What is an image editor?
An image editor is a program for manipulating images. There are many freeware editors that will do most of the basic functions that are needed for basic web authoring. There are also much more powerful applications available, like PhotoShop.
How should you use your image editor?
In preparing images for the web the most important function will be an easy to use resize feature. With todays multi-megapixel cameras or most photo scanners the image files are quite large. For use on a website a smaller file is desirable.
A large file takes too long to download and will slow your page loading time. People with a slower connection may leave your site before the image loads. Using the resize feature and compression will reduce the file size and allow your pages to load faster.
Images for the web should be resized to the dimensions at which they will be used on the site. You should always save the original in a folder and put the resized image in your images folder in your website folder.
Another feature that you should be familiar with in your image editor is the cropping feature. If you have a large image but only a small part of the image is important you can cut the extra image area away with the cropping feature. This will allow the important part of your image to show up larger on your web page. If the cropped image is still larger than the area where the image will go you should resize it to the proper size after the photo is cropped.
Most image editors also have many other features that you may wish to explore. Most provide a way to adjust the color, brightness, and contrast of a photo. Digital cameras tend to capture a lot of detail that may not be readily visible in the photo. By experimenting with the adjustment options you can sometimes improve the photo.
There are also some special effects offered by many editors. You may be able to superimpose text on the photo that becomes part of the image file. There may be a gray scale option that will turn a color photo to black and white. There may be a way to make a picture appear as if it is very old. Explore the special effects options offered by your image editor.