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PictureTips
When Downsizing is Better
Sending photos via email has become very popular, but with the availability of hi resolution digital cameras it is something that, when done incorrectly, can be both  costly, and take excessive time for the email sender and email receiver to upload/download.
However it is a problem that is easily remedied, so please read on.


As editor I sometimes receive photos from members for inclusion in the magazine, and the file sizes are usually excessive for what is actually needed to give a good quality picture in the magazine. Even if you are not sending the photos to me for the magazine, your friends will appreciate the benefits of correctly sized email attachments, and unless they need to print them on high quality photo paper as a 10*8 picture, they will not appreciate the extra "quality" anyway


For example consider the following scenarios:

Scenario 1.
  • an email contains 5 photos taken from a digital camera at ~2 Megapixel medium quality resolution.
  • Each picture is, say, 2Mb in size for a total of 10Mb
  • With a dialup connection this may take over 1 hour to upload or download, and although most of us have a broadband connection these days (so the upload/download speed will only be a few seconds or minutes) it will have consumed a reasonably significant amount of bandwidth (ie cost). Your ISP may also reject the email because it is too large (a common limit is 5Mb per email).
  • If you could send it, the receiver now has a 10Mb email in his/her Inbox, which depending on their ISP may be all or half of their total allowance. If they are unlucky their Inbox may fill up before they get a chance to download their emails, in which case you have inconvenienced them in a big way because additional emails sent to them will be be rejected because their inbox was full. Trust me. I read my emails every day and this has happened to me. It does not make me a happy chappy.
The first thing I have to do is reduce the pictures in size to make them more useable. If I don't do that then not only do I waste too much disk space storing the photos,  any magazine PDF file stored on the website with excessive size photos will be too big for ANYONE to download!

Scenario 2.
  • The same person (after reading the rest of this story) sends the same 5 photos reduced in size but still with plenty of resolution to give a good quality picture in the magazine. This time the pictures are only, say, 100Kb each in size for a total of 0.5Mb and it only takes a few minutes to upload and download, even with a slower dialup connection. Furthermore another 19 large emails, just like it, could be received before the recipients Inbox becomes full. This is a much better solution for the both the email sender and receiver.
  • So what is the best size to send photos by email? It all depends on what they are going to be used for, and how you describe them, but from my perspective (ie magazine quality) any of the following is sufficient
    • resized to 1024*768 pixels
    • or resized to 10cm wide at 180dpi
  • Photos of this size end up less than 200Kb and if viewed on the computer screen would display in FULL available resolution, filling up all or most of the screen! So in most cases it is all that your friends or relatives need to see where you went on holidays, or to see how beautiful "Junior" is and how much he has grown since last week. The picture would have plenty of resolution for it to be used on the magazine cover as a large picture, or would allow it to be cropped to use only part of the picture, and would still be only one tenth of the size I usually receive.
  • I would therefore recommend that you send all photos to me at this resolution (1024*768)

So how can they be resized? and is it easy to do?
Yes! very, very easy!

Automatic Resize
There are many ways to do it. If you use XP or Vista, or have Outlook 2003 or later, or even Outlook Express there are options to automatically resize the attachments in the email before it is sent. This is achieved without changing your original files. The instructions for this vary a bit according to your system, however good instructions and suggestions can be found on the internet. Try any of the following:

Emailing Photos
Sending Photos Via Email-Should You Resize?
Email Optimised pictures from Windows XP
Email Optimised pictures from Windows Vista
Resizing pictures in Outlook 2007
Or if you use Outlook or Outlook Express for your emails, then after attaching the picture files to your email, look for the button on the right hand side called Attachment Options. Use it to select the optimum file size before sending.

Manual Resize
Alternatively, many graphics programs can resize the pictures, to be saved as a separate copy.
An excellent free software for this purpose is call Microsoft Image Resizer (suitable for Windows XP only) which can be downloaded free from here.
It is used by right clicking on a JPG photo file then selecting the size you want (eg 1024*768) before saving it. You can then attach the smaller file to your email.


I hope the above suggestions have been helpful. Although it will certainly benefit me if excessive size files are not sent to me by email, in most case your friends and relatives might appreciate it if you can reduce the size of the emails you send to them ...and if you have friends and relatives that overload your inbox, why not help them to help you, by sending them these suggestions as well. This is most easily done by sending them the link to this page.

Happy emailing, from the Editor