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YapStar Frequently Asked Questions


Upload Basics

1.  Is there a limit on the number of photos I can upload?

2.  What types of images can I upload?

3.  Are there limits on file sizes for uploads?

4.  I'm not crazy about my pet's photo. Can I change it?

5.  How do I share my pet's photos?

Taking The Photograph

1.  Selecting Photographs

2.  Lighting is Important

3.  Positioning your Pet

4.  Taking The Shot

5.  A tip for photographing black pets

Scan Your Photos

1.  About Scanning

2.  Scanning Steps

Basic Photo Editing

1.  Photo Editing Programs

2.  Basic Photo Editing Step-By-Step

3.  Save as a Copy

4.  Cropping An Image

5.  Resize Photo

6.  Adjust Brightness and Contrast

7.  Sharpen an Image

8.  Saving your image file to upload to



  1.  General Questions

  2.  Pet Contest

  3.  Pet Profile

  4.  Pet Photos

  5.  Local Pet Services

  6.  Cool Pet Products

  7.  Ratings & Reviews

  8.  Pet Videos

  9.  Invite Friends

10.  Email Notifications

11.  Private Messaging

12.  PetTalk

13.  YapStar Plus

14.  Ecards

15.  Address Book

16.  Contact YapStar



Pet Photo Upload Basics

  • Is there a limit on the number of photos I can upload?
Yes, for a free member you can only upload 1 photo for your pet's profile page (you can edit this photo at any time). However, if you upgrade to a YapStar Plus Membership for $19.95 a year (this helps us keep the site running), you can upload 50 Pet Photos and along with this have the ability to send E-Cards personalized with your pet's photo for every occassion.
The cool thing about this is that your friends and all users on YapStar can see your pet in all their glory (you can write captions too!). We think having more photos, helps you get more votes to win the YapStar Pet Photo Contest. You can also take a free trial of YapStar E-Cards by clicking here.
  • What types of images can I upload?
YapStar can understand only one digital photo "language": the JPEG format (often shortened to "jpg"). If your photos are stored in a different format (such as GIF, BMP, or TIFF), you will need to "translate" them into the JPEG format. Use the photo editing software that came with your camera or scanner to save your photo in the JPEG format.
  • Are there limits on file sizes for uploads?
Yes, you can upload files up to 1MB in size. As you upload photos, they're compressed and resized by YapStar (if necessary) in the following sizes:
  • 200 pixels (on the widest side) - this is for your pet profile pages.
  • 60 x 60 pixels - this is for the thumbnail photo of your pet that is seen throughout the site.
To find out how to reduce the size of your photo, visit YapStar Pet Photo Guide by clicking here.
  • I'm not crazy about my pet's photo. Can I change it?
Yes, you can change your pet's photos at any time. Once you've uploaded a photo, simply go to your pet's private profile pages, by clicking on "About Me" (you must be logged in to do this). Then click on the tab, "My Media" and you will be taken to your pet's photo page. Above each of your pet's photos, click on "Change Pet Photo" and follow the directions online.
  • How do I share my pet's photos?
Anyone who visits YapStar can see your pet's photos by visting your public profile pages (viewed by clicking on "View Pets" and then searching for your pet's name). You also have some other cool ways to share your pet's photos and promote your pet to win the YapStar Pet Photo Contest:
On your private profile pages (Click "About Me" when logged in), you will see a link that says, "Promote Your Pet". On these pages you can do the following:
  • Tell Your Friends to vote for your Pet by either sending them your pet's public profile url address (shown on this page) or you can ask us to send out a Voting E-Card. This Voting E-Card tells your friends everything they need to know to view your pet's photos and to vote for your pet to win the YapStar Pet Photo Contest.
  • If you use MySpace, you can quickly send a bulletin to all your friends to ask them to vote for your pet to win the YapStar Pet Photo Contest and win a trip to one of our host cities and a Pet Protrait.
  • Instant Message your friends and send them your pet's public profile page url.
  • We think this is particularly cool. We provide 3 different types of YapStar Voting Links. One even has your pet's photo on it. It's simple to use, just copy the link to your web page, blog, newsletter, email footer or anywhere online that you can post content! All your friends have to do is click on the link, vote and you are that much closer to winning a Pet Portrait and a weekend in one of our host cities.


Taking The Photograph

  • Selecting Photographs
All photos should be closeups of your pet preferably looking straight into the camera with the eyes visible. Try for portraits that show your pet's facial expression. Remember that shots taken from the pet's eye level usually work better than ones taken from standing position. Here are some tips on how you can photograph your pet to achieve the best results.
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  • Lighting Is Important
Try to take the picture in a well lit area, such as the outdoors, especially on a bright overcast day, or in a sunlit room. Keep the sun behind your back!
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  • Positioning Your Pet
Favorite toys, treats and family members can help hold a pet's attention and create a focal point in the photograph. A familiar word, a squeak from a toy or the scent of a treat will provoke that charming cock of the head, an alert, eager look and a happy reaction.
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  • Taking The Shot
Shoot at your pet's level. Sit or lie on the floor or elevate an animal to your level. Imagine a cute shot of your pet taken with the camera almost touching the tip of his nose.
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  • A tip for photographing black pets
Try to place your pet in a contrasting area like a white wall or in the grass outside.
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Scan Your Photos

  • About Scanning
One way to create a digital image to upload to is to scan your photo. If you don't have a scanner, many copy shops will scan the photo for you and put it on a computer disk. If you are scanning the photo yourself, below are basic tips to get the best digital image possible.
The scanner is very much like a copy machine, and like a copy machine, a scanner allows you to copy your photos. But instead of creating another piece of paper like a copy machine does, you will instead create a digital image, which can then be stored in your computer and uploaded to to create your pet's profile page.
Your scanner comes with basic software, all of which have similar processes as listed below:
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  • Scanning Steps
  • Place you photo face down on the flatbed scanner or follow directions for your particular type of scanner.
  • Start your scanning software.
  • Choose color picture as picture type.
  • Your software will give you the choice of what dpi (dots per inch) to save your file as. For choose 300dpi.
  • Click preview. If the photo looks good to you, click on next or save.
  • Your software will ask you to do the following:
    Name of file: type in any name you wish for your original.
    File Format: Save as a .tif file as this saves the most detail of your photo.
    Choose a place to store the file: Choose a file folder where you will be able to easily find the file later.
    Choose an easily identifable name for your file.
  • Click next or save and you are done. Go To Photo Editing below to find out what to do next.


Basic Photo Editing

  • Photo Editing Programs
There are many different photo editing programs available. Most cameras and scanners come with software that helps improve your digital photos. The programs range from very basic and easy-to-use to extremely powerful and expensive programs.
Some examples include:
  • PhotoDeluxe
  • PhotoShop Elements
  • Photoshop
  • Paint Shop Pro
  • MGI PhotoSuite
  • PhotoStudio
  • Picture It!
  • Basic Photo Editing Step-By-Step
There are many ways to edit an image. No matter which photo editing software you have, all have several basic editing tools in common. You need to only grasp a few techniques to improve most photos. You'll be amazed how applying just a few editing techniques can improve images.
It's always best when editing a photo to make a copy from your original before you begin. At any step along the process, if you do not like a change you made to an image, click the "undo" command in your software. Below is step by step information about editing a photo with more detailed information following.
  • Open your photo via the image editing software open menu.
  • Save your photo as a copy.
  • Crop or trim the photo if necessary.
  • Resize photo
  • Enhance an image. The most commonly used adjustments are:
    Adjust brightness & contrast
    Sharpen an image that looks fuzzy
    Note: Some programs have an "Instant Fix" or "Automatic" adjustment feature which is often sufficient to get the image looking as good as possible. It adjusts brightness, contrast and sharpness at the click of a single button.
  • Save the photo image
  • Save as a Copy
Save the image as a .tif file or as a photoshop file .psd rather than a .jpeg file as you will keep all of the original detail of the file while you are editing it. Name the photo by your pet's name and your last name for (e.g. casey_martin). This preserves the original by eliminating the possibility of overwriting it.
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  • Cropping An Image
When you took the photo of your pet, you thought you got a good closeup shot. But now that you see it on your computer, you realize that you didn't zoom in far enough. Use your image editor's cropping tool to cut away the unwanted part of the photo.
    Resize Pet Photo
  • Exactly how you execute the process varies from program to program. In most image editors, the cropping tool resides in the tool palette and looks like the red outlined image to your right. Select this icon by clicking on it.
  • Position the tool in the top area of your image where you want the crop to begin and drag a rectangle surrounding the area you want to crop.
  • When you release the mouse button, you'll see a dashed line marquee with selection "handles" on the corners and the middle of each side. You can hold your cursor over these handles and drag them to adjust the size of your selection. When the marquee is where you want it, double click inside the marquee and the image will be cropped.
  • Select Undo from the Edit menu or click on the Undo icon if you are not satisfied with your selection.
  • Click on "Save File" to save all changes made.
  • Resize Photo
Okay, so you've selected you photo, it's open in your software program and you've cropped it so that your pet is foremost in the photo. Now, let's resize your photo. The most important issue is that the file is under 1MB (megabyte) in size as this is YapStar's maximum photo upload size.
If you have taken a photo on your digital camera at the highest size setting or scanned your photo at 300dpi, your photo size will likely be larger than YapStar's acceptable limit of 1MB.
  • In your photo editing software, from the menu bar select Image, then click on Image Size. This will bring up a box with your current dimensions in it. Changing image size is a pretty basic feature of all image-editing software so it should be fairly easy to find. If not, refer to the help file for your specific software.
  • Now you should see "Pixel Dimensions" with a "width" and a "height" section which you can change (see below). The most important thing to remember here is to always check "Constrain Proportions" or "Maintain aspect ratio". This means that if you change the width the height will change in direct proportion.
    Resize Pet Photo
  • For, you should set your resolution to to 72 dpi and change either the width or height pixels for the dimensions (notice how the other dimension will change as well since you have checked "Constrain Proportions"). As you decrease the pixels, you will see that the Pixel Dimensions also decreases (this is the file size). Just make sure the File Size is under 1MB or 999K.
  • Click on "File" and then "Save" to save all changes made.

  • Adjust Brightness and Contrast
You can often improve digital images by adjusting the brightness and contrast settings in an photo editing program.
Brightness controls the amount of lightness or darkness in an image. (In many photo editing program, the brightness control is represented by a sun icon.)
Contrast controls the difference between light and dark in the image. Adjusting contrast can very often give the photo a much sharper and vibrant appearance. (In many photo editing programs, the contrast control is represented by a half black, half white icon.)
Adjust Brightness and Contrast Steps
  • Find the settings for brightness and contrast. These are generally found together in a menu. The name of the menu is different in different software. It may be called Image/Adjustments, Image/Settings, Image/Enhance, or something similar
  • Adjust the image by changing the numbers or dragging the slider up or down. When the image looks good, click the OK button. Most photos are improved with only minimal adjustments. A common mistake is over adjusting an image.
  • Click on "File" and then "Save" to save all changes made.
  • Sharpen an Image
Sharpen filters bring out detail in blurry images by increasing the contrast of pixels next to one another. Programs such as Photoshop offer several levels of sharpening: Sharpen, Sharpen More, Sharpen Edges and Unsharp Mask (USM). Unsharp Mask gives you the most control over the degree of sharpening.
Don't over sharpen an image as it can look worse than the unsharpened original!
Steps to Sharpen and Image
  • Go to Filter menu and then choose Sharpen, Sharpen More or Sharpen Edges. The image will be sharpened according to the default settings of the program.
  • Unsharp mask does not have default settings. The changes you make are up to you. Make sure Preview is checked so you can watch the changes take place as you adjust the sliders.
  • Click OK when you are satisfied with the results.
  • Click on "File" and then "Save" to save all changes made.
  • Saving your image file to upload to
When saving photos, its a good idea to name them with your pet's first name and your last name: e.g. casey_martin (notice no spaces, use the underscore instead of a space).
  • Click on "File" and then "Save As".
  • A screen will come up asking for your file name and file format. You will also be able to choose the quality at which it is saved at. Name the file. For, name your file with your pet's first name and your last name: e.g. casey_martin (notice no spaces, use the underscore instead of a space).
  • In the format box there is a drop down list which shows you many different file format types. Choose JPEG format.
  • Under Quality option, choose 75%-100% or 7-10. As you change this option, you will see the file size and seconds to upload change. Make sure that the file size is under 1MB or 999K.
  • Click on OK.