How to include photos in a post (revised 8/19/11)

claireplymouth z6b coastal MAAugust 19, 2011

The last "How to post photos" thread is on page 2, so I'm posting a new one revised to include comments in this thread. and the 7/10/11 thread. There's further commentary in this thread. and this thread. I'm trying to keep it concise so please read the previous threads for more discussion. This post is evolving and I'll keep revising it until it works or I can't stand looking at it again. At that point I'll post it as an FAQ (which can still be revised) and just post a link to it. Comments are welcome and I'll include them in the next version.

It's frustrating to many newcomers to see all the posts with photos included in the text and have no idea how it's done. With this post I'm attempting to explain the process so posting photos will be not only possible, but easy. We have an FAQ on How do I use HTML Code to change fonts and insert stuff in posts? that gives general information on inserting items in Garden Web forums. FAQ's are good, but new posters need to know they' exist.

There have also been many posts by different people giving their own preferences. Some of the posts have been terrific, and at some point I hope to track some of them down and link to them. What I'm presenting here is my preference mostly to get the information out now to people who need it now.



To post a photo you need a digital camera that you can connect to a computer or a smart phone with internet access. Using a digital camera you transfer the photo to the computer, then you upload that photo to the internet using your browser. You can either upload to a photo hosting website and then post a link to that site on Garden Web, or you can upload directly on some forums. If you have an iPhone you can email a photo directly to the internet, without using a computer.

Once you have the photo somewhere on the internet, you have two choices for Garden Web. You can post a link to the website URL in the Optional Link URL box at the bottom of your message (don't forget to name it in the Name of the Link box), or you can post a link in the text of your message that links directly to your image on that website. The website URL is on the top of the page; the image HTML code is somewhere on that page.



These are the most commonly used methods to get a photo on the internet:

You can use a web hosting site where you can set up your own photo albums (there are many, such as Photobucket, Picasa and Picture Trail) or you can use which is more of a web photo transfer site, Some forums allow direct upload to GW, but the size is limited.

*The advantage of the hosting site is that you can set up a page with many photos on it and organize them by topic. A great example is sedum37's site on Picture Trail (see the Flora in Winter thread).

diggingthedirt (on an earlier thread) adds this reason for using Picasa:

"Here's why I like google's picasa web more than the option:

If I select a small size for my photos when I post them via picasa, you can click on them and be taken directly to the larger size photo in the picasa album. If I click on a small tinypic photo, I end up at a page that offers me an account at tinypic; the original photo is nowhere to be found.

The small size Carol used (320px x 221px) seems really useful for threads where there are a lot of images. I often use an old laptop with limited graphics memory, and loading an image-heavy thread takes a VERY long time, and makes my computer behave badly. So, yes, the photo-hosting site is a personal choice, but there are a lot of details to consider when you choose!"

*The disadvantage of the hosting site is that you have to set up an account, which some people may be reluctant to do.

*The advantage of is that it's very easy to upload one photo and link to it, and you don't have to set up an account.

*The disadvantage of is that you can only upload one photo at a time, which is not useful if you want to show many photos.

Whatever method you use to get your photo on the internet, you still have the options of posting a link to the website (in the Optional Link URL box) or posting a link to the image in the body of your text.



It's important that the photo be within a certain size range by the time it gets to Garden Web. In a previous thread, DtD mentioned loading time as an issue, and mad_gallica explained it thus: "When talking about 'size' of a digital photo, it can refer to two separate, though often related things. The physical size of the picture on the screen, and the file size of the information necessary to show the photo. Physically large pictures mess up the thread formatting. Large file sizes are the ones that take forever to download." She gives some good examples in the 7/10/11 thread.

Summarizing, there are two effects related to the size of the photo as posted.

1. Physically large photos mess up the readability of the thread - you have to scroll back and forth and back and forth to see both text and image.

2. Big photo files with lots of information load slower - you have to sit around tapping your feet (or go wash the dishes) waiting for the pic to show up.

Somewhere along the way when you're moving that photo from your camera to the internet and then to GW, you will be given a choice of resizing the photo, which is usually huge as it leaves the camera. Way too big for the forum.

Desirable sizes are either "thumbnails" which some hosting sites provide, or something close to 640 X 480 pixels. "Medium" or "Small" varies from program to program, so don't rely on it. (see corunum/Jane's discussion in the previous thread). Thumbnails are small pics which will link to a full-size pic in an online album.

Note: You may incur the wrath of other Garden Web members if your photo is larger than 640 x 480 pixels and thus becomes very difficult to read. Remember that your post may look fine in Preview in the window on your monitor, but others may be using computers that show a very different view. If it becomes too difficult to read, people just give up and they'll never see your images.



That said, I use myself to include an image in the body of the text. I suggest you try at first so that you can work out the bugs and get confidence that it will actually happen. Once you've mastered this, you can explore hosting sites to find whatever suits you personally.

You don't have to set up an account at a hosting site if you use

1. Transfer the photo from your camera to your computer desktop.

2. The photo files on your computer must be in a format such as jpeg or jpg.

3. Using Tiny Pic, you hit the "Choose File" button and it searches your computer desktop.

4. Choose one then select a size (640 x 480 is good)("Resize" button), and then UPLOAD NOW.

5. When the file is uploaded, copy the HTML tag, not the IMG tag.

6. Paste the HTML tag in the text message of your post, not in the "optional link URL".

This is the easiest way I know.


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In TinyPic the acceptable image file types are: jpg, png, gif, base 64 encoded image, or bmp.

The "choose file" button is now labeled "Browse". When you choose "Upload Now" you will have to enter the scrambled code, then you only need to click once on the top code (labeled "HTML for websites") and it will automatically be copied to your clipboard so you can paste it.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 4:08PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Thanks for reminding me, I'll update the next version. I've been fussing over other issues (photo size, web hosting sites, etc.) and neglecting the basic Tiny Pic instructions. By the way, you (in your MacV incarnation) were the one who introduced me to Tiny Pic, and I've stayed with it.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 4:40PM
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as mentioned earlier, if you pick "HTML for websites" it comes with their byline and redirects to advertising. Best to use the direct link as described in last thread or use IMGUR for the right html code.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 6:45PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Sorry, wendyb, I rushed to get this version posted and forgot to include your comments. Next one.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 8:29PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

On a recent thread on the Building a Home forum, a poster asked for help getting his photos linked from his snapfish account. Apparently he was trying to copy the IMG code. Renovator8 replied "post the HTML instead of the IMG code in the message window."

On the next revision of this post, Renovator8's advice should be the lead off. This is the most common problem I've seen in different forums on Garden Web. It seems logical to post the IMG code, after all, you're posting an image, not text, but Garden Web is not set up that way. Your hosting site may even tell you to post the IMG code for message boards, but it won't work here.

The HTML code is the way to go for Garden Web. Perhaps the FAQ should start out with a trouble-shooting statement to the order of:

If you've got your photos on a web-hosting site already, but can't get them copied to Garden Web, try copying the HML code, not the IMG code. If that works, don't bother to read further.

I'll include this in the next revision, along with wendyb's comments.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 4:43PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

It's strange that different forums have different rules/norms for posting photos. In the Hosta forum people tend to use photobucket, and prefer larger photos, especially in identifying plants for posters. No one uses tinypic and people frown on using a link to a pic in the box below.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 8:44PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

That's an interesting observation, steve_mass; I suppose the aims of posting can be very different in other forums. In the Building a Home forum, people often want to be able to post a building plan with enough detail so they can read the dimensions (small text). It also may be their first post so Tiny Pic is often recommended by that forum as the easiest way to get photos online.

In the New England forum a thread will often get long with photos posted by many people. One big photo will disrupt everything after it, making the whole thread difficult to read. Close detail isn't necessary, even for plant identification since the ID is likely to be more a case of identifying a species, not a specific cultivar (hostas can be very similar).

Picasa is very popular here in New England, possibly because of the enthusiastic support of some of the regulars (as well as its many fine features before I get flamed).

Including a pic in the message is the gold standard, but this is a pretty relaxed forum and I think people would rather see a link in the box than not see a pic at all.


    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 10:51AM
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