Website Photos

Google Images and How You’re Probably Breaking Copyright Laws

The power of Google’s search engine is impressive, and even more impressive when you look at the results from its image search feature. Millions of images from across the web are available for any user to see at the click of a button. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have the right to use these images just because they turned up on a Google search.  Google is NOT a collection of public domain or copyright free images (or anything else, for that matter). Here’s what to consider before you start using images that you find on Google.

Copyright Laws can be complex to understand (as can most other laws set up by the federal government) but it’s important to remember that they only apply to the commercialization of intellectual property. What that means is you can’t use other people’s images to make a profit or for business related uses. If you just want to change your desktop background with an image you found using Google, you are more than welcome to. If you are a student who needs to use a specific image for a school presentation you are more than welcome to. What you cannot do is use that image for your business website, regardless of the type of business (profit, non-profit, church, whatever). Copyright Laws are designed to prevent users from using an image to advertise or sell a product without the original producer of the image giving permission.

The Internet can make existing Copyright Laws a bit trickier than they used to be. With so many uploads and downloads occurring across the web, it can be difficult to monitor who is using specific images that may be copyrighted. Google has an algorithm that they won’t share the details of, but it usually does a pretty good job of removing images or even videos that may have copyright claims against them. If you continue to use images that have been copyrighted, Google may even suspend your Google+ or YouTube accounts. It’s a tough enforcement, but there are too many people that blindly use images from a Google search and think they can use it for whatever purpose they so desire.

Google Images is one of the most frequented sites on the web, and there should be no surprise in that statement. With that power and flexibility comes the reality that many users are going to essentially steal images unknowingly. While most of the time these issues are resolved between the original creator of the image and the user, they can escalate into suspensions of Google accounts or even lawsuits. If you plan on using an image found on Google for commercial purposes, make sure you are following all existing Copyright Laws beforehand. Otherwise that image might be a whole lot more trouble (and money) than it’s worth.

(And check out our blog post on stock photos!)

Do you have any thoughts on Copyright Laws and Google? Leave them in the comments down below!

Photo Management and Sharing

After my recent trip with friends to the East Coast, I’ve learned a thing or two about photo sharing. It’s great when everyone is taking pictures, but eventually everyone wants to see everyone else’s photos. It also makes documenting a whole trip easier when everyone is pitching in and taking their own perspectives (literally!) on what’s happening around you. I’m going to highlight a few photo services that might make the sharing process easier, amongst collaborators and viewers.

If you want everyone to share photos with each other and all your friends, and you’re not living under a rock, making a shared Facebook photo album is the way to go. One person can create the album, title it, and invite other users to collaborate so they can upload any photos they want. At the same time, all your friends can see the cumulative photos from your trip – pretty convenient!

If you don’t like the idea of Facebook, having a shared folder in Google Drive, OneDrive or DropBox can be a great way to share large, high quality photos amongst photo takers and select family and friends. This keeps your pictures a little more personal (you can share via a link that you send to specific people), and they’re backed up in the cloud – double win. Even better, most of these cloud services have mobile friendly backup options, so you can upload all your photos from your phone into these folders and the cloud!

If you’re looking to share you photos with a wide, public audience, photo sharing sites like Flickr may be the way to go. Your group can create a shared Flickr account and upload the best of the best to show off to the public.

For simple and seamless photo sharing, and if you all have Mac products, AirDrop is a great way to quickly share a few photos between your iPhones or iMacs. Simply enable AirDrop and Bluetooth on your respective devices, look for your friend’s device, and share selected photos. They’ll instantly transfer so you can both have copies living on your respective hard drives.

And in the end, there are still good old external hard drives and USB sticks to transfer large quantities of files and photos, and they’re a good source of external backup!

Setting Up Website Images

You can’t go to any website without seeing some type of image on the site – pictures, logos, etc. Many of these are files which are loaded onto a web host server and then displayed when you browse the Internet. We are going to talk about how to set up images and have them show correctly, avoiding the situation when they sometimes do not look so good or don’t show up at all. In this article, we will refer to  pictures but generally applies to any graphic you add to a website.

Start With High Resolution Pictures

For pictures to show well on the Internet, you should begin with quality high-resolution digital pictures.  The best display will come from pictures taken with a digital camera although you can scan them in and still come out with good images. When you download those pictures onto your computer, the files are digital and usually in a “print quality” resolution, meaning they will be 300 dpi or better.

Tip: “dpi” is dots per inch and refers to resolution.  As a standard for the Internet, pictures should be loaded onto the web at 72 dpi. If you want to print that great picture, it should be a minimum of 300 dpi.

Another Tip: If you have to scan in a picture, make sure you set your scanner settings to 300 dpi. That way you will get a good file you can use to upload with.

You want to start with high resolution pictures even though you will reduce the dpi to 72 when you load them onto the Internet. Why? Because you may need to “crop” (trim) or enhance the photo before you save it to upload. That way you will not lose any of the picture quality.

Use the Right Code

Putting pictures on a web page requires a specific code in the web page. The standard HTML code format to show a picture is:

[<] [img src=] [“images/myhouse.jpg”] [border=”0″ width=”170″ height=”200″] [alt=”this is a photo of my house”] [>]

(When putting in the code, do not use the brackets. We just put them there in this example to help in describing each part of the code. )

The [<] in the example is called an opening tag and the [>] is the closing tag for the code. You have to put them in for the code to work.

[img src=] is the abbreviation for image source. This tells the computer that the information following img src= shows what the characteristics of the picture are.

[“images/myhouse.jpg”] tells the computer the folder where the copy of the picture is stored. myhouse.jpg is the name of the picture file stored in the folder images/.  The apostrophes are required. When your website files are uploaded onto your web host server, you usually load a folder that shows all of your graphics, pictures, etc. The name of that folder is what is going to show first, followed by a / and then the picture file name. The picture can be a .jpg, .tiff, or .gif, and that should also match the actual file name.

Tip: If you upload your pictures along with the website files without putting the pictures in a folder, then you would only show the name of the picture file, i.e., “myhouse.jpg” without the images/ or the /.

[border=”0″ width=”170″ height=”200″] tells the computer what picture size you want to show on the website and whether or not you want to show a border around the picture. The “170” says the picture is 170 pixels wide and  “200” says the picture is 200 pixels in height. The number of pixels (the standard measurement of photos) will vary depending on the size you want to show. The “0” after border= says you do not want a border.

Tip: You want to make sure that the width and height in the code matches your actual picture width and height or it might show up looking distorted, stretched or scrunched up.

[alt=”this is a photo of my house”] serves several purposes. With today’s technology, those persons who are visually impaired may use software to “read” websites. By putting this code in, which is now a coding standard, the software will read the picture code and then tells the user what it is. Secondly, a side benefit is  it helps the person working on the picture codes  to identify which picture they are working on.

How We Get Photos Ready

As a web designer, we use Adobe Photoshop to work on pictures, images, logos, etc.  Once we know where the picture is to be placed, we determine the size it can be and then re-size it to fit the space.

Sometimes we have to “crop” (trim) the picture. For instance, we might have a real estate agent who wants to show off a picture of a house he wants to sell. Looking at the picture, for whatever reason, the house isn’t  centered in the photo and there is a lot of trees, sky, etc. What we would do is take the photo and trim it so that the house is in the center of the picture. We always trim before we reduce the dpi of the photo to keep the resolution quality of the photo. Once it is set the way we want, we then “save for the web” at 72 dpi, upload the photo file where needed and make sure the code matches.

Note: When reducing any photo resolution down to 72 dpi, the actual size of the photo will also change to smaller numbers. So it is important to make sure the width and height matches in the coding after the photo is set up for the website.

And there you have it. Questions? Feel free to email us about any questions you might have and we will see what we can do for you. Thanks for stopping by.