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Photos: Facts and Frustrations


highway with fall trees in full colour
Fall on the 401

Last week my husband and I headed east on the 401, past Toronto via the 407 and further on to the turnoff for Prince Edward County where I was doing a talk for a small book club. We took our time, happy to leave our computers–the only tech I took was my phone–and bask in the beauty all around us.

You might think from the photo above that the sun was shining and the skies were blue. Look closer. That sky was actually cloudy but the trees were stunning. Vast swaths of multi-coloured forest and fields lined the road for our whole trip. We never tired of pointing out yet another amazing view to each other.

But back to the photo. When I searched for pics to include in this post I was disappointed. Here is the best one I had.

highway lined with fall coloured trees
Fall on the 401, unedited

Yes. It’s the same picture but it does not show how delightful the panorama was, even in the rain. I opened it in Preview on my Mac and chose Tools/Adjust Colour. Up came this box beside the photo.

Of course I immediately started moving the sliders. It was so easy! When I found the Tint one, the sky turned blue. I had already brightened the trees by playing with the sliders. In no time at all I had the photo I used at the top of this article.

I am sure on a PC you can do the same type of thing. Seems to me I remember Paint being pretty useful. Anyhow, try it out.

Another thing I’ve had to learn regarding photos and other images has to do with the software you are using them in. My twice monthly newsletter goes out to about 1700 people through Mailerlite. (This type of program keeps your large newsletter mailout from being tagged spam as you have people sign up so that it’s all legal.) With this program I have to put my photos into Google Drive and adjust the size to be less than 1 megabyte. I do this through Preview on my Mac. Preview/Tools/Adjust Size and then fiddle with the number in the width box until the resulting size is less than 1 MB. Pretty easy. Then I save it into Google Drive because Mailerlite likes my uploads to come from Google Drive.

A little aside: When you are putting the images into your blog post or whatever, make sure you fill in the Alternative Text box. That helps your post be noticed when people are searching for certain things. (SEO)

Another thing I’ve learned about images is that they can be real biters and make your files too huge to manage. For presentation slides (I use Powerpoint) I try to use smaller files. Then my slides load faster. I usually take my own equipment because I never know what the venue where I’m speaking might be using. Whether I use my equipment or theirs, having files that load quickly and easily is important.

For images that I create through Canva I use the same ideas and keep them small but mighty. Here is one I created announcing my Call for Submissions to my current project, Canada: Brave New World.

image calling for submissions

The deadline is coming up soon for this and I’m pleased to say many amazing and heart-wrenching stories have come in already. Hurry and get yours in, too!

These are just a few of the tricks I’ve learned to make my computer life easier. Speaking of easy, remember to keep everything as easy as possible and still do what you want to do. It’s just like buying a microwave. I looked for the one with the fewest gadgets that would still do what I needed–warm my milk for my hot chocolate in the morning. Remember the KISS thing? Keep it simple, stupid.

Finally, I hope you’ll sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t done so already. It’s on the left near the top of any page on my website. It’s full of book talk, photos, fun facts and places I go.

6 books, author images

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