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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Free Photo Editing Understanding Online Photo Sharing Terms:

By MJ Johnston

Most people tend not to think about the details of their online
photo sharing experience. As long as their photos get from their
computers to their online photo album, they could care less
about the processes that got it there. The way that digital
cameras designed, this really isn’t a problem, as most cameras
and photo editing software support this approach. However,
there’s a lot more that goes into online photo sharing than is
obvious on the surface.

Those who are interested in the fundamentals of digital
photography may be curious about different file formats. Many
have heard or seen the terms for picture file extensions, such
as .jpg (or JPEG), .gif, .tif, and .png. What do all these
different three letter extensions mean?


The term JPEG actually stands for “Joint Photographic Experts
Group” – the group that initially created the standard back in
1992. Since then, the JPEG has become the most commonly found
picture file type on the Internet. This is primarily because
JPEGs offer a tremendous amount of flexibility in terms of its
compression and picture quality. That is, its possible to
significantly reduce the storage size of a JPEG file by also
reducing the quality. Back when the Internet was first starting
out, downloading mutli-megabyte picture files just wasn’t
practical. JPEGs could maintain a reasonable image quality while
making the file size of the image much smaller.

JPEGs have remained an Internet standard thanks to this
quality. People are able to make images much easier to transfer
between computers without losing a significant amount of picture
quality. The drawback to JPEGs is that it is a “lossy” format –
this means that each time a picture is edited and resaved in the
JPEG format, it loses a degree of quality.


TIFF stands for Tagged Image File Format. TIFF files are
versatile and high quality, supporting up to 48-bit color depth
(compared to 8-bit for GIFs and 24-bit for JPEGs). The downsides
of this format are two-fold. For one, TIFF files have a wide
variance and an image viewer that can view one type of TIFF file
can’t necessarily view anther. Secondly, TIFF files are not
widely supported by web browsers, making them impractical for
online photo sharing.

GIFs and PNGs

GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. Like the JPEG, GIF
files are also commonly found all around the Internet. GIF files
are comparatively limited in their color palette – having only
256 colors to work with. This make GIFs a good choice for
relatively simple pictures without a lot of color differences,
such as cartoons and simple logos. While it a lossless format
that doesn’t degrade in quality, it’s pretty rare that you’ll
see a photograph in a GIF format in the modern age, since most
cameras are able to take pictures with significantly more color

PNGs, or Portable Network Graphics files, are the successor to
GIFs. Unlike GIFs, they support truecolor, a 16-million color
palette. PNGs are lossless, making them great for editing
photos. Most web browsers support PNGs, but they can still be
quite large. In many cases, the best choice is to edit a file in
PNG format, then convert to JPEG for distribution.

About the Author: MJ Johnston writes for a variety of websites,
(, a site that offers
advice on the quickest and easiest way to enjoy online digital
photo printing.


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