A painful never ending dilemma for any photographer who wants to showcase their work on the web is choosing image size over image quality. While you all want your photos to look perfect on 5k retina screens, statistics show that around 80% of your clients and potential clients will check out your site on their mobile devices. Now imagine opening a 10MB image on a small mobile screen – might as well go make a sandwich while it’s slowly loading.
Obviously photo quality is important, but so is a fast and optimized website, email efficiency or saving hard drive space. Think about it, on average a wedding photographer captures around 5 to 7k photos per wedding, which takes up to 30-50GB of space on a hard drive. Now multiply that by the number of wedding sessions you do per season. Shocked? Luckily, there are great products, such as JPEGmini which were created to help photographers save MB space (up to 80%) without losing any image quality.
If you have never heard of JPEGmini before, no need to panic – we’ll quickly fill you in. It’s a simple straightforward application, compatible with Mac and Windows that can shrink your JPEG files up to five times without impacting their perceptible image quality. And while many of you use Photoshop’s “save for web” feature or play around with Lightroom’s exporting options, these are always a guessing game, since you need to randomly experiment with the quality percentage and see what results in terms of file size. JPEG mini take that guess game away, in just a matter of seconds it can compress any of your JPEG files by up to 80%. No effort, just drag and drop your files into the app and voila!
Before moving into explaining the technical processes, allow us to point out a few advantages of working with optimized JPEG files:
- A fast loading, optimized website
- Free hard drive space
- Email efficiency (send more photos and faster)
So, there is no black magic involved. The application is based on a two step process. First, an image quality detector analyzes the JPEG file to asses how much compression can be applied without causing any perceivable reduction in quality. Then, a unique JPEG encoder adapts the JPEG encoding process to the native file, creating the most compact representation of it. This compression technique uses an algorithm that imitates the human visual system – it ensures that the overall look of a photo remains the same while removing redundancies from within the file structure.
If you’re still wandering what type of voodoo did the creators use, to get a 50MP image (with the Pro version) reduced by 80%, without any visible change in quality – the answer is none. The application is based on a two step process. First, an image quality detector analyzes the JPEG file to asses how much compression can be applied without causing any perceivable reduction in quality. Then, a unique JPEG encoder adapts the JPEG encoding process to the native file, creating the most compact representation of it. This compression technique uses an algorithm that imitates the human visual system – it ensures that the overall look of a photo remains the same while removing redundancies from within the file structure.
The JPEGmini results have been tested multiple times, and experts can’t tell the visual difference between the original files and the JPEGmini compressed files. Even when viewed at 100% on a monitor or printed at 200 dpi and examined under a loupe, both files still look the same, which is impressive!
Of course, we ran some test of our own before even starting to write this article, and here’s how it went:
Sample Image used:
file size: 2.345 MB
image dimensions: 3000 x 2000
photo credit: Nicole Mason
We installed the JPEGmini app, it’s available on their website. There is also free trial if you want to test it out first. It allows you to compress up to 20 images per day for 10 days.
We made a copy of our original image, dragged and dropped it into the JPEGmini application. You have two options available in terms of exporting. The application will either automatically replace the original file with the compressed one, or you can choose to export all compressed files into a specific folder, even set a certain size preference. The app allows you to choose from the Small (960×720), Medium (1600×1200) and Large (2592×1944), or set your own Width or Height.
Back to business, it took just a few seconds to get the file compressed. The optimization reduced the file size by 1.390 MB, which is almost 60% of the original size. Now our JPEG photo weights 958 KB. We put the original and compressed files side by side, and tried to look for any type of visual difference, but couldn’t find any.
Out of curiosity, we took the same original file, opened it in Photoshop and saved it with “save for web” at 80% quality. To our surprise, the file size was larger than the JPEGmini compression – 1.035 MB. No difference in the image quality though.
What we also like about JPEGmini, is that it notifies you if a file has been compressed already, to avoid double compression and visible quality loss (see image below).
If you think this is amazing, wait till you hear about JPEGmini Pro, as it includes Lightroom and Photoshop integration. All you’ll need to do is set up the LR and Ps plugins and adjust your settings, afterwards all your photos will be automatically optimized by JPEGmini while you export them from your Lightroom or Photoshop programs. No extra steps needed, your workflow remains the same while your website and hard drive start breathing freely.
And here’s a surprise for those of you who got excited about JPEGmini’s perks – use the code FLO20 at checkout and enjoy a 20% discount for JPEGmini PRO. The code is available until December 15, 2016.
Conclusion: JPEGmini is a perfect tool for photographers who are tired of making the compromise between image quality and a fast loading website. The application will reduce the overall size of your JPEG files, by up to 5px, without sacrificing image quality or resolution. Please note that we are not suggesting you to compress ALL your photo galleries (especially those that you plan to post process, as you can’t restore details that have been compressed away), but using this tool for the files you plan to share on the web will surely save you time and mb space.