I'm bringing a question into this thread that didn't get a whole lot of traction over in the Usability forum.

I'm in the process of taking the site in my sig from a static 800x600 design (762 wide, actually) to a CSS-based design that will have a left fixed margin, a right fixed margin, and a variable-width center column.

My problem: The site borrows the basic theme of its layout from MSN's home page. (You know - the pic at the top of the center column that's clickable, and leads to whatever the main story is at the time?)

My site is about musicians - and sometimes, that photo will be of a performer live in concert (complete with diffuse light effects on stage), sometimes the backgrounds will have gradient fills, outer glow effects etc.

How do I make those pics work in a "flexible" layout?

Would appreciate opinions. If you need clarification, ask away! If you go to the site now, don't let the pic that's up there today fool you - a shot with a white background is a rare event.

It's kind of important to me that if possible, whatever the photo is takes up the entire width of the top column; but I haven't got a clue how to do that when I leave the screen size up to the user.