The photo gnomes are still churning out new cameras, phone cameras and even tablet cameras with ever mightier megapixel counts. Storage capacity grows vaster too. But more megapixels doesn't necessarily mean better pictures, and huge files are still not necessarily welcome to all.
If you try to email photos of multi-megapixel size directly from your phone or desktop, your mailbox may resize or refuse them. Even if you do succeed in dispatching an overweight image file, your recipient may not thank you. The photos could take ages to arrive, if they ever do, and may clog up their mailbox.
Remember too that your email photos may be destined for a screen too small to display them in all their glory. Then they will have to be downsized at the other end. Wasteful.
You can of course load your photos up somewhere for collection, say in Dropbox. Alternatively, if your mailbox refuses to downsize them automatically, you can slim them down yourself. To prepare email photos a desktop art app like Photoshop or Photoshop Elements makes image slimming easy.
Remember, a digital image can be three kinds of 'small'
A picture can be small in dots, inches or bytes.
1. DOTS. The image contains a limited number of computer screen pixels or printer dots. For instance, a one megapixel photo is made of a million pixels. A megapixel is not exactly small, but the dots can be squeezed together to look small, as they do on your phone screen. Alternatively they can spread out wide to display at a larger size, as they would if you printed the same photo at poster size.
The number of pixels packed into an inch is known as the resolution.
Pixels themselves of course can also vary in size.
2. INCHES. The picture is displayed at small size - as measured in inches or centimeters on a screen or on paper.
3. BYTES. Thirdly, an image can make a small computer file - as measured in bytes. This is something different again. Of course the more pixels you have, the bigger your file. But various compression techniques, plus the content of your picture can make a big difference to your image file size.
Result. In a desktop art editor, there are more ways than one to slim down a photo for the post. 'Reduce image size' will shrink your picture only by reducing the number of pixels it contains.
Save the result with a new name, or else the smaller picture will replace your original and you will lose it.
Conserve the aspect ratio (relationship of the sides) or else your portraits could look like reflections in a fairground mirror!
Start by viewing your image at 100%. That is the size it will look on most computer screens. See if you can crop it first.
Cropping is a vital step if you want to create an image with impact. Automatic processing will usually only reduce the whole scene. Even with automatic face recognition, only you can really do a good job of homing in on the most important part of your picture. Cropping to that not only adds emphasis and reduces size. One bold simple shape makes the image easy to recognise at very small sizes, for instance if you are aiming to reduce to something really small, say a mini-portrait for an address list icon.