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 6 MB in size. Even photos on your phone are probably 2 MB. (Don’t worry about that number. All  you have to know is, GB is enormous, MB is still very large, and KB is manageable).

Are Your Photos TOO Big?

How Large Photos Affect What You’re Doing

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

  1. 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 in your media library.
  2. Even more importantly for bloggers, your posts will load more quickly for your readers on dial-up. You don’t want people to leave your blog because they are impatient for it to open all your images. Many visitors do not stick around for long.
  3. Your full-size photos used to clog up storage for emails or contributed to filling up an inbox. Now, email providers are giving us more room for our bloated correspondence, but it’s still a good idea to send smaller versions of your photo or use the cloud to share images.
  4. The media library for your blog or for MailChimp have storage limitations and could “fill up.”
  5. When you use that humongous 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.

Compress Your Photos

If you haven’t been compressing photos, this is a new habit you must develop. I use Paint.net for compressing (and photo editing); check out these other recommendations from Mashable and find the compressing tool that works for you.

I have a separate photos folder to place my compressed images. This forces me to remember to SAVE AS a new compressed image so I don’t accidentally tromp on top of the original. Keep your original photos and their sizes separate from compressed photos. Maintain the quality of your original photographs.

I also recommend naming the copies a certain way so you know which images are which. I name mine by adding the pixel width in the name. So, the original anemone.jpg  becomes anemone 450.jpg (below).

If you have problems with compression your photos may look boxy. This orchid photo shows successive compressions from left to right. Too many repeated compressions 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. Better yet, if you need various sizes, go back to the original for a new compression size. Avoid compressing a compressed image.

And a Bonus Word about Wallpaper

If you’re searching for striking wallpaper for a large screen, you’ll want a huge image.

The above photo of the anemone was taken by my son, Ben, at Sea World. I cleaned up most reflections on the glass with free photoshopping software, Paint.net, and made a nice 65 KB size copy. Right-click on the above anemone and then right-click here for a comparison. 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. Obviously, 65 KB anemone image would look boxy when expanded to fill your monitor screen.

And remember, don’t replace an original with a compressed file. (Can you tell I’ve done that accidentally?)

What do you you use for photo compression? Do you pay attention to the size of images you intend to use on the Internet before you download or upload them?

Pick a free compressing software tool and start using it regularly.

Related Posts (worth the read):

If you want to learn more, read about lossy and lossless compression on Wikipedia.

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