Those gorgeous, giant images your fancy camera takes suck — they suck bandwidth and file storage space.
Remember when an 8-megapixel camera was sumpin’ special? Ha! Now you can buy 10-MP cameras at Big Lots for $29.95. Plenty of affordable digital cameras take 16-MP pics. New models from Canon and Nikon are touting 24 MP and higher. Hell, you can take pictures for billboards with those!
But wait–you can’t use these enormous photographs on your blog!
Even if you don’t mind loading up your Media Gallery with multi-megabyte photographs, you’ll still have to resize them when you post them for your readers. After all, you do want your pages to load in seconds, not minutes, right?
So, here’s the answer: Take your awesome high-rez pics, transfer them to your hard drive, and then make MUCH smaller copies for publication–for free.
- Point and shoot to your heart’s content.
- Transfer full-resolution pictures to a folder on your PC’s hard drive.
- Open the new photo folder in Windows Explorer. (Folder should be in Pictures)
- Choose the photo you’d like to edit.
- Right-click > Open with > Paint
- Start your stopwatch.
- Use your keyboard to resize that giant image, like this–
With your photo open in the Paint program window:
1. Notice just how huge the original graphics file is: If you see scroll-bars in both directions, that’s a clue.
2. On your keyboard, hit Ctrl + W (Image > Resize/Skew…)
3. Try typing 55 Tab 55, hit Enter (This will produce a 55% proportional reduction)
4. Do you still see scroll-bars on the right and bottom? If so, now hit Ctrl + E (Attributes)
5. Look at the image size (Pixels). Is the Width more than 800 Pixels?
6. Do a quick, rough fraction in your head: 800 divided by the Width of your current image. In my example, it’s 800/1479 — or just under 50%. That’s about how much smaller we want our resized image to be.
7. Now hit Enter (to close the Attributes window), then Ctrl + W (to bring up the Resize window)
8. Type a new number that’s close to the % amount you just figured. I chose 45% for my example. So in my case I typed 45 Tab 45 then Enter.
9. Too small? (Mine is a bit smaller than I’d like it to be.) Type Ctrl + Z to Undo your last Resize.
10. Try a different resize, based on your most recent effort. I switched to a 48% reduction: Ctrl + W > 48 Tab 48 then Enter.
11. Once you’re happy with your picture size (somewhere around 800 x 600 pixels for best web viewing), be sure to use File > Save As… to store your resized image. This leaves the original unchanged at full resolution. To keep a reference to your source image, just add “edit” or “resized” to create the new file name.
How much smaller will your resized image be? A lot!
My original was over one megabyte. Now, the resized image is just 109 KB–about 10% of the source image! This smaller photo will load very quickly on-site, take up only a tiny slice of storage space, and looks just fine for Internet viewing.
Bonus section: Crop your image
Microsoft’s Paint program makes Cropping easy, too. And you can decide what to crop at any time during the Resize process.
Oddly enough, there is no keyboard shortcut in Paint for cropping your photo. So, you have to use the top menu.
- It’s best to Crop before you make your final Resize, especially if you’re removing a substantial part of your source image. Ideally, however, you can see the entire image inside the Paint editing window.
- Before you Crop, go ahead and use File > Save As… to rename your working image. This protects the original from any changes.
- Choose the Rectangle Select button, just below Edit in the top menu. (see above)
- Select the portion of your image that you want to keep.
- To retry your selection area, simply hit Ctrl + Z (Undo) and try again until you like the selected area.
- On the top menu, choose Image > Crop
- Save your image again.
What if you hate how your edited image turned out?
Easy! Since you didn’t destroy your source image, you can simply reload it and begin again.
How long did the whole process take me?
One minute, five seconds — including the cropping and re-saving. Cool, huh?
Is Paint the only program you can use to do all this?
Nope. There are hundreds of choices for photo editing software, many of them free. So, why do I like to use plain ol’ Paint for this sort of editing? Because–
- It comes with most PCs.
- It’s easy to learn and simple to use.
- And it doesn’t have a slew of distracting advanced functions.
By the way, I created all of those handy little screen shots using Paint, too. So there!
Can you beat my Resizing time? Got a program you like better for simple photo fixes? Tell us about it in Comments, below.