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Finding Images : Organize & Present Images

This guide will show you how to find images for coursework, teaching and/or publication.

About Image Sizes, Aspect Ratios, Etc....

What is Aspect Ratio? 

The aspect ratio of an image is the proportional relationship of the width to the height. You will recognize it as two numbers separated by a colon in an x:y format. For instance, a 6 x 4 inch image has an aspect ratio of 3:2. An aspect ratio does not have units attached – instead, it represents how large the width is in comparison to the height. This means that an image measured in centimeters will have the same aspect ratio even if it was measured in inches. The relationship between its width and height determines the ratio and shape, but not the image’s actual size. *However* image’s aspect ratio will change depending on the medium in which it is presented. The aspect ratio of an image displayed on a computer will be different from the aspect ratio of that same image displayed on a phone or printed in a journal.

How to Measure Image Size

Unlike aspect ratios, image size determines an image’s actual width and height in pixels. Image size is the dimensions of an image. You can measure image dimensions in any units, but you’ll typically see pixels used for web or digital images and inches used for print images. It’s important to realize that two different images that have the same aspect ratio may not have the same image size, or dimensions. For instance, an image sized at 1920 x 1080 pixels has an aspect ratio of 16:9, and an image sized at 1280 x 720 pixels also has a ratio of 16:9. To figure out what size you need, check out this calculator.

Common Image Sizes

1920 x 1080 pixels:  This standard image size is widely seen across high definition TVs, presentations, and social media cover photos. It follows the 16:9 aspect ratio.

1280 x 720 pixels:   This size follows the standard HD format featured in photography and film. It fits the 4:3 aspect ratio.

1080 x 1080 pixels:  You’ll see this 1:1 ratio image size used widely across social media, namely Instagram and Facebook posts.

See this primer for more information on formatting images for a variety of uses.

Scanning Recommendations

Scan a raw, high-quality image and adjust it in a separate process, always retaining your raw image as a TIF (non-compressed file)

Set your scanning level high enough:  300 dpi is standard for presentation or publishing scanning.  Some publishers ask for 600 dpi.  

Rasterized vs Vector - basically images with computer pixelation vs a smooth grain.  Vector images are created using mathematic equations of points, lines, and shapes, resulting in art that is clean, camera ready, and scalable without quality loss.  Personal cameras are not rasterized and therefore give a cleaner image than scans.

Depending upon your use, modify or clean your image with a professional tool such as Adobe Photoshop.

****Check out Princeton University Press guidelines for preparing and submitting illustrations for publication.

Organizing your Image Collection

How do you organize your images? 

Folder system on your hard drive? Dropbox? ICloud? Box? These are all reasonable and common platforms to employ for managing a digital collection.  You a need a platform that you can search but also one which backs up your data. A Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) can apply to all sort of collections - documents, images, data, etc.  But the overarching principle is a platform that provides the base-line structure to keep a collection organized and searchable; it provides a central location for all your digital files while securely managing your valuable creative assets.  Whatever system you select, you need to 

Examples of free DAMS:

Adobe BridgeBridge gives you centralized access to all the files and assets you need for your projects. Organize personal and team assets, batch edit with ease, add watermarks, set centralized color preferences, and even upload your photos to Adobe Stock. Bridge simplifies your workflow and keeps you organized and now with Libraries. 

Tropy: Tropy is free, open-source software that allows you to organize and describe photographs of research material. Once you have imported your photos into Tropy, you can combine photos into items (e.g., photos of the three pages of a letter into a single item), and group photos into lists. You can also describe the content of a photograph. Tropy uses customizable metadata templates with multiple fields for different properties of the content of your photo, for example, title, date, author, box, folder, collection, archive. You can enter information in the template for an individual photo or select multiple photos and add or edit information to them in bulk.  

Amazon Prime Photo : Amazon Prime Photos offers free online photo storage to Prime members, who can save and share unlimited photos on desktop, mobile, and tablet.

iPhoto (for Mac only, part of the iLife suite) : Apple's image storage software. Organize and edit digital images, then export to other applications in the iLife suite to share via e-mail, in print, and the web. Also offers a slideshow feature.

Presentation Tools

Weigle Information Commons (WIC) at Van Pelt Library offers workshops on many of these tools. See the WICshops calendar for more information.

Download, Print, and Link to Images

See ARTstor's instructions for how to download, print, and link to images for more help. And see the "Publish Images" section of this guide for help with image permissions.