How to Reduce the Size of a Photo for Email

By Nat Fondell

Reducing the size of digital photos before they are emailed is essential. Extremely large photos can take a long time to load, cause an email transmission to fail, overload or slow down Internet connections and fill both outboxes and in-boxes, which can temporary suspend activity on the account. Learning to re-size digital photographs, which now reach sizes of 12 or 15 megabytes on consumer-level cameras, is a necessary skill for digital photographers of any age.

Step 1

Open the photograph using any software viewing or editing program, such as iPhoto, Preview, Microsoft Paint, Microsoft Photo Viewer or IrfanView. Select the individual photo you wish to re-size, or select multiple photographs using the "Select All" button.

Step 2

Open the tab marked "tools" or "edit" and select the "resize/reshape" function. Check the box marked "retain aspect ratios." This will keep your photograph from being distorted during the resizing process, and will automatically match the opposing photo dimensions to the dimensions you re-size.

Step 3

Adjust the dimensions to about 1,000 pixels on the longer side, or a length of 6 inches. For optimal email performance, make your individual pictures smaller than 100 Kb, and never higher than 1 Mb, as this can adversely affect your message reliability.

Step 4

Save the photograph using a new name if you wish to retain a copy of the photograph in both the original size and the new, smaller size. To replace the original photograph, simply save over it using the same name and it will be changed to the smaller size.

Tips & Warnings

  • Set your camera to take photos that are much smaller than the factory settings, which can then be emailed without any adjustment. This is often a good method for those who have more camera experience than computer experience, and can be done by accessing the camera's menu under "photo size/quality."
  • Some cameras have an "email-ready" setting in their quality settings.
  • Do not click "save" if you have not yet renamed the file, as this will automatically save over your original photograph. If you have made the file smaller, saving over it will make you lose the original quality of the photograph, and you will only have the level of detail preserved in the new size.