The Digital Photo Guy

Resize & Compress Photos – Part 3

by on Dec.23, 2010, under Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photoshop CS2/4, Photoshop Elements, Workshops

Wild Animal Park Workshop
Pin-Up Shoot – Sock Hop Theme
Flash Photography in a Flash
Palomar College – Spring 2011
Spring Desert Wildflowers, late March 2011

Resize & Save As Command in Photoshop Elements

The most precise and accurate way to Resize and Compress a photo in Photoshop Elements (PSE) are the Resize and Save As Commands. These are designed specifically for this task and allow you a high degree of control over the finished product. Unfortunately, there are several minor issues that make it less than intuitive.

This image shows the only important controls when resizing a photo for e-mail use. The upper red box has “Pixel Dimensions: 51.3M”. This is easily misread as 51.3 megapixels when it really means 51.3 megabytes. It’s calculated by multiplying the width (5184 pixels) by the height (3456 pixels) and multiplying the result (17.9 megapixels) by 3 (bytes per pixel) to get 53.7 MB. The extra 2MB difference is made up of pixels along the edges that aren’t fully processed as well as extra pixels used for other, non-image functions.

The red box along the bottom sets the resampling algorithm. There are many algorithms (formulas) for resampling an image. Resampling is the process for deciding which pixels are tossed when making photos smaller or which pixels are made up when making it larger.Resample Images must be checked and a resampling algorithm selected in order to change the pixel dimensions. Stick with the last three Bicubic options.

Now the $64,000 question: What size should you use? As in so much of PSE, the answer is, “It all depends!” Let’s assume you intend to e-mail photos to Aunt Ruthie, Cousin Ralph and your photography instructor. Aunt Ruthie is still running Windows 98 on a VGA monitor, connected via dialup. In her case, you want a photo that’s smaller than 640 pixels along the long edge because that’s all her monitor will display without scrolling. When you set the long dimension to 640, the short edge will automatically change to the correct aspect ratio because Constrain Proportions is checked. For Cousin Ralph, who has a big honkin’ monitor, you can use 1024×768 or larger. As of January 2010, 76% of monitors in use had higher resolution than 1024×768. For your photography instructor, stick with whatever he/she requests.

The second half of this process occurs when you click Save As and select JPEG. There are other choices but, for e-mail, stick with JPEG. In the JPEG Options dialog, note the current size (red box). In this example, 89.8K (89,800 bytes) is a reasonable size for just about anyone. The downside is that Cousin Ralph won’t see as much detail if he tries to enlarge the image. To change the compression level (quality), grab the scrubber (red circle) and move it left (lower quality) or right (higher quality) while watching the size.

I recommend 64KB for all e-mail and web photos. That’s small enough to quickly send or receive and it’s also too small for someone to pluck off your web site to reprint. A very real advantage of this process is that your Exif data is preserved. Exif (Exchangeable Image File Format) is a small file embedded in each photo by the camera.

One final word of caution for JPEG shooters (virtually all P&S users). Always be sure to use Save As and do not use Save. Save As asks for a new file name while Save simply overwrites the original file. If you’re not careful, you can easily overwrite your large, original JPEG file with a small, compressed file. That’s why it’s always best to first save your originals to an external hard drive or DVD where you can’t accidently overwrite it. Once a large files is overwritten with a small file, there’s nothing that can be done to recover the original.

Workshops and Webinars

Wild Animal Park Workshop Rescheduled Due to Wild Weather, Sat, Jan 8

The WAP Photoshoot Workshop on Sat, Dec 18 has been rescheduled to Sat, Jan 8 from 9AM until 1PM. This is one of my most popular “hands-on” workshops. Learn how to get your camera under control by watching and listening to my demonstrations. Then, try it on your own camera with me by your side. Have a question? No problem, I’m right there to help. Register HERE. (You DO NOT need a PayPal account to pay via PayPal, just a credit card)

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.

Flash in a Flash, Sat, Feb 26, 2011, 10AM-1PM

If your flash baffles and scares you, this workshop is for you. Learn to take control of your external flash (aka, Speedlite, Speedlight, strobe, etc) and make great flash photos that don’t scream, “This deer-in-the-headlights look created with FLASH!” Learn what all the knobs, dials, switches and menus do on the back of your expensive flash. Register HERE.

Palomar College – Spring 2011 Schedule Posted

Palomar College has posted my Spring 2011 classes. I’ll be teaching both Digital SLR for New dSLR Owners (Feb 1 & 3) and Beginning Adobe Photoshop Elements (Mar 1 & 3) via webinar so you can learn from the comfort of your own home computer. Back by popular demand is the my popular Hands-On Photoshoot (Apr 2) at Kit Carson Park in Escondido.

Spring Desert Wildflower Workshop, late March 2011

One of my perennial favorites, spring is a magical time in the desert when everything comes to life. Get down low for amazing macros of flowers. Get up high for gorgeous sunsets and landscapes. Make beautiful photos from almost every vantage point in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. More details as conditions in the desert firm up and I can better predict the spring bloom.


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