Images for the uninitiated

I’ve been trying to find time to learn how to manipulate images, but so far, no good.

Last year I installed Gimp (free!) and I’m sure it does loads of stuff brilliantly. But so far all I’ve used it for is to re-size images (and it’s taken me a while to find the right steps to do that – there is so much in there!)

The trouble is, the manual is ENORMOUS and I don’t even understand the table of contents, never mind what a layer is or what constitutes the canvas.

I suspect, to get to basic user proficiency, I shouldn’t be starting from here.

I’ve recently discovered this article on about resizing images for the web . I was pointed in its direction by the blog of Chris the Story-reading Ape, so thanks, Chris, for that helpful post.

The article outlines the steps required to…

1. Change the dimensions of your pic (no, I don’t mean moving those little blobs on each corner when you cut-and-paste it)
2. Save for web use
3. Remove extraneous metadata (that’s the invisible bits in the background of the image file)
4. Squoosh it, using Squoosh image optimiser

I have used all these tools and it was do-able (even though I still don’t understand what I’m doing).

All the information you need is at

Last year, after we’d successfully published our writing group anthology, I self-published my little verse about Emmy Elf (A Year Before Christmas) just to see if I could add pictures, but I didn’t try anything too clever with them. I knew they had to be high resolution for print, but I didn’t have a clue how to go about optimising pictures for the e-version (which is currently free on Smashwords until I’ve re-vamped it).

The e-book was produced in a hurry last December (yes, that late) – again, to see if I could do it, and I wanted to find out how Smashwords works.

I plan to make a better fist of it this year (now I have entry-level tools) and to re-publish the e-version.

Watch this space.

Do you have any tips on manipulating images

for absolute beginners (like me) ?

Please share

22 thoughts on “Images for the uninitiated

  1. I manage with MS Office Picture Manager. One tool allows you to compress the pictures giving options for documents, emails and web pages. If I repair a photo I use the photos app. Scanning the photo saving it as a jpeg then taking out creases and repairing any damage.
    In the past, I have used Google Picassa software the fill with light function is brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, Cathy. I think it has a lot to do with what system/equipment you’re using. I think Adobe Photoshop might be the best all-around tool for altering images in a variety of ways. There also seems to be a free online Photoshop Express set of tools. I use the app on my iPad, but if What is online is anything like the app, it is very easy and very intuitive. Best wishes and I hope that helps!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Adobe Photoshop seems to be the standard and it’s probably what I’d go for if I was ready to shell out more than I’m paying already for subscriptions. (That doesn’t mean I’d understand how to use it.)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have used Canva, but I mostly revert to Word when I want to add text to an image. Then I turn it back to an image via PDF (Acrobat is one of the few subscriptions I do shell out for, having missed it after leaving work). Thanks for reminding me about Canva. If I recall, it was fairly easy to use.


  3. Hi Cathy, I have GIMP installed but to be honest I’ve never used it. I can’t justify shelling out for Photoshop but I do have Photoshop Elements and use it up to 5 times a week. I’ve be using it for nigh on 15 years and love it.
    If you went down that road I’d be more than happy to pass on some tips. Or try me with general questions on image manipulation. I’ll see if I can help. The majority of the header images I use on my blog have been edited in Elements. If you check those out you’ll get an idea of what I do.
    Good luck. Hope you get the advice you’re after.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think you’re doing well with the learning curve, so good luck with the e-book! I vaguely remember attempting GIMP several years ago, but not since. My skill set is not with such things, nor editing images… I just get easily frustrated! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. thanks for the info; I just use Preview on my Mac, and simply resize every featured image to 800 by whatever the height defaults to. As you might imagine, some of the images don’t look so great. I’m usually just so happy that I’ve finished writing my blog, I don’t have much energy left to worry about the image!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, but a Mac has all kinds of art-y features as standard. Mine’s a humble Windows laptop and, like you, I’m usually happy to just get something written for the blog. and I’ve only just started thinking about pics – mostly because I’m trying to get a cover together for a book of my short stories.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m attempting to produce a cover for a short story anthology, and I’m sure gimp would solve all my problems, if only I understood the manual. I must invest some time on it.


  6. One blogging issue is that Blogger (and probably WordPress too) posts images on blogs in a standard range of sizes. To see the original size, readers have to click on the image (sometimes twice). I’ve found you can control the layout by fiddling with the underlying HTML, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone not confident with coding.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Noooo. The only html I’ve ever successfully applied was a switch to a Table of Contents to turn off page numbers for Author names (it was a multi-author anthology). It took much research and comparing of examples before I dared it.


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