Technical stuff - hints and tips
Here are some hints and tips we've picked up along the way, all designed to improve your photography.

Resizing your digital images

This is one of the commonest Photoshop tasks (the steps are similar for other photo processing applications). There are three main reasons for doing it:
• To produce prints of a specific size
• To reduce the file size of images to email or for web pages
• To resize digital images for competitions

I’ve assumed you’ve got Photoshop open with your image displayed.

Producing prints of a specific size

1. In the menu bar along the top of the screen, go to “image”, and choose “image size”.
2. You’ll see a dialog box. The upper area of the box is headed “Pixel dimensions”, often “12mb”. This tells you the size of the digital file you’re dealing with. The lower area is headed “Document size”. This is what you will be changing.
3. Next, set your print resolution in the “resolution” box. You can often leave it unchanged (typically 240 pixels/ inch). My Epson 2880 works best at 288 ppi. 300 ppi is also commonly used.
4. Next, click to the right of the “width” and “height” boxes to make sure the little “chain” icon is showing. This preserves the aspect ratio (ratio of width to height) of your image.
5. Then, choose the units you’re dealing with. “cm” is best
6. Finally, set the width (or height) in cm. that you want your print to be. Hit “ok” and your image will be resized.
7. It’s a good idea to “save as” this image with a different file name, since you may have the same image in a number of different sizes.

Resizing for the web and email

Generally, the smaller the file size, the faster your image will load to a web page or be sent via email. Remember “pixel dimensions” in the “image size” dialog box? Keep the file size down below 1mb for high quality images, and ideally below 150kb if you want images to download or transmit quickly.

1. Go to “image”, and choose “image size”, as before
2. Now, set your print resolution in the “resolution” box to 72 ppi. It’s this that reduces the file size, and is all you need for web images. Note: if you’re emailing images for printing, go back to “producing prints...” but be aware that they’ll take a long time to send.
3. Make sure the little “chain” icon is showing, as before
4. Next to the “width” and “height” boxes, choose “pixels”.
5. Now, you can set how big you want your images to be. For small web images, maximum dimension 400 pixels is ok. Large web images are rarely bigger than 1400 pixels
6. Hit “ok” and your image will be resized. Again, “save as” this image with a different file name

Resizing for competitions

This is the bit that many people have trouble getting their head around!

For competitions, the maximum image width is 1400 pixels, and the maximum image height is 1050 pixels. But, the canvas size must always be 1400 pixels wide by 1050 pixels high. Now, the image size is what it says on the tin – the size of the image. But the canvas size is different. You can think of it as the size of a sheet of black paper on which the image is sitting, so that the image appears to have a black border round it. You can make the canvas size bigger or smaller without changing the image size: the effect is to make the black border bigger or smaller.

1. Using resizing for the web (above), resize your image so that the image is no more than 1400 pixels wide, and no more than 1050 pixels high. So, for example, your square image will be 1050 pixels wide and 1050 pixels high. Hit “ok”.
2. Next, go to “image” and choose “canvas size”
3. Set your dimensions to “pixels”
4. Set your “canvas width” to 1400 pixels, and your “canvas height” to 1050 pixels.
5. Finally, at the bottom of the dialog box set your “canvas extension colour” to black.
6. Hit “ok”. Your image will be untouched. But it will have a black border either top and bottom if it’s landscape or at each side if it’s portrait. If your image size was 1400 x 1050 in the first place, it will have no black borders at all. Again, “save as” this image with a different file name.