Incense

by Bart Arondson

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I upload photos to my Facebook page using the latest Lightroom. I'm wondering if there are some tips or tricks, or maybe hidden options on Facebook that makes the images served to the viewers higher quality. Facebook automatically compresses the images, for them to save bandwidth I guess. But the version that you get when in theatre mode is really ugly, compared to the original one. There are lots of JPG compression artifacts. However, Facebook can serve the higher quality versions if you enter fullscreen mode. Photos viewed in fullscreen mode are really much better.

So the question is:

  • Are there tricks that I can do on the JPG file format/compression to increase quality in theatre mode?
  • Are there tricks that I can do on the image itself, so when Facebook compresses it, fewer artifacts are visible?
  • Can I ask Facebook (because my page is in the category "Photographer") to serve my pictures to the clients in theatre mode with higher quality?

Here is a piece of a picture viewed in theatre mode:

enter image description here

And this is the actual local file, scaled to approximately the same size:

enter image description here

Look at the fingers for detail difference. Also note the rainbow-ish artifacts on the left glass. Also the white suit of the guy serving the drinks looks simply dirty, while it definitely wasn't.

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I just think that this low quality fact keeps potential clients on a distance. Also, I myself find it way more fun to watch all of my photos in HD, than through the FB theatre view. It simply feels like: "I deliver high quality photos, but Facebook just ruins that." –  Martijn Courteaux Jun 5 at 12:52

2 Answers 2

There are a few tricks that can help, but you'll never get the same quality out of facebook as you would from a site that allows larger files without compressing them so aggressively.

Here's a link to a facebook help page that describes some of the issues. Expand the section titled "How can I make sure that my photos display in the highest possible quality?"

Size your photos to either 720, 960 (seems to work best), or 2048 on the long side. If you can compress them yourself to below 100KB then facebook will not compress them any further. At least when you do the compression you can have more control over how it is compressed.

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Would the clients get the highest possible version of the image, if I can upload them under 100 KB? I mean: Facebook is not going to compress them any further, because the screen you use is small? –  Martijn Courteaux Jun 5 at 11:55
    
They also talk about: "Make sure you click the High Resolution checkbox". But the Facebook plugin doesn't have that option? –  Martijn Courteaux Jun 5 at 11:57
    
It seems that the 100 KB limit is for cover photos. Does this also apply for regular photos? –  Martijn Courteaux Jun 5 at 12:00
    
I've tried all sorts of combinations, and I'm not really happy with any of those. I guess I'll leave my settings at 1920 long edge and 90% quality. These pictures show up great in fullscreen mode, but are really ugly in theatre mode. I guess, we'll have to wait for Facebook to make the next step in serving quality. –  Martijn Courteaux Jun 5 at 12:25
2  
@MartijnCourteaux "Would the clients get the highest possible version of the image, if I can upload them under 100 KB?" Why on earth would anyone consider delivering images to paying clients via facebook? –  Michael Clark Jun 5 at 23:41

My solution is that I don't use Facebook to host my media files. When I post files to Facebook, I post them as links to my server. I can't use the gallery function of Facebook, but it does allow for me to have greater control over the quality of work I display through Facebook.

Ultimately you get what you pay for, and Facebook is looking to use your content to make money for themselves at the lowest possible cost and you aren't paying them to provide it at the quality you want.

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Combining that with social media plugin could be nice. However, this doesn't allow the users to tag themselves and their friends anymore, right? –  Martijn Courteaux Jun 5 at 14:15
    
@MartijnCourteaux - I'm not sure. Personally, I give Facebook as little control over my data as possible despite being one of the very, VERY early members (like sub 10k users). I basically only post to it from my blog scripts, and that only for driving content. –  AJ Henderson Jun 5 at 14:36
1  
My current situation is that I shoot a lot of events, like parties, proms, birthday parties, music events, etc... So having the social possibilities of people looking at your photos and tagging their friends is quite important to me. Occasionally I do a shoot with one person. That is indeed material that can go on another site like your own server, or Flickr or something like that. –  Martijn Courteaux Jun 5 at 14:40

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