If you are new to photography or maybe building a website and want those high-res and ultra-large Images to be reduced to your preferred size without losing quality if so, you’re in the right place! This article does not simply dive into the ways that you might use to reduce an image’s size, but it will help you understand all the different aspects that must be considered before using a tool to reduce an image’s size. The very first question this article answer is why would anybody want to reduce the image size and then it delves into the meaning of Scaling and Resampling, which are two ways you can utilize to reduce image size. Furthermore, different file types and their role in retaining the quality are also discussed, and only after discussing these important points, do we introduce you to the different paid and free tools to reduce Image Size. Following are the software that you can use:
- Adobe Photoshop
- Resizing app
- Bulk Web Resizer
- Mobile Apps
Why would you want to reduce your image size while retaining quality?
A person could argue that why couldn’t he simply use his original image instead of reducing the size and even if he did reduce the size, why must he care about the quality?
You might have seen some websites where images appear blurry or maybe they are very crisp but take time to load, these are the two main and common reasons you must reduce image size without losing quality. Allow us to explain.
The very first reason is sloppy resizing which would happen if you reduce image size but the quality was not maintained. You cannot expect your website or your blog post to grow or even impress clients by doing this, quality is everything when it comes to images.
The second reason is page speed. If you run a website but instead of reducing the image size, you upload it in its raw form, your site is going to suffer. A raw or an original image is very high in resolution and the better the resolution, the bigger the size of the image. Ultimately, if your image size is too large, it is going to take a lot of time to load the page, which is not very user friendly. This can also affect your SEO Optimization and Googling ranking, your website will rank much higher if it loads faster.
Can images really be reduced without losing quality?
If you had asked this question a few years ago, answers would have been vague. But this is the golden period of not only the technology but also software. You can reduce the image size to your liking without sacrificing any quality, In fact, it can be done on websites without paying anything. Further in this article, we would be discussing both the paid and free options and the differences between both.
Scaling or Resampling
Before we actually reduce the image size, we need to understand the meaning of these two terms; scaling and resampling.
Resizing or scaling is the most basic way to reduce the size of an image. But in resizing, you only deal with the dimensions of the image, not the file size. You can use this method to either enlarge or reduce the image by just stretching or condensing the pixels, thus it is called scaling.
The other method is Resampling and this is the method that deals with actually decreasing the number of pixels of an image. Basically, what it does is, it analyzes the images and identifies which pixel it can get rid of without actually sacrificing the quality of the image. This method is more suited to your needs as it increases the page speed.
What is an Image made of?
It is also integral to understand the main components of an image and what of the components contribute to the image size and which of them can be controlled.
Pixels: The first and most basic component is the pixel. Images are made up of pixels and the number of pixels defines the size of the image. Now, we have already talked about Resampling which enables us to manipulate and control the number of pixels, so we will move to the next component.
File Type: Now, you cannot really control the number of pixels before reducing the size, but there is a step you can do to further optimize the reduction in size. This step is choosing the right format for your image. The file type or format you chose will determine the image size as well as the quality it retains even after its size is reduced. The two most important formats used universally are Bitmap and GIFs. Bitmap means that the image will be composed of pixels and individual pixel would have an assigned position and color but the most common type of Bitmap files is called JPEG and PNG.
JPEG image type is so widely and commonly used that every person who’s ever had to deal with images is familiar with it. JPEGs are widely popular because of their quick loading speeds and incredibly low sizes but they may show a loss in quality after a certain reduction in size.
PNG is superior to JPEG when it comes to quality because it provides you with a lossless reduction in size but their loading speed is slower than JPEG.
GIFs are popular because they provide you with animations at a reduced file size but they must not be used for single images.
10 Ways to do it:
Now, that we have talked about the reason behind reducing image size, components of the image, and the file types and formats that you must keep in mind before reducing an Image Size, it is finally time to talk about the ways in which you can reduce image size without quality. We must say here that the list includes both free and paid examples of desktop apps, websites as well as web plugins that will work through your web browser. Here we go,
Every talk about the manipulation or editing of images is incomplete without mentioning Adobe Photoshop. Although, Adobe Photoshop is a paid tool it would not be wrong to say that it is worth the price. If you are just looking for reducing the image size and do not want any other tool, this might not be the product for you, but if you want a ton of features for a little price, this is what you need.
Adobe Photoshop’s feature that lets you reduce the image size is called Perfect Resize and it is one of the best featured on this list. Adobe has updated this feature and made it very simple to use with added tools. From the Image Size dialog box inside the program, you can either manipulate the dimensions or Resample while maintaining quality.
(This is a Paid desktop software.)
If you want the productivity of the Adobe software on your desktop but do not want to shell out any money, worry not, Gimp is the best free alternative to Adobe on desktop.
To reduce Image Size without losing quality on Gimp, follow the steps;
First, you have to select the ‘Image’ command in the top menu bar and then go to ‘Scale Image’. It will then open a pop-up dialog box. In the dialog box, you must put in the dimensions of the image. (We have talked about Pixels, but if you are still not familiar with them, you can also change it to Inches rather than Pixels.) After that, you must put in the new dimensions and the resolution that you want the image to change to. Gimp gives you two methods to choose from; Cubic option and Sinc option. We recommend both but just keep in mind that Cubic takes a longer time to produce the image than Sinc. After you have chosen the method, you must click on ‘Scale’ to get your reduced image while retaining the quality.
(This is Free desktop software.)
Irfanview is also a desktop app and also is free to use but it can only be used on Windows Operating System but the thing that makes it stand out is that it is very lightweight. It only uses a very small amount of system resources meaning that it will run on any desktop you have, no matter how dated it is. Speaking about dated, although, the app is very lightweight but its interface looks very dated. Under the hood, the performance of this tool is on par with the other desktop tools mentioned above, so the interface is just a minor inconvenience.
To reduce or resample the image in Irfanview, the image needs to be opened in the software. Then, you must click on ‘Image’ in the top toolbar and select ‘Resize/Resample’. After that, check ‘Set New Size’, and as the name suggests you have to choose the size type (cm, inches, or pixels). Then you have to check the ‘Preserve Aspect Ratio’ option, this option makes sure that your image doesn’t get distorted and comes out looking squashed. Then you have to select ‘Lanczos filter’ from ‘Resample’ and then put in your new dimensions. Then simple Save and you will get your reduced image without any loss of quality.
(This is free desktop software. Only for Windows.)
Now, if you do not want to spend all the time in downloading software for your desktop and want a simple tool for reducing the image size without losing any quality, this is one of the best tools available. Resizing.app is a simple web-based tool that does one single function, which is reducing an image and is very easy to use.
To use this tool, you have to first upload your image on it. You can choose any photo which could be of any formats listed here; BMP, PNG, HEIC, TIFF, JPEG, or even GIF. You can upload it by simply dragging and dropping it from your desktop to the website. After that, you just have to choose your settings, enter the format you want to save it in, and the size that it must be in. Once you are done with that, all you have to do is hit the save button and your changes will be applied.
(This is a free web tool.)
Shutterstock is basically a marketplace for photos but its editor ca be used for reducing image size.
There are two ways in which you can use Shutterstock. The first is a very basic method and allows only three preset sizes and an option for custom resize. The presets include small (500x325px), medium (1000x650px) and a large size (2000x1300px). This is the best option for anyone who wants to take it simple and can also use the custom dimension. This utilizes the drag and drops method to upload the image and then you have to select the size.
The other option takes it to an upper level just as the desktop software. Using the Shutterstock Editor, upload the image and then click on ‘Replace Background’ to start working. After that, click on Canvas size on the right side of the screen and then choose your preferred measurements. After that, you just have to Save your image and move to your next image.
(This is a free web tool.)
By now, you might see us repeating some features. This is because of the fact that the function of all Image Resizers is the same and we only have to talk about one single function which is reducing the Image Size without any loss in quality. Canva also does that pretty basic work.
Canva’s editor comes in two different options. The first is pretty simple, you are given a few different dimensions to choose from to save you from any manual work and the other is the custom one. Th custom option allows you to enter your preferred dimensions and get the result without sacrificing quality.
(This is a Free web tool but also has a paid version for more features.)
Just like other web-based tools and sites such as Canva, Pixlr too has a very simple and user-friendly drag and drop method and resize tool. It also gives you the same functionality but it all comes down to the interface you may prefer among all these tools.
(This is a Free website.)
The functionality of this web tool might be the same as others but where it differentiates is that it can either be used on the web browser or you can get its Mac-specific application. We have included this to add diversity to the list. One main feature of this tool is that it also removes any Metadata such as GPS coordinates from your pic which will prove helpful to you in protecting your privacy and only keeps the Metadata necessary for maintaining the quality.
(This is a Free Web or Mac Tool.)
Bulk Web Resizer:
This tool really stands out in the list of all web tools. Not only does this reduce your image without losing any quality but it also does so in a bulk quantity. If you wanted a number of images to be reduced at the same time while preserving the quality and sharpness, this is your best choice.
(This is a Free web tool.)
Now if you want to go the extra step for convenience and ease of use, you would probably not move towards desktop apps but try to find a simpler and a handier tool. Mobile apps such as Bulk Image Compressor and Photo Compress will help you do so without any hassle. As the names suggest, the first app can be used as an ultra-portable alternative to Bulk Web Resizer and the second app just provides the same functionality minus the bulk option.
(These are Free Mobile Apps.)
At the start of the article, you might have wondered why are we discussing all these other things and not just simply diving straight into different tools needed for reducing the image size, but now that you are done with it, we are confident that you understand the significance all of those aspects play in the article. To wrap it all up, we started by explaining the common reasons for reducing image size, the main one of which was SEO optimization, and how reducing the image could help your website rank much higher. Then the article answered the million-dollar question ‘Can Images REALLY be reduced while maintaining quality’ and we explained this by defining Scaling and Resampling which are just two different methods of reducing Image Size by manipulating the pixels. Furthermore, components of an Image were discussed which are Pixels and File Type. File Types and their significance was discussed in detail because they are the only component that you can control before using a tool and which plays a role in maintaining the quality. Only after all was said and done about all this stuff, we talked about the tools that you may use for reducing Image Size. We have listed some of the best desktop apps, web-based tools both free and paid and some mobile apps, so it will all come down to your preference.