Create a Photo Album

Creating an Album

The new web site will support the upload of photos into an album.  It will also support the creation of an album on the site that actually links to your album on the web such as those created through Picasa.

We will start with your creating an album and uploading photos to the Catalina380 site.

You will find that one of the most important considerations to uploading photos is the size of those photos.  Modern digital cameras create photo files that can range from 2-10MB which take a long time to upload and if allowed to be displayed on the site, would take a long time to be pulled to one viewing your photos.  In this guide, you will see how to upload large files and have them automatically resized as well as resizing them prior to the upload, something that will make the process much faster and easier for you the photographer.  Though there is one extra step to resize first, it is much faster and much less prone to problems.

This is a summary of the process:

  1. Access the photo album administration screen
  2. Create an album for your boat. (You should only do this once and thereafter just create sub-albums for your photos.)
  3. Create one or more sub-albums for your boat.
  4. If you are resizing the photos, you do it at this point.  Otherwise, you skip this step.
  5. Upload photos into the sub-album
  6. Check your results

Here is the process in detail:

From the toolbar at the top, click on Photo Albums to display the sub-menu and from this select “Photo Albums” to create your album.

When you first come into the screen, you will not see any albums since everyone owns their own and can’t touch those of others.  Once you create them, you will see a list of just your albums and sub-albums.  To create your album, click the “Create New Empty Album” button.

Just like any stupid computer program, it will ask you if you are sure you want to do what you said you wanted to do.  Duhhh…Say Yes.  You will then see the master album maintenance screen.

The first album you create will be your parent album and I suggest you give it the name of your boat. All you really need is a name but it is nicer if you also include a description, perhaps the name of the boat, hull number, home port, owner, and anything else you would like people to see when they view the “cover” of your album.

There is a trick to this that will make your description look nicer.  The description is interpreted as HTML rather than text as you would see it in MS Word.  Therefore, the only way to indicate line breaks is with the HTML tag “<br>”.  Therefore, your description should look something like this:

Next, you will create sub-albums where you set your “parent” album to point to your master album.  To do this, you again click on the Photo Albums menu item to get the list of your albums, then click Create New Album as you did before, but this time you set the parent album to the first album name you created.   There is no save button.  The system will save automatically it as you go along.

You will later come back to this screen to provide titles and optional descriptions of your photos.

If you are going to resize your photos prior to uploading them to the site, this is a good time to do this.  This is described this later in this guide.

The next step is to upload photos into your album.  You get to this screen by clicking on “Upload Photos” from the menu on the left side of the screen. The most important part of this form is to select the correct album, i.e. your parent album or one of your sub-albums.  You should first upload one photo to the master album to be its cover photo.  Then you will upload photos to sub-albums.

Unlike the Yahoo site, you will need to browse to and then select each photo one at a time to add to your list prior to upload.  You may see a message telling you that if we only upgrade our version of PHP, we could upload a single zip file but though I have requested this from our hosting site, they are not ready to do it as yet.

Important:  If you want to upload large photos, you should only select 3 or 4 at a time (no more than 10MB).  If you exceed this limit, the process will not be successful and you may not even get an error message saying there was a problem.  The screen may simply hang.  Resize first and you can upload many photos at a time. 

There is a warning on the page:

“Notice: your server allows you to upload unknown files of maximum total 10M bytes and allows 60 seconds to complete. If your request exceeds these limitations, it will fail, probably without an error message. Additionally your hosting provider may have set other limitations on uploading files.”

Bottom line is that when you upload large photos, you can only do a couple at a time or the system will time-out!  Reducing the size prior to uploading makes this restriction go away.

Thus, the upload of large files may take some time.  Be patient. You will be able to see on the browser’s header that the process is running.  When finished, the system will come back and tell you that some number of photos have been uploaded.

Once you upload your photos, you should go back to the “Photo Albums” maintenance screen and now you will see each of the pictures uploaded.  From here, you can change the title, description, rotate, etc. to make things look the way you want them to.

Resizing photos prior to upload

You can make the process much faster by resizing the photos prior to uploading them.  By doing this, you can upload many more at a time rather than having to wait for large files to upload two or three at a time.   It is so simple, it doesn’t make much sense not to do it.

The key to this is another freeware program called VSO Image Resizer.  You can download it from the following website:

It is free as long as you don’t mind them asking you to purchase it prior to using it each time.  If you want the annoyance to go away, you pay them.  Otherwise, the program is fully functional in its free format.

Once installed, this is how you resize photos:

  1. You go to the directory where the photos exist on your computer and highlight them.  Holding the Ctrl key down while clicking on each one will add them to a single selection.
  2. Do a right-mouse-click and show the sub-menu and you will now see an option that lets you send the files to VSO Image Resizer.  This is shown in the picture below.
  3. When you select “VSO Image Resizer”, the files selected will be reduced in size and you are good to go to upload them in one load rather than breaking them down.  As an example, it took 5 seconds to upload 13 photos rather than 30 seconds to upload 2 large photos.
  4. From here, you go back into the directions above and select the resized pictures and do the upload as described.

Once you have selected the files, you will see the VSO Image Resizer in action.  Just click Next until it’s done.

Note that you can configure the VSO Image Resizer to function in the way you want it to.  For me, I simply have it resize the photos to “email” size and put them back into the original directory where they all now have “Copy” added to their names.  You may also want them to go into a separate directory, and you can configure that as well.



This is what the Photo Albums page ultimately looks like.  Selecting an album will then show you a list of sub-albums and allow you to either see thumbnail pictures or larger photos in a slide show.

Then the slide show itself:

So, that’s about it.  Let me know if you have issues.