited images into the ‘Print’ folder, making sure they are saved at the highest resolution and at least 300 dpi (dots per inch).
Copy these files into the ‘Web’ folder and edit each of them down to a smaller size and resolution. Websites work at 72dpi, a much lower resolution than print and a way of keeping file sizes small so they download quickly and make the website they are on load faster.
We suggest that you first change the resolution (down to 72dpi), then the size of the image with a maximum width of 600 pixels.
Now, when someone e-mails you, asking for an image for a website, for example, you can decide which image you want to send them, go straight to the correct folder, select the ‘Web’ folder and attach a copy of the image to your reply e-mail.
In real terms, all this folder-making and image-editing helps in two ways. Firstly, it saves you time, meaning that you don’t need to hunt around for a particular image. Secondly, it makes you appear professional. If you respond quickly to a request, you make the life of the person who asked you for the image easier. They remember this and you get a reputation for being organised and professional.
Believe us, and we talk from experience, if you are working with ten artists who all produce similar work relevant to your project and 9 of them faff about waiting until the last minute to send you their image, and one of them is fast and efficient, that gets remembered. Next time a project is being planned, the organised one will be the first to be contacted. This really does work, so spend a few minutes filing your images and improve your chances in a competitive world.