When Photos are TOO Big

Unless you’re shooting pictures professionally, your digital camera’s photos are most likely stored in jpg format and are probably over  2MB in size.  (Don’t worry about that number.  All  you have to know is, GB is enormous, MB is still very large, and KB is manageable).

How Large Photos Affect What You’re Doing

If you use your photo, as is, from your camera, you may experience the following:

  1. The photo  will clog up your storage for emails or may contribute to filling up your friend’s inbox.  It seems, though, that email providers are giving us more room for our bloated correspondence (I’m guilty, too.  My inbox is too full!)
  2. When you use that photo in a newsletter and send it to your printer, it groans under the weight of all that digital information and you impatiently wonder why it takes so long to get your letters printed.
  3. Over a long period of time blogging happily with multiple photos per post, you could conceivably use up your media storage for your blog.  If you want plenty of room for photos and videos, compressed photos will take up less room and, even more importantly, will load more quickly for your readers on dial-up.

Compress Your Photos

So, you’ll want to compress your photos (save a renamed copy of this compressed file or you’ll replace your original with a smaller version!)
  • I use Windows Explorer to find the photo.  
  • Right click on the image and choose “open with”  Microsoft Office Picture Manager and then follow these steps.  (The smallest compression is “for email messages.”  I never use it since it’s so small.)
  • I have a separate photos folder to place my compressed images.  This forces me to remember to SAVE AS a new image so I don’t tromp on top of the original.

If you have problems with compression your photos may look boxy.  This orchid photo shows successive compressions from left to right.  So, too much compression could result in the pixely look on the right side; however, jpg files are designed to handle compression pretty well if you don’t do too much.

What do you you use for photo compression (especially since my answer is only for Microsoft Office users?) Do you pay attention to the size of images you intend to use on the internet before you download or upload them?

And a Bonus Word about Wallpaper

If you’re searching for striking wallpaper for your computer’s desktop, you’ll want a large image (most of the time you don’t need a photo to be so large except to maintain the quality of your original photographs. Don’t replace an original with a compressed file.  Can you tell I’ve done that accidentally?)
The above photo of the anemone was taken by my son, Ben, at Sea World.  I cleaned up reflections on the glass with free photoshopping software and made a nice 65 KB size copy. Right-click on the above anemone and then right-click here.  You’ll see my anemone photo is a nice size for blog posts (and eMails and prayer letters) while the second photo with the clown fish is large enough to use for wallpaper.  My small anemone image would look boxy when expanded to fill your monitor screen.
Related Posts (worth the read):
For more advanced information: Lossy and lossless compression

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