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It is important for college students to remember that image is everything. How a person presents themselves is what will be remembered in most cases. The same ideal applies to photos for digital media because a good photo can engage and impact what the writer is trying to convey, thus becoming a deciding factor on how the information is received.

Photos are visual images from photographic film or digital images. These images are usually taken by a camera, and can be used to inform and direct the audience. When writing for the web, photos play a key part to attract readers. Photos heighten the audience's attention, thus making the information more credible and professional. It allows web users to better understand a particular concept, thus making photos clear, interesting, and memorable.

Types of Photos

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Notice how this high compressed JPEG results in a fuzzy photo. ©Wikipedia
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Using a low compressed JPEG ratio results in a sharp, crisp, and clean image. ©Wikipedia
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An example of a GIF animation. Notice how the image continuously loops.©Wikipedia
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An example of an 8-bit PNG image. ©Wikipedia
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A 4×2 pixel bitmap containing 32 bits. ©Wikipedia

Pictures on sites should be high quality. Pixilated and high contrast photos appear dull to the audience. Using photo editing programs such as, Photoshop, will fix the photos. Photos ought to be checked daily in case they are broken and deleted. Broken and deleted images ruin the cohesiveness of the site and credibility.

Pictures have numerous file formats; however, the four most common are JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP.


Images commonly known as Joint Photographic Experts Group.

JPEGs are typically the most utilized format for graphic images. Typically digital and color images need to use this compression format. JPEG compression contains full color or gray scale. JPEG compression format possesses a large range of colors. JPEGs capture the realism in images. According to Sarah Horton, "The more a photo is squeezed with JPEG compression, the more quality the photo loses."[1] Saving an original image is strongly cautioned. Once a photo has been tweaked, the original image is lost and cannot be retrieved.


Images commonly known as Graphics Interchange Format.

The majority of graphics on the web support GIFs because they are compact. GIF compression is typically 8-bit. The small bit rate causes the file compression format to only support 256 colors, instead of millions of colors like JPEG.

GIF images consists of a set images that are displayed in a set order. According to Margaret Rouse, "GIF images tend to be animated images that loop endlessly." [2] GIFs lose compression to keep the file size at a minimum. This form of compression prevents a loss in photo quality. GIFs can be seen throughout the web, but are commonly seen on Internet forums and media coverage blogs--creating comic relief. Make sure that the GIF being used is professional and connects with what the site's central theme or message.


Images commonly known as Portable Network Graphic.

PNGs serves as an alternative file compression format to the GIF. Designed especially for the web, these images contain a large range of colors and look sophisticated. PNGs are best for art, text, and logos. While these images take up less space than GIF, they tend to load slower. According James George, "PNG images are lossless, which means that they do not lose quality during editing." [3] PNG images are known to be inconsistent on different web browsers, especially Internet Explorer, which does not support PNG.


Commonly known as a Bitmap Image File.

BMP is a file format used for digital images. The BMP file produces images from hundreds of small pixels of color. This file format only works for Windows operating systems, which means they are incompatible with Apple applications[4]. BMPs offer great detail when it comes to size; however, this format consumes a lot of space on the hard drive. Meanwhile, a compressed BMP file, which is larger than a JPEG, can be stored and transferred easier over the web.

See Also


  1. Lynch, Patrick J., Horton, Sarah. "Web Style Guide, 3rd Edition". Web Style Guide, (2009). Print. Retrieved 12 Nov 2012.
  2. Rouse, Margaret. "What is an Animated GIF". SearchSOA, (2005). Web. Retrieved 12 Nov 2012.
  3. George, James. "GIF, JPG, and PNG - What is the difference". Sitepoint, 11 Aug 2011. Web. Retrieved 12 Nov 2012.
  4. Fulton, Wayne "Image File Formats - JPG, TIF, PNG, GIF: Which to use." Scantips, (2010). Web. 22 Nov. 2012.