There’s a chance I could turn this into a mini-series of posts about Cricinfo and our daily routines and so forth but, to be honest, chances are I won’t have the time. But for now I’ll just talk about photos.
Before I joined Cricinfo, I religiously checked the photo index nearly as often as the main index of the site – but I assumed there was some technical wizardry making these photos appear. Nooo, not at all! It’s Editorial who do them, and although it can become quite tiresome uploading dozens of samey photos a day, it’s something I love doing being the budding photographer.
We have an account with Getty Images who own the rights of some of the best photographers around the world. The absolute top-notch snappers, such as Patrick Eager, don’t “need” Getty to distribute their work as their name sells it for them. But Getty have dozens of incredibly talented photographers, and it’s always interesting following their work and seeing the shots they produce.
So we shout to eachother in the office, “I’m taking that one of Murali blind-slapping a four on his knees” and download it (and usually half-a-dozen others). Then it’s put into Photoshop where we do very minimal sharpening, occasional changes to the levels and cropping them to 350 width (or 500 for landscapes). The cropping is an art in itself, actually; because of our 350 restraints, we have to ensure that the key figure in the image is the focus of the photo, and that the surrounding rubbish (other fielders, advertising
whoredings hoardings and so on) are left out.
Equally, there’s a tendancy to crop too tightly which then makes the cricketer appear far too big for the page. Photos should tell a story, after all, which is why I like ones like these.
After cropping, we upload it to the site and describe it in the “house style” (caption, match, location, date) and add relative links (match, tour, players names) and press submit. After five minutes or so, it magically appears on the site and is available in various sizes for anyone writing an article or news piece.
So now you know. Next time you see a photo on Cricinfo, remember that me or someone else in London or Mumbai has diligently downloaded it, cropped it, and packaged it up for your viewing pleasure. Yes, we write about cricket, but our responsibility is to the site to ensure it’s as good as it can possibly be. And I think our photos really enhance our reputation as the best cricket site around.
On that note, what is your favourite or least favourite section/aspect of Cricinfo?