I was in France this summer with my then fiancée and now wife, a few weeks before our wedding. We were on the coast of Normandy in the town of Etretat waiting for an amazing seafood lunch to arrive when I decided to check my e-mail on my iPhone, yes this slightly rude I know but it had been a while since I had checked the mail and did I mention I have a wonderful wife?
One of the e-mails was from magazine in Paris looking to purchase one of my photographs for an article they were writing. Needless to say I was very happy but yes I did wait until after our meal before replying.
Until this time I think my basic philosophy on storing images on the web was similar to most people in photography. I would upload JPEGs to my website and generally the image size would be just large enough to look good on a computer screen but no larger. Why? Because we all know there are sad and pathetic people that steal images from the internet. That may be a little harsh they are not all sad and pathetic, well some of them are. I have had students contact me complaining that they are unable to copy one my images from my website for a paper they were writing. These people were not trying to be underhanded or nefarious, I think it is just the mindset of people and the internet today - that being if it is on the internet it is free - and not really understanding everything that goes into the making that image.
So I am in France with a magazine that wants to use one of my photographs for an article. Needless to say I do not bring all of my images around with me on a giant external hard drive, I carry enough stuff around. My images are sitting safely in the US on my desk in a G-Speed Q RAID storage with a couple sets of backups off site. My staff consists of me so there is no one I can call to upload a larger resolution image.
So, long story short, the magazine felt that the image size of the photograph I had access to on my website was insufficient for what they wanted. This, obviously, led to a reassessment of my website philosophy. While I don’t travel all the time, despite what some people may think, and I wish I could travel more so I could definitely see this becoming more and more of an issue.
There are many websites on the internet that I would feel uncomfortable uploading a high resolution image to but Zenfolio is not one of them. Zenfolio, depending your membership, allows uploading of 8 GB TIFFs which tends to be a much more practical file format then the JPEGs.
This revelation about image size coincidently coincided with two things that I had been putting off for a long time:
First a desperate need to reorganize my image library - yes I do tend to be organized but I think eventually every photographer as he or she grows tends to outgrow his or her method of organization.
Second a long overdue requirement to cut down the number of images on my website. At the time I had over 3,000 images which is basically insane.
Both of these subjects could long and entailed articles in themselves and at some point may be but in summary I managed to combine the reorganization of my photography library and republish a more selected group of images to my website with higher resolution files. The process was much longer and more painful than I had hoped both in the organization and in the selection process for what images were selected for the website. It is extremely difficult to objectively judge your own images just as a photograph and separate yourself from your own personal emotions and memories involved while creating the image.
The original point is if your photography staff consists of you and you tend to be away from the homestead for periods of time you might want to rethink your philosophy on image size.