Join Tim Grey for an in-depth discussion in this video Saving for digital sharing, part of Photoshop CS6 Quick Start for Photographers.
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A friend of mine captured this image of me photographing at Horseshoe Bend and I thought I might share it with others. Of course, I'm not going to send it to my mom because it might make her worry. The camera strap isn't around my neck or my shoulder, so she might feel that I was being irresponsible with an expensive piece of equipment. But I do want to send it to a couple other photographer friends. I've already taken the time to go through my output workflow. Processing my master image, resizing this image, and sharpening it, applying all the adjustments that I would typically apply in my output workflow. But now I'm ready to apply the final preparations and save this image so that I can send it to others or upload it to a website, for example. In this case I've resized the image to 600 pixels on the long side, so it's a relatively small image.
Because I'm sharing this image digitally, it's a good idea to convert it to the sRGB color space. sRGB is a relatively small gamut color space, well suited to digital displays. And using it will also help ensure more accurate colors for situations where the image is viewed without color management. I'll go ahead and choose Edit > Convert to Profile, from the menu, and then I'll change the destination space to sRGB. I'll leave the conversion options set to their defaults, and click OK to apply the conversion.
All we're doing is changing the values in the image and how they're interpreted. So it's sort of a behind the scenes thing that you don't have to worry about too much. Now I'm ready to save the image. So I'll choose File > Save As from the menu. This will give me an opportunity to specify where I'd like to save the image. I'll save it to the desktop in this case. And what file name I want to use. I can also specify the file format, and for images that are being shared online I typically use the JPEG file format. And recommend that you use this option in most cases. I also want to be sure that the ICC profile is embedded with the image, which will help ensure more accurate color in situations where color management is available.
I'll go ahead and click the Save button. That will bring up the JPEG options dialog where I can most importantly focus on the quality of the image. A JPEG image is always compressed. That helps reduce file size, but reducing it too much can reduce quality in the image. In the case of sharing an image online, I usually want to balance image quality and file size and so I'll typically use a value of eight for image quality. If I'm really concerned about file size, I could reduce that further, or if I'm concerned about image quality first and foremost, I might increase it.
But when sharing images via email or online, I almost always use an eight value for quality. You don't need to concern yourself with format options, you can use Baseline Optimized if you want to produce a slightly smaller file. But generally speaking I wouldn't worry about format options too much. I'll then go ahead and click OK, and the image is saved, in the JPEG file format, on my desktop, with a quality setting of 8. I'll minimize Photoshop, and you can see, sure enough, there's the image on my desktop that I just saved, ready to be emailed to friends.
- A guided tour of Photoshop
- Setting up your environment
- Color modes, bit depth, and image resolution
- The Histogram
- File formats
- Basic adjustments
- Output workflow