23 Aug The Secret to Fabulous Facebook Images
If you’re like me, you might absolutely CRINGE and want to throw things at your monitor when you see the way Facebook butchers your lovingly shot and meticulously sharpened and prepared images!
While Facebook’s sloppy compression might be OK for the average FB user sharing cute pictures of their kids, it’s definitely in our best interest as professional photographers to make our FB images look their absolute best! So I thought it might be helpful for me to share with you the way that I prepare my Facebook images to represent my photography business in the best possible light.
The Facbook Formula
The secret to fabulous facebook images is three fold:
1) Apply the right web sharpening (PS unsharp mask is my preferred method)
2) Save your images as PNGs and facebook will not compress them but ONLY if you:
3) Upload them to your Facebook BUSINESS page. Personal page images and group images etc get converted to jpg and compressed even if you upload them as PNGs.
You will note that numbers 1 & 2 are bad news for those who like to export from Lightroom and be done because LR does not have an save as PNG option.
Now this didn’t change my personal workflow because I have never found LR’s export sharpening to be as desirable as the level of control that I have using PS unsharp mask, and I also like to adjust the position of my watermark depending on where the subject is placed in the image. So I’ve never been one to “batch” export for FB, but for you this may be a dealbreaker. Only you can decide if the improvement in image quality is worth the extra steps if you are used to automating the process with LR. For me though, the answer is an unqualified YES, particularly since FB is such an important marketing tool!
Seeing is Believing
Here is an example of an image that I posted as a PNG to my FB business page vs that same image that FB compressed into a jpg on a group page (click to enlarge to really see the difference!)
See how much crisper the image on the left is? By comparison, the image on the right looks soft and fuzzy!
For sharpening, I always start with these USM settings and then “fade to taste” by adjusting the amount % to make sure nothing looks too crunchy.
Radius: .2 Pixels
Then, to export I choose “Save for web” from the file menu and make sure my settings are “PNG-24” and that transparency and interlaced are unchecked but that “convert to sRGB” IS checked, like this:
All of this of course becomes much quicker to do if you make an action, but I’ve saved you the trouble – you can download the action from here:
The action resizes your image to 960 pixels and then does everything except choose the settings in the save for web dialogue, so you’ll need to set those to PNG-24 with sRGB checked. It also applies the sharpening at 500% but then presents a “fade” dialogue, so go ahead and bring the fade percentage down if it looks to crunchy as is and then hit OK to continue the action.
I’ve even included a text file in the download on how to customize the action to include your watermark should you wish to do so!
The action was created it in CS5, but it should be compatible with most photoshop versions.
No matter how you deliver your products and files you might want to reconsider the way you do it in light of this information.
For example, I used to give any digital images ordered in both full resolution for printing and also FB sized watermarked sharpened JPGs on a disc. Now I just give the High Res files and instead post the FB images to my photography page and ask my client to tag themselves as this is the only way to ensure that they won’t be converted to .jpg by facebook and thus have the #$%* compressed out of them when the client uploads them to their personal page.
Hopefully you’ve found this helpful. If so, please share it with others!