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When images are uploaded to the internet or being stored to a hard drive then the size of the files can quickly become an issue. To overcome this and make storage more efficient the photo can be compressed using a variety of different dedicated software. Image compression literally reduces the total number of bytes in a file.
How Does Image Compression Work?
When you compress an image file then the software will remove certain parts of the file as well as grouping certain parts of the file together to reduce the byte size of the overall file.
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Why Do You Compress an Image File?
There are several main reasons why you may want to compress a photo file.
- Uploading compressed files to your website can deliver a better user experience for your audience if pages load quicker. Slow page load times can be a major reason for why people will ‘bounce’ off the page and try another site. To avoid this you can make sure that the photo files are compressed to keep page loading times quick and smooth.
- When you compress photo files it makes them easier to send by email and post on websites such as Facebook or Instagram. Some email platforms have a set limit for the file size that can be sent in which case if you want to send an image then compression will be necessary.
- Compressing your image files will also free up storage space which can be important, especially if you are a photographer and consequently have thousands of photos on your hard drive!
Are there Any Problems with Photo Compression?
There are some downsides of compressing your image files which you should be aware of before you do so. When you compress an image the picture quality will always be degraded to some degree. The more you compress the file size the more the image quality will suffer. This is because there is literally less information that is being saved and so the detail of the photo will deteriorate.
For this reason if you are producing professional photography in most capacities photo compression is not recommended. If you were, for example, displaying photos at an exhibition you would want to keep the file size as large as possible, which could include using RAW files.
When you compress certain types of image file, such as JPEG, then there could be data that is permanently lost. After you compress a JPEG file the data that has been removed from the file to reduce the bytes will be discarded and you might not be able to get it back unless you have the image file backed up elsewhere. This is very important to remember so that you don’t reduce the quality of a great photo by accident!
How Do You Compress Your Image/Photo Files For Free?
There are many ways that you can quickly and easily compress your photo files for free online. These hugely helpful tools are available to anyone with a good internet connection and are used by millions of people every day.
If you’re creating a website and want it to be an image rich site then you’ll need to be compressing your image files before you upload them to keep your pages running smoothly for your users. Also if you are sending files by email or uploading them to your social media accounts then a quick file compression will make your life easier and help the files to upload fast.
Top 5 Free Online Image Compression Tools.
- JPEG Optimizer: JPEG Optimizer is a fantastic tool that allows you to compress your photo files online. The tool is very powerful and easy to use however, as the name suggests, it only works for JPEG image files. When you’re using the tool you can also resize your images as well as reducing the file byte size. When you use the ‘optimizer’ function on the software you can select the level to which you want to reduce the size of the file compared to how much of the image quality you want to retain through the compression process. This is a great tool for photographers and with the dual functions of resizing and file compression in one place it will save you time and increase the efficiency of your workflow. JPEG Optimizer is a very convenient tool and it requires no software downloads to use. The entire process is 100% free and is ideal for photographers who are uploading photos to their websites for portfolios, to their social media profiles or to post on internet forums.
- Compressor.io: Compressor.io is a free online compressor tool that allows you to upload JPEG, GIF, PNG and SVG files from your computer. The compression tool can reduce the file size by up to 90% while retaining a high quality image at the end of the process. You can only upload one photo at a time however the maximum file size is 10 MB which is higher than most of its competitors. A good all round free online compressor tool it offers top functionality in a range of file types.
- Optimizilla: Optimizilla is a free image compressor tool that helps you maintain a high level of quality in your images while achieving a lower file byte size at the same time. The compression software has a useful slider feature that lets you see the before and after versions of your image files before you actually compress them. A major advantage of this tool is that it can handle JPEG and PNG images which is very helpful for photographers who work in multiple file types. This free online image compressor tool allows you to upload up to 20 photos at time in a queue to help save you time in your process.
- Online Image Optimizer: This is a powerful and versatile tool if you’re working with images online. The platform lets you compress your photo files in the major formats including PNG and JPEG. Online Image Optimizer also lets you optimize GIFs and animated GIF files so they run more smoothly on your site. One of the site’s most useful and unique functions, particularly if you are running a website, allows you to upload photos directly from a URL. This is perfect if you want to refresh your website and compress the photos you have already uploaded! The site is free to use however you can only upload one image at a time with a maximum file size of 2.86MB. They also offer a hosting service in conjunction with HostGator to host your image files for a reasonable monthly fee.
- Tiny PNG: Tiny PNG is one of the most famous and popular of the online free image optimization platforms. It’s one of the oldest out there and is a trusted tool for many photographers around the world. The site is set up for JPEG and PNG files and allows image files up to 5 MB each. You can upload 20 images at a time and you have a free limit of 100 image files per month. The compression tool is fast and easy to use and after you have compressed your files you can quickly download them to your computer or save them to your Dropbox. The site also has a unique plugin that works with WordPress websites that lets you optimize your images directly on your website. This will save you time if you’re working on a website and makes the compression process much more convenient.
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Photo Compression is a Necessary Part of Operating on the Internet as a Photographer.
Despite the slight loss in picture quality compression is an extremely powerful tool that helps to optimize the user experience of your audience on your website, allows you to send photos in emails and helps to save space on your hard drive.
There is paid software that you can use to compress your image files but with such a great selection of free to use online options you really don’t need to spend a dollar! When you’re choosing which free option is the best for your needs then you need to think about the file size, the type of file and how you’ll be using your work online.
Which tool do you use to compress your images?
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