Saving pictures for web or email viewing with PhotoShop.

Red blouse
Picture of Amy

Have you ever received a picture from a friend via email and the file size is huge? Or perhaps you want to send a picture but your email application tells you that the file is too large? With digital camera’s, both DSLR’s and P&S’s having 10MP’s or more, the size of pictures have become extremely large, not only in dimensions but also in overall file size.

A friend of mine sent over two pictures he took of a recent trip, but each picture was over 4 megabytes! With most email sites like Gmail allowing a maximum email size of 10 megabytes, pictures at 4 mb’s would only allow 2 pictures to be emailed! Most people simply download their images from the camera then then share them via email or upload to a website. This can be done, but if all you want to do is share and view the images online, its best to reduce the size of the image (not the dimensions) via PhotoShop.

The image of Amy on the left was opened with PS CS3, after cropping and some minor changes, I used the option of File>Save for Web & Devices.. to save the image in a smaller file size without changing the dimensions. A pop up window will allow me to save it at different compression %’s. In this case I used an 80% setting and reduced the image to a file size of 255 KB’s, (without changing the dimensions). There is a tab in the pop up window allowing me to compare the original to the new one, I always choose this to check if there is any significant loss of quality to the image. Since this particular file will not be used to print, I’m only concerned how it looks on a computer monitor.

Low resolution sample

However, be careful not to decrease the file too much, the quality of your image will decline significantly and will be visibly noticeable. A good example can be seen with the second image of Amy, but this time I used a 30% setting, reducing the file size to 65KB’s. Click on the image and compare with the first image. The dimensions are the same, but the quality/detail has deteriorated significantly. So always choose your settings carefully before saving.

The thumbnail samples on this page may look fine, but once you open them, you will see the difference. By reducing the file size of the images, you can now easily add more pictures to your emails when sharing with friends or posting them on your blog/website!

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