Common Sense Image Use


[Editor’s note: I’m delighted that Maureen Taylor of the Photo Detective blog has agreed to provide this guest post for GeneaBloggers readers.]

Images and blogs are a natural partnership. A picture illustrates a point or becomes the focal piece of a column. It advertises who you are. No doubt about it, images enhance the ability of your blog to connect with your readers. There are some common sense image usage tips to keep in mind before you start placing pictures everywhere.

  • Condition. First and foremost, use pictures that are easy to see and in good condition. Take advantage of photo editing tools such as the free site to remove marks and sharpen the image. If you want to draw attention to a detail, crop the image and then include both the full size picture and the cropped version. If you’re deliberately showcasing a picture with problems it’s a good idea to tell folks exactly why you’re using a less than perfect photo. Similarly, if you’ve enhanced an image mention that as well.
  • Size. The larger the image, i.e. resolution and size, the longer it takes to download the image and for folks to see your blog post. There is a high annoyance factor possible here. It’s important to remember that not everyone has a newer model computer and that some areas of the country still rely on dial-up Internet access. The other problem with image size is the storage limits of your blog program. If you post a lot of images all the time you’ll eventually need to upgrade your storage space.
  • Resolution. Don’t put high-resolution images online. Resize your images before posting by compressing tiff format images to jpgs. The best dpi for the web is 72. You really don’t need anything larger. If you use a higher resolution image there may be unexpected or unauthorized usage later on. This doesn’t prevent online copying, but at that resolution, print quality is awful.
  • Copying. Watch for right-click copying. You can copy all kinds of things on the web by right-clicking with your mouse (control-clicking on a Mac). Should you? No. It’s an ethical thing. I use a photo site that allows me to turn off the right-click option. You also can put a watermark on images to discourage reuse. It’s an option in many types of photo editing software and that’s what many photo stock houses do. Unfortunately I don’t currently know of any blog software that allows you to turn off right-click copying.
  • Permission. If you find an image on the web that you’d like to use, see if you can find the owner. Ask their permission before adding their image to your blog.
  • Living Persons. Don’t use pictures of living people, unless they give their permission. There are articles in the news about improper usages of images on FaceBook, but it’s only a matter of time before that misuse happens to bloggers too.
  • Protect Identities. If you want to publish photos of an event, either have folks sign a model release that states how and where you’ll publish those images, or don’t show faces. I recently used a photo of a group of kids at one of my workshops. I focused the camera on their artwork instead of their faces. Each child held up their poster board so that their faces were completely covered.

Go ahead. Use lots of pictures and illustrations in your blog. Just make sure you have great looking images and permission to reproduce them. Wordless Wednesday is my favorite day to follow the blogs.

Maureen Taylor writes the Photo Detective blog.  © 2009, copyright Maureen Taylor

Metadata Tags for Photos (Vista)

In a previous post, my focus was on metadata tagging of photos for users of Windows XP.  For those of us using Windows Vista, the ability to use metadata for photo files is much greater with more flexibility.


One form of metadata available to Windows Vista users is a Tag. Think of tags the same way you think of labels for blog posts: tags are a series of “keywords” that you develop which allow you to group items together under a common theme. In this blog labels such as Profile or Applications are frequently used.

vista photo metadata 01

In the image below, I have used tags to label my census images for my genealogy research. I created tags such as 1900 Census, 1880 Census, etc. This tag system will then allow me to sort on the Tag column.

vista photo metadata 02

Entering data for tags, and in fact, for several basic metadata fields is made much easier in Windows Vista. There is no need to right-click over a file and select Properties. Go to the panel at the bottom of the Windows Explorer screen and you can select and edit any field.

vista photo metadata 03


The metadata fields available when using Windows Vista are much more robust than Windows XP. If you right-click over a photo file, select Properties and then select the Details tab, you will see many more fields including those automatically populated by your digital camera.

vista photo metadata 04

Warning! Genea-geek speak ahead! Instead of the EXIF standard used in Windows XP, Vista utilizes the XMP (Extensible Media Platform) standard developed by Adobe Systems, Inc. With XMP metadata, there are many more fields available plus you can perform bulk edits of metadata either using Windows Live Photo Gallery or various third-party applications. Some of the more popular XMP-based metadata programs are iTag and Pictomio.

© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee

Metadata Tags for Photos (Windows XP)

Have you ever wanted a better way to organize your digital photos? If you use Windows XP you should consider using metadata tags.

What is Metadata and How Does It Get There?

Think of metadata as “data about data,” meaning data such as file size, file name, file type, etc. The easiest way to see metadata for a file in Windows XP is to use Windows Explorer (which lists your files NOT Internet Explorer which is a web browser) and right-click over the file name, then select Properties.

XP Photo Metadata 01

In the example above, on the General tab, basic data such as File Size, File Type, etc. are shown.

These fields represent basic metadata that are embedded with the file when it is created. Also, when you use a digital camera, the metadata is written to the file and is populated when you connect the camera to the PC or laptop and download the file.

You can also supply more metadata youself – the type that helps to further categorize your photos. Clicking on the Summary tab displays even more data fields:

XP Photo Metadata 02

The Title, Subject, Author, Keywords and Comments fields are available for you to complete. By adding information about the photo you are supplying metadata – descriptive data about a data file. Enter information and click OK.

XP Photo Metadata 03

If you are curious about the Advanced button (and who isn’t – if there’s a button there you bet I’m going to check it out!), click it and more metadata is displayed including height, width, as well as the metadata you just entered.

XP Photo Metadata 04

So What Can I Do With Metadata?

Now that the metadata is embedded as part of the file, both supplied by the camera and by you, it can be displayed in Windows Explorer by adding the fields to be displayed. Right click over any of the fields in Windows Explorer and a quick list of fields in use appears with a check mark.

XP Photo Metadata 05

Select the Author and Comments fields and they will then be displayed in Windows Explorer.

XP Photo Metadata 06

Now, you can sort and organize your photos based on this new metadata.

Warning! Genea-geek speak ahead! If you want to learn more about the metadata standards used by most digital cameras, read about EXIF (exchangeable image file format). EXIF is the most common standard used with files stored in Windows XP but is today seen as somewhat inflexible and antiquated.

So I Have To Manually Input Metadata For Each Photo File?

You could spend half your life editing metadata manually for photo files in Windows XP and by the time you’re done, Microsoft will have come out with its next generation of Windows operating system.

There are several programs that are available for free that allow bulk editing of metadata – check them out at