The Digital Photo Guy

Resizing and Compressing Photos

by on Dec.06, 2010, under Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photos, Workshops

Sandhill Cranes at Cibola NWR
Wild Animal Park Workshop
Pin-Up Shoot – Sock Hop Theme

Resize and Compress Before Sending Photos

Each week, I receive lots of photos and I’m constantly amazed at the different sizes and shapes that are sent. Today’s MMT is a primer for resizing and compressing photos sent via e-mail. I’m using the dimensions and qualities I prefer but I believe these are  pretty universal.

Let’s start with the basics. A typical dSLR produces images about 12-18 megapixels in size. For example, a Canon 40D image is 3888 x 2592. Multiply the two numbers to get 10.07 million pixels (advertised as 10.1MP). If the photo was taken in Large, Fine JPEG, the file size is about 3.5 megabytes. This is obviously too large to send via e-mail, especially if you send 3-4 images.

The easiest way to resize and compress all photos to a similar size and compression is to use Windows Photo View in Windows 7, Vista or XP. Unless you’ve changed the file associations, double clicking on a jpeg file should launch Win Photo Viewer. (below, left)


Notice the E-mail command along the top left. Clicking this will launch the resize dialog (above center). For photos you simply want to share with me, select the smallest size, 640 x 480. For photos you want me to critique, select either Small (800 x 600) or Medium (1024 x 768). If I ask you to send me a large photo, use 1280 x 1024. Rarely, I’ll ask for the original. Next click Attach and your e-mail client (the software you use for e-mail) will launch (above right). In this example, the original file was 3MB while the resized & compressed file is only 195KB.

Notice how a generic Subject has been enterd. PLEASE change that. I receive lots of e-mails from spammers, scammers, hackers and dirtbags trying to get me to open a virus laden or other yucky e-mails. If it has a generic subject, it will be trashed.

Sandhill Cranes at Cibola NWR – Sat, Dec 11

This coming Saturday, Dec 11 at 6AM, I’ll be at Cibola NWR near Blythe, CA to photograph sandhill cranes. If you’d like to join me, send me an e-mail and I’ll send directions for where you can meet me. The temperature will be about 40F-45F. Once you photograph these magnificent birds, you’ll be hooked.

Wild Animal Park Workshop – Sat, Dec 18, 9AM

Learn to control and master your dSLR during a “hands-on” workshop at Wild Animal Park. In just 3 hours, learn tips and techniques that can be applied under any condition. Practice the techniques on the spot to make it easier to remember. This has always been our most popular field workshop. Includes 1 hour Photoshop Elements class at WAP. Click for more details.

Sock Hop Theme Pin-Up Shoot – Sun, Jan 16, 2011

On Sunday, January 16, 2011, I’ll be photographing 3 cute models for a Sock Hop Pin-Up shoot. There’s no formal instruction but you’ll have the opportunity to work with me and a few other experienced photographers. There are 3 spots left. If you’d like to join me, send me an e-mail. There will be a $25 fee plus an $8 entrance fee for the venue. The $25 goes to the models for their time, makeup and accessories.

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4 Comments for this entry

  • Marie

    I know I’m one of the guilty ones. I sometimes forget to re-size. I tend to PS/PSE to resize photos. I can use a refresher primer on the best practice.

  • Dick

    What an appropriate subject given taht I’ve just “un-retired” and taken work as a photo/journalist for an online magazine. I’m forced to shoot 500-800 photos a week in high jpeg. resizing is the only way they can be sent.

    • Lee

      Hi Dick,
      You were too young to retire in the first place! Sounds like fun. You’ll want to read my next MMT where I cover resizing/compressing with PS/PSE for better quality.

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