Fix Python – Encoding an image file with base64

I want to encode an image into a string using the base64 module. I’ve ran into a problem though. How do I specify the image I want to be encoded? I tried using the directory to the image, but that simply leads to the directory being encoded. I want the actual image file to be encoded.
EDIT
I tried this snippet:
with open(“C:\Python26\seriph1.BMP”….

Fix Python – Why do I need ‘b’ to encode a string with Base64?

Following this python example, I encode a string as Base64 with:
>>> import base64
>>> encoded = base64.b64encode(b’data to be encoded’)
>>> encoded
b’ZGF0YSB0byBiZSBlbmNvZGVk’

But, if I leave out the leading b:
>>> encoded = base64.b64encode(‘data to be encoded’)

I get the following error:
Traceback (most recent call last):
File ““, li….