Optimising your Images 1: A nibble into the world of bytes

Optimize? Sounds a bit Star Trek? It just means ‘to make the most’ of your photographs.

Images have enormous power to engage clients, optimizing your images is a fantastic way to maximize that.  This is the first in a series of blogs to help the non-geeky/photographer have an introduction to using your photographs to the best potential you can.

Every image has properties that belong to it:

Let’s start with SIZE:  It’s physical size/dimensions in cm or inches and it’s file size in KB, MB or GB. This graph shows the way the sizes get bigger.  The arrow at the top demonstrates that images online need to be a small size, if you are planning a billboard, you need a nice huge photo:


graph photograph filesize

To find out what the file size of a photograph is, go to its File Info or Properties.  Here is one I right clicked earlier (on a Mac)!

Susi Image File Size


Making sure your image is optimised in relation to its size (i.e. using the right file size each place you use it) is really important.

87ZghourglassPeople get bored:  If your website has huge files on it (really anything over 1MB), anyone interested will get bored before it opens whilst watching the Mac’s ‘wheel of doom’ or the inimitable hourglass on a PC.

It won’t look its best:  You should also be aware of making sure your images look their best on each social media platform.  My current favourite resource for this is here: Sprout Social and here is a recent blog I wrote about Twitter and your images.

The quality will disappear into a blurry soup!  Files that are big in relation to their file size keep the most information about the picture and so look best when made physically bigger.


Need to re-size?

We use programs such as Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop.  However, as you would expect, they are professional tools with a lot of smells and bells, so if you want to do some straight forward re-sizing, try something like: Image Optimizer  or Pixlr


Top Tips:

Keep the original! When you adjust it for a particular use, save it as that and label it (eg. Web use, print use)

Try not to ENLARGE a picture – if it has been saved as a small image, once you try to make it bigger, the pixels will have to get bigger to fill in the space and it will probably get that horrible boxy look or just look blurry.



If this is not your bag, or you have way too much else to do, this is a service we provide.  If you do have a go, good luck – you’ll get the hang of it – and let me know any thoughts/comments/feedback so other people can benefit from your experience.


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