Choosing a format for your digital photos or scanned images

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Before I leave the topic of graphic file formats, let me just briefly cover what file format you should choose when taking digital photos or when scanning images. Many digital cameras offer the option of choosing either JPEG or TIFF as a file format for the photos you take. Some even offer their own proprietary formats unique to the camera's manufacturer.

When choosing a format, take your intended usage for those photos into account:

ii If you plan on making a photo book or you want high-quality prints, I recommend capturing your images as TIFFs. Just remember, TIFFs will result in larger files.

i If you just want to create slide shows or albums to view on-screen or you want to e-mail your photos to family and friends, stick with the more compressed JPEG format.

i If you aren't sure and just want the photos in your library for future projects, then it is okay to stay with JPEGs; just don't continually open and re-export them.

The lossy compression scheme used by JPEGs will deteriorate the image over time. Better to make a copy of the image (EditODuplicate Item) and keep your originals unmolested.

^ Avoid using any proprietary format. Not that proprietary formats are bad; it's just that the format might not be supported by Album and other software programs. For example, if your camera allows you to choose between JPEG and Camera RAW or CCD RAW, choose JPEG. Album doesn't support the Camera RAW or CCD RAW formats.

It may not be completely obvious how to choose the file format for your camera. Some cameras go by settings. A setting of High saves your images as TIFFs, while other settings, such as Medium or Low, save your images as JPEGs. If you're not sure which setting does what, refer to the documentation that came with your camera. I know, "manual reading" isn't fun, but it is a necessary evil sometimes.

When acquiring a scanned image, Album prompts you to choose a file format in which to save your scanned image. You have the choice of three: JPEG, TIFF, and PNG. Again, using the criteria I listed earlier in this section, consider your intended usage. For the specific mechanics of scanning an image, see Chapter 4.

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