How to Reduce the Size of Pictures
Posted on 02. Mar, 2009 by Julius.
When I first started blogging I always wondered how it was possible to reduce the size of images because on the Internet this is extremely important. If you upload pictures that are too big than this might take up a lot of bandwidth of your server. Further your users won’t be happy about having to wait 3 seconds for a picture to load.
But how do I reduce the size of pictures?
The process is simple once you get used to it.
Download a Photo Editing Software
First of all I suggest downloading a photo editing software. There are several programs out on the web that you can use but I always use GIMP.
Gimp works on all operating systems. It doesn’t come with all of the features of Photoshop but it’s enough to do some simple editing . That’s why I recommend to download GIMP. If you want to buy a more professional software such as Photoshop than go ahead, if you are a student you get 80% off on Amazon. You should still be able to follow all the steps that reduce the size of images.
The next step is to install the application. Choose the settings you want and you should be fine. After you are done setting up, go ahead and open GIMP.
Open an Image
Click on the main window. Then click on File -> Open. This should open up a new window and ask for a image file.
Go ahead and select a file that you want to reduce in size.
There are actually two steps we are going to take to decrease the size of the image. But before we do this, you need to know that the bigger the picture is the more bandwidth it consumes.
Therefore, posting a 1600×1200 picture on your web site is going to take up a lot of bandwidth as the image’s size is at least 1mb or higher.
Reduce the Image Size
To reduce the space an image takes up we have to make the image smaller. On the top of the main window, where your image is displayed, there should be an option saying Image. Click on it and scroll to the section where is written Scale Image… After clicking on this button a new window should appear.
Tip: Now usually the width of the content region of your web site layout is around 500 pixel. This means keeping a width of an image of more than 500 pixel does not make sense, only if you want people to be able to see it in full width when clicking on it.
Since this is rarely the case you may want to make sure that you scale it down to around 500 pixel if you want it to take up the whole horizontal content section. If you want to use a picture but still have text to the right or left of it, then scale its width down to 200-300 pixel.
After changing the width value, the height will be automatically adjusted. Click on the Scale button and the picture will be adjusted to the values you entered.
Reduce the Quality of the Image
The second step is to now save the image. Again while saving you can reduce the image size even further.
Click on File and then on Save As to save it under a different name. Let’s name it default1.jpg . Note that .jpg is the format the picture is saved in and the actual name of the file is default1. Click on Save and a new window should pop up.
In the window you can now reduce the quality of the image itself. If you think you do not need such a quality picture than go ahead and turn it down a little, but not too much. I usually choose to reduce the quality to around 85 depending on how important it is.
Save the File
The last step is to really save the file. Now go ahead and compare the size of your two images, the original and the new one.
As a general rule, pictures over 50kb are too big, but of course it always depends on the circumstances.
One last tip: It might also be helpful to save pictures in different formats, the most common ones are .png and .jpg . It varies from picture to picture but usually a png file will reduce the size of an image significantly if the image consists mostly of text. On the other hand if you have almost no text then it might make sense to save it as a .jpg file. Just try it out
A WordPress plugin is available which doesn’t follow the steps I mentioned above but still reduces your image size a lot. It does so by, for example, removing all the unneeded information, such as with what camera the picture was taken. In doing so it certainly decreases the size of the file. The plugin is called WordPress Smush.it.