Reducing Photo File Size: A Comprehensive Guide

March 28, 2024
Featured image for “Reducing Photo File Size: A Comprehensive Guide”

How do you make your photos take up less space? You’re in the right place. Whether for online uploading, sharing with friends, or making your social media posts quicker to load, understanding how to compress or resize your photos without sacrificing quality is key.

Here, you’ll discover methods to shrink your photo sizes across various devices—Windows, Mac, or smartphones.

Sometimes, reducing a photo’s file size means lowering its quality, but there are techniques to resize images that maintain their clarity.

Why and When to Compress Photos

The size of your photo files affects how quickly they load and appear on websites and social media. Smaller images load faster but might lose some detail in the process.

Resizing and compressing are the two primary ways to decrease a photo’s file size. Resizing changes the image’s dimensions, while compression reduces the file size by lowering the quality, keeping the original dimensions intact.

However, compressing or resizing isn’t always the best choice. Let’s explore scenarios where making your photos smaller could be beneficial:

For Web Uploads

Photos are a significant part of a website’s content and can affect how quickly the site loads. 

Depending on the purpose of the photo (like a high-res portfolio image versus a standard blog post image), you’ll need different resolutions to balance quality and load speed.

For Social Media Posts

Like websites, social media platforms have optimal photo sizes and often compress images to speed up loading times. 

Uploading photos that meet these recommended dimensions ensures they look their best.

For Sharing Online

You might hit file size limits when sharing photos through messaging apps or email. 

Compressing your photos lets you share more in each message or email, speeding up the process.

To Save Storage Space

Digital storage fills up quickly, especially for photographers with large raw files. 

Compressing photos helps manage your storage more efficiently, turning those bulky raw files into more manageable sizes.

Across different devices and operating systems, there are various ways to effectively reduce the size of your photos. Whether you’re dealing with raw files or high-res JPEGs, understanding how to compress and resize can make a significant difference in managing your digital files.

How to Reduce Photo File Sizes on a Mac

Mac users, rejoice! The Preview app already equips your computer with all the tools you need to tweak image dimensions and resolution. Here’s a quick guide on making your hefty photos more web-friendly or shareable.

Reducing Image Dimensions Using Preview

  1. Open your image: Find the photo you want to downsize and open it in Preview.
  2. Access the editing tools: Look for the markup toolbar or size adjustment icon and click it.
  3. Adjust the size: You can manually change the pixel values for width and height, pick a pre-set size from the “Fit Into” dropdown, or enter a specific percentage to scale the image size down.
  4. Maintain proportions: Tick the “Scale Proportionally” option to keep your photo’s original aspect ratio. Uncheck “Resample Image” if you want to keep your photo’s intricate details.
  5. Save your resized image: Just hit Save, and you’re done!

To resize multiple images at once, open them in the same Preview window, then navigate to Tools > Adjust size.

Reducing Image Resolution on a Mac

If it’s the resolution and file size you’re after reducing, follow these steps:

  1. Start with opening your photo in the Preview app.
  2. Head to Tools > Adjust size and tick “Resample Image.”
  3. Set a new resolution: Pick a lower value, and you’ll see the adjusted size displayed.
  4. Save: Store your newly lightened image wherever you prefer.

Applications like Photoshop and Lightroom are the best bets for those needing more sophisticated controls. They offer advanced compression and resizing capabilities alongside many image format options, ensuring a perfect balance of size and quality.

How to Reduce Photo File Sizes on Windows

Do you have a photo that is too large to email or post online? Windows users have a variety of tools to make those bulky digital photos more manageable. Let’s explore how you can use the native Photos app on Windows to compress your images quickly.

Using the Photos App to Compress Photos

  1. Open your photo: Double-click the image file, and it should open in the Photos app.
  2. Find the resize option: Look for the three dots (more options) on the top right, click on it, and select “Resize Image.”
  3. Adjust size: You can manually adjust the pixel dimensions of your photo to reduce its size, which shrinks the photo. As you make these adjustments, the new, smaller file size will be displayed, allowing you to see the effect of your changes in real time.
  4. Quality and format: To make the file even smaller, tweak the Quality slider. Then, decide on your preferred file format; JPEG, PNG, TIF, and BMP are all available options.
  5. Save your work: Hit Save, pick where you want to store the resized photo, and you’re all set.

If your image is a raw file, resizing and converting it to formats like JPEG, PNG, or TIF can significantly reduce size.

Other Windows Tools

If you’re on an older Windows version lacking the Photos app, don’t worry—Microsoft Paint has your back for basic resizing tasks. 

Professional software like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom offers extensive editing features, including powerful compression capabilities for those who need more advanced control over their images.

These tools ensure your photos are shareable and retain as much quality as possible.

How to Reduce Photo File Size Online

If you’re looking to compress images for online use, there’s a slew of websites ready to help. Services like TinyPNG and Img2Go are among the favorites, making image compression a breeze without the need for installed software.

Compressing Images with TinyPNG

  1. Head to TinyPNG: Open your browser and go to
  2. Upload your photos: Drag and drop the images you want to compress into the designated area on the site that prompts you to “Drop your images here.”
  3. Automatic compression: TinyPNG does its magic by automatically reducing file size. Once done, you’ll see how much the size has been reduced, the new file size, and options to download your compressed image, save it to Dropbox, or even share it on X (formerly Twitter).

TinyPNG lets you upload up to 20 images simultaneously, each up to 5 MB.

Other Online Compression Tools

Many other sites offer a similar, user-friendly experience for compressing images. Tools like Img2Go not only compress pictures but also allow you to adjust their quality and dimensions. 

Remember that some features might be locked behind a paywall, depending on your chosen platform

Online compression tools are a convenient way to reduce image file sizes quickly, whether for sharing on social media, emailing, or optimizing your website’s loading times.

How to Reduce Photo File Size on Android 

If you’re looking to compress images for online use, a slew of websites are ready to help. Services like TinyPNG and Img2Go are favorites, making image compression a breeze without installing software.

Using Photo & Picture Resizer

  1. Launch the App: Start by opening the Photo & Picture Resizer app on your Android device.
  2. Select Your Photos: Tap the ‘Select Photos’ button to pick the images you want to compress.
  3. Initiate Resizing: Hit the ‘Resize’ button at the screen’s bottom center.
  4. Choose Your Resize Option: The app allows you to resize your image based on percentage, dimensions, file size, resolution, or even specific dimensions tailored for various social media platforms. Each option supports custom values so that you can specify your desired size.
  5. Save Your Resized Photo: Once you’ve selected your desired option, the app automatically resizes and saves the photo in a designated folder. You can access this folder directly through the app link provided.

As mentioned in the previous section on reducing photo file sizes online, online services are always available for those who prefer to avoid installing an app for this task. These platforms provide an equally convenient way to compress images without app downloads.

How to Reduce Photo File Size on iPhone

On iPhones, you have a couple of options for downsizing your photos. While the Photos app that comes with your iPhone lets you crop images (which indirectly reduces their file size), it doesn’t offer a straightforward way to resize photos without altering their original dimensions. 

For more precise control over resizing, use a third-party app like Image Size.

Using Image Size App

  1. Getting Started: First, download and open the Image Size app on your iPhone.
  2. Select Your Photo: Tap the image stack icon at the top left corner to choose the photo you want to resize from your library.
  3. Photo Access Permission: The app might ask permission to access your photos. Grant it the necessary permissions to proceed.
  4. Adjusting Dimensions: Enter your desired dimensions in the width and height fields provided. The app will show the difference between the current and the new size of the photo.
  5. Save Your Photo: If you’re happy with the adjusted size, tap the download button at the bottom left corner (marked with a down arrow) to save the resized image.

This method offers a simple way to adjust the dimensions of your photos on an iPhone without compromising on the aspect ratio or cutting out parts of the image, as cropping might do.

Take Control of Your Digital Footprint and Master Photo Compression!

Understanding how to decrease photo file size is crucial for smooth online sharing and managing storage across various platforms and devices. Compressing images without losing quality is key to ensuring your audience enjoys the best viewing experience, whether on a website or social media. 

This skill boosts website speed and speeds up email sending. Effective photo compression, which includes resizing and resolution adjustments, is a must-have in today’s digital photography. It allows photographers to optimize their workflow and make their images stand out.


About the Author