How to reduce the size of a photo? (free tools + tips)

How to reduce the size of a photo? (free tools + tips)


Reducing the size of a photo is an unavoidable step when the file cannot be uploaded as is. On some occasions loading is possible even though the file is very large. In this case, reducing the size of the photo is not necessary but recommended, because the consequences of an image file that is too large are risky: slowing down when opening the web page or display unavailable, in particular.

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Either way, a photo intended for internet use can be compressed. The photo is not intended to be printed in large format, the file therefore supports compression: at a sufficient size, the quality and level of details of the reduced photo are not altered. How to proceed ? Update on tools and best practices.

Why reduce the size of a photo?

Several situations require reducing the size of a photo.

When designing a website, reducing the size of photos helps speed up the loading of web pages.

However, the loading speed has a large influence on theuser experience. The shorter the duration, the better the user is satisfied. The stake is major: a fast website encourages the visitor to continue and to prolong his navigation, an element in favor of the conversion rate. Conversely, the Internet user is not happy to be patient and tends to quickly leave the site, which loads slowly, weighed down by image files that consume too much bandwidth.

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The SEO performance of the website is also linked to the loading time of the web pages. When Internet users’ sessions are cut short due to the slowness of the site, the bounce rate increases and natural referencing is impacted downwards. Google, moreover, takes load speed into account to rank the site in search results, an additional argument for optimizing the size of the photos.

Reducing the size of a photo is useful when post on a social network. To be able to accommodate a considerable amount of photos, social networks systematically compress them when the dimensions exceed the recommended size. And sometimes the compressed photo loses quality. However, certain compression techniques make it possible to avoid this degradation of the image definition: by first resizing the photo to the recommended size, the user of the social network controls the visual rendering when the photo is displayed in reduced size.

Frequent situation: atsending an e-mail, the mail service indicates that the attached file is too large. In this case, the user has to reduce the size of the high definition digital photo.

Reducing the size of your photos stored on the hard drive also frees up space.

How to reduce the size of a photo?

Here are the best practices to know to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Reduce a copy of the photo so as not to lose the original

Regardless of the tool or technique used to reduce the size of the photo, handling errors are common. In order not to risk losing or permanently altering the original, it is recommended to work on a copy of the file:

  1. Copy the image.
  2. Open copy.
  3. Reduce copy.

If the photo needs to be retouched or printed in large format at a later date, the author of the photo always has the original, intact.

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Prefer PNG and GIF formats when compressing

Not all file formats support compression under the same conditions. For an optimal visual rendering, it is important to work on the right format, to reduce the size of the photo without losing quality.

  • PNG and GIF formats are known to support lossless compression. The SVG format, likewise, can be resized losslessly.
  • The JPEG format, on the other hand, degrades as it is compressed. Reputed to be not very compressible, the JPEG format is not very suitable if the photo must be reduced in significant proportions.

Finding the right balance between small size and quality

2 types of compression are used to reduce the size of a photo:

  • Lossy compression, or lossy compression, can greatly reduce the size of the photo at the risk of losing information.
  • Lossless compression, or lossless compression, ensures unimpaired quality. However, the reduction is limited, the file remains relatively large.

The choice between Lossy or Lossless compression is dictated by the intended use of the photo. Examples: For an artist’s website, lossless compression is recommended; a home cleaning product website can use lossy compression.

Keep original proportions

When the size of the photo is reduced using retouching software, be sure to check the “keep the proportions” box, so as not to alter the image.

Remove unnecessary metadata

Many image files contain unnecessary information. Example: the file contains the date and location of the shooting. A priori invisible, this information is accessible in the “Properties” tab of the image file. From this same tab, it is possible to easily delete metadata, a way to further reduce the weight of the photo.

Check the personal data policy of the compression tool

There are many tools available online, sometimes for free, to reduce the size of a photo with just a few clicks. When using this type of solution, be sure to check the website’s personal data protection policy. The online image compression service must specify that the downloaded photos are not kept by the site editor, and that they remain the exclusive property of their author. This mention protects against the risk of using a photo without the consent of its author.

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5 tools to compress images

The “Preview” application on Mac

Mac includes a resize application, to reduce the size of a photo without having to download software or use an online tool.

  1. Open the photo with “Preview”.
  2. In the “Tools” menu, select “Adjust size”. Make sure the image proportions are locked.
  3. Reduce the width or height until you get the size you want. The size difference is displayed in the adjustment window.
  4. Click on “Ok”, then save the file.

The TinyPNG compression tool

TinyPNG is an online image compression tool. This tool supports both JPEG and PNG formats. To reduce the size of photos to a large extent, TinyPNG uses Lossy compression technique.

Optimizilla Image Optimizer

Optimizilla is an intuitive tool to reduce the size of photos online. Optimizilla supports JPEG, GIF and PNG formats. The tool can upload up to 20 photos simultaneously.

The Compressor platform

Compressor allows you to choose between lossy or lossy compression, to arbitrate between size and quality. The tool supports JPEG, GIF, SVG, WEBP, and PNG formats.

The CompressJPEG compression tool

CompressJPEG allows you to reduce the size of several photos at the same time: up to 20 images to download, individually or in a ZIP archive. CompressJPEG supports JPEG, PNG, GIF, and PDF formats.

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