Today, just about everyone has a digital camera in their pockets, which has led to an unprecedented amount of picture taking compared to the days when you had to take your film to the store to have photos developed. Having more cameras has turned us into a more visual society, but not every amateur photographer understands how to best manage all of their photos, which causes problems when storing them.
Before we go into the technical details on why taking too many pictures can cause issues, consider this cultural observation from comedian Jim Gaffigan on how there are way more pictures taken today than when we were kids. “I have more pictures of my kids than my Dad even looked at me.” By the way, Jim Gaffigan is the proud father of five kids, so that’s a ton of pictures!
As the number of digital pictures we take of our kids reaches levels of absurdity, there’s one picture-taking detail that’s often overlooked; the file size of photos grows larger with each new camera model. Take for example the smartphone camera of 2008. Back then, a smartphone equipped with a 3MP camera was about as large as you could find. Today, Samsung’s latest Galaxy smartphone (the S6) comes equipped with a 16MP camera; larger pictures translate to larger file sizes.
It’s important to note that while picture sizes have grown, a phone’s storage capacity has also improved over the years. For example, in 2008, good luck finding an SD card larger than 1GB. Today, you can easily purchase a 64GB miniSD card. Plus, let’s not forget how affordable cloud storage has become. Having easy access to data storage may encourage smartphone users to take as many pictures as their heart’s content, but just because you can have every single picture be a glorious 16MP, doesn’t mean every picture has to be this large. Although, for many picture takers, they use their cameras like this because the default picture size is set to the largest file size possible.
In addition to large files taking up too much space on your hard drive, large pictures can make it complicated to share photos. For example, texting a large picture may eat up a significant amount of data, or it may not even be able to send at all. Emails also usually have a size limit for attachments, which could easily be reached by only a handful of large pictures.
Pro tip: When snapping photos, be mindful of file sizes and adjust accordingly based on the importance of the photograph. For example, texting your spouse a picture of the kind of cat food they need to pick up at the store probably doesn’t require a full-size image.
Yet another reason why you’ll want to be mindful of your image sizes is if you plan on uploading your pictures to your blog or website. Posting a full-sized image will dramatically increase the site’s load time and may even cause your visitors to leave the site if it takes too long to load. If you plan on posting your pictures to the web, be sure to either snap a smaller-sized photo or resize the image before uploading it.
Pro tip 2: Resizing an image is easy to do. You can achieve this by using virtually any photo editing software, even MS Paint. When resizing your photo be sure not to make it so small that you lose picture quality. If you’re trying to resize the image in order to free up hard drive space, be sure to delete the original full-sized image after creating a new image that’s smaller. One free online tool that lets you resize an image to its optimal file size so it retains its quality for the dimensions you set is PunyPNG.com.
Bonus pro tip: Be careful when resizing your images to not make them too small. Once you make an image smaller and save it over its larger version you can’t go back and make it larger without losing significant quality.
Armed with this information about how to manage your camera’s file sizes, you shouldn’t run into any issues with taking too many photos that are too large.
What are some helpful tips that you use to manage your digital photo library? Share them with us in the comments.
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