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How to Make an Image Smaller using Photoshop Elements

Updated on January 28, 2018
agvulpes profile image

Although not a professional, Peter is a very keen photographer who mainly takes wildlife and landscape images.

Red flower optimised from 9 meg to 1 meg.
Red flower optimised from 9 meg to 1 meg.

Photoshop Elements

Photoshop Elements has now become very popular for some of the following reasons:

  • Price, it does not cost as much as Photoshop CS.
  • For the amateur photographer and even some pros prefer it?
  • The learning curve is not so steep, good results can be obtained very quickly.
  • There are many tutorials available both step by step and video.

I have now purchased a copy of Photoshop Elements 10 and will post an update on this hub shortly!

I feel that if you are familiar with the User Interface of Photoshop CS it will not be any problem at all to change over to Photoshop Elements!

if you have been following along from my 'digital photography Hubs you will know that I would prefer to use Photoshop as my preferred image manipulation program.

At the moment I'm using Photoshop cs2 and after a fairly long self taught learning curve I am able to do most editing tasks that are required.

I have heard some people are having trouble with images so I would like to pass on some of my experiences to help make image manipulating a fun and happy task that anyone can perform.

The flower image is one of my own photographs and it started out as a massive 9 megapixels file size. Much too large for displaying on the Internet

The image you see here has been  downsized  to about 1 megapixels, without much loss of quality.

Some tips from my experiences whith Photoshop

Based on the questions I get asked, I'm just going to give you some tips on playing around with Photoshop cs2.

The most asked question I get asked is :

"My pictures take too long to upload or I'm told they are too large to upload, what do I do ?"

Ok, this one is not all that hard to fix!

I'll do it in steps so that if you have a query or I've got it wrong (Me get something wrong Hmmm very unlikely) just pop a comment in below and I'll reply.

Important First things First

A word of warning from someone who has ruined (read lost) some good images.

Before you start playing around with your images it is always good practice to make a duplicate of the image and work on the duplicate.  It is very easy to do this in Photoshop.

Click on the "Image" button on the menu bar , when the drop down menu opens click on "Duplicate"  when the duplicate dialog box opens you will see a suggested name , usually the original name with 'copy' following. Press OK.

When the 'copy' image opens, you can close the original image and it is safe to work on the copy image.

Diagram No.1 Screen shot of Opened image in Photoshop
Diagram No.1 Screen shot of Opened image in Photoshop

Resizing Images

Ok lets assume that you have taken a beautiful shot of a flower and you want to show it off in a Hub.

Here is one I prepared earlier.

In (diag. 1) you will see that I have opened an image of a flower in Photoshop. The bounding boxes (not part of photoshop) indicate:

A Toolbox

B The opened Image

C The size of the opened image (according to photohsop). You will notice that this image is 9.0meg in size. Way too large for uploading.

Finding the true dimensions

So we have decided that our image is too large to upload. By the way there is another reason for not uploading a large image. They are easy to steal and use on other sites but that is another subject to do with copyright or copyleft depending on which way you lean ;-).

To ascertain just how big your image is I would like you to open up the "Image Size" dialog box.

To do this look up at the menu bar and click on the button that read "Image" (A in image (Diag 2) when the drop down menu appears click on "image Size" . If the PS god's are smiling on you the Image Size dialog box will open (bounding box B) in the diagram (Diag 2)

When you have got the "Image Size" box open study the information for a minute.You will notice in Diag 2 the following info:

Pixel dimensions : a massive 9.0 megapixels ( this will change as you alter the other dimensions)

  • Width: 2048 Pixels
  • Height: 1536 pixels

Document Size:

  • Width 28.9 cm
  • Height 21.67

Resolution: 180 pixels / inch

Diagram No.2  Image Size
Diagram No.2 Image Size


The first thing that we consider for this exercise is the "Resolution".

I have found through research and experience that it is a waste of space to have any images with a resolution of more than 72 pixels per inch. So go ahead and change that to 72 psi.

I have put another screenshot up (diag 3) and you will see what effect it has had on the file size just by changing the resolution, sizes are now:

Pixel dimensions ( this will change as you alter the other dimensions)

  • Width: 819 Pixels
  • Height: 614 pixels

Document Size:

  • Width 28.9 cm
  • Height 21.67

Resolution: 72 pixels / inch.

More importantly, our file size has dropped to a respectable 1.44 megapixels some 6 times smaller than the original file.

Diag no.3  Resolution altered to 72 pixels per inch.
Diag no.3 Resolution altered to 72 pixels per inch.

Optimising Image

In my own personal opinion, this file is still just a bit too large to upload, but this would depend on the sort of impression you want to make with your image.

I feel that the important dimension on a monitor screen is the Width and in my personal experience, a width or 700 pixels is fine for most images, especially on HubPages.

I have now modified my original image to have the following dimensions:

Pixel dimensions ( this will change as you alter the other dimensions)

  • Width: 700 Pixels
  • Height: 525 pixels

Document Size:

  • Width 28.9 cm
  • Height 21.67

Resolution: 72 pixels / inch.

Leave all other boxes as checked. We do not want our proportions being disturbed. Do we?

Diag no. 4 Image optimised
Diag no. 4 Image optimised

Save your Image

After you have made you final choices you need to save your new file.

Just click on the 'File' button on the menu bar and click 'save' . If prompted save at the maximum JPEG resolution. JPEG is what is called a 'lossy' file format , which means that every time you open and save the image it is compressed with some loss of quality.

You will be given a choice where to save and rename the file.

My rule of thumb is to just change the word 'copy ' to 'small' and leave it in the original file.

This means that it will be saved next to the original large file.


If you have any questions at all on Photoshop or other image manipulation programs , such as GIMP or, please leave a comment below and I will try my best to answer your queries.

© 2009 Peter


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    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 7 years ago from Australia

      nadp, I hope I can answer you questions here in the space I have, if you still don't understand pop me an email and I will go into more depth.

      Q1) When you take a digital picture the image is taken at a certain resolution (most cameras have a setting for this) For best quality prints I always use the highest resolution eg if the camera is a 4.1mp camera I set the photo quality to 4.1 (some cameras have a 'raw'. Which means there is no compression loss at all) This limits the amount of photos you can take but allows you more flexibility later down the track. Ok when you upload these images into your computer they will be saved at that size file (near enough anyway depending on the format there will be compression losses). ##### This is the file I was telling you to keep saved. If you want to optimise this file get into the habit of making a 'duplicate image' to do any editing.

      Q2) You don't tell me what camera you are using or what size you had printed so my answer is only an educated guess! but here goes:

      If your pictures are coming out "pixelated' or blocky some causes of this are that the image was over-enlarged which could be from printing from the smaller optimized image file mentioned in Q1. Did you print using the file uploaded from the camera or from an image taken off the internet?

      When an image is optimized for the internet it is usually saved at 72pixels/inch to save loading time, this is horrible for printing.

      I am no expert at printing but I believe that printing should be done at no less than 300 pixels/inch. The closer together the pixels the finer quality photograph and the larger you can print!

      I hope this has not confused you. If so drop me an email and I will give some more details.

      btw; Great comment and thanks for dropping in :-)

    • nadp profile image

      nadp 7 years ago from WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA

      Thanks for the advice, agvulpes. I have two questions. The first is that I'm not sure what you mean at the end about saving the image in the original large file.

      The second is, if I want to print the pictures, how do I bring the size down to the size I need while still preserving the image quality? I had to do this with my daughter's wedding pictures and the prints were very "pixely" (as my daughter says).

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      Earnestshub thanks for your kind support I'm working on a free program called 'Gimp' which is similar to Photoshop but has the advantage of being 'free' as in you get it for nothing , not pirated , absolutely free. You do not even have to hand over your email address. ;-)

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I look forward to it, I am learning about Photoshop from your hubs! :)

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      earnestshub thanks for your kind comment. Photoshop is not an easy program to learn but I hope to do some more lessons on image editing or manipulation as its called.

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      More good advice, this time about digital-photography | Image editing or manipulation. I am keeping up so far!

      Thanks agvulpes.

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      weblog , thank you for you kind words. I do agree with you about Photoshop being hard to beat but some of the free software is catching up and it does depend on the job you want to do to your images.

      Thanks again for your comment :-)

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      SweetiePie, you are correct. Quite a few people are still operating on slow broadband speeds and would really save a lot of time if they resized their images.

      by the way . Done correctly there is no loss of quality when you resize ( often referred to as 'optimising')your images for the internet.

    • weblog profile image

      weblog 8 years ago from 1India

      I love Photoshop, no other such software can beat it. Loved this hub too :)

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Resizing here might be good for Hubpages too. I do get tired waiting a minute for the larger files to upload. Over on the it is worse though because you cannot upload anything over 500k without resizing it.

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      SweetiePie, thankyou for your kind comment and I will be doing a follow up Hub with free Image manipulating programs.

      Even here in Hubpages if the image files are too large sometimes the load time is excessive and leads to much frustration and even failure to upload. File size can also be a problem with running slide shows.

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Great tutorial for those publishing on many of the sites outside of Hubpages, which often require the resizing of photos.

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      Hey Hawkers, how about a Macca's and fries, just down the road from your place ;-)

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      poetlorraine, thanks for dropping by. Photoshop is a great program but there are other free programs out there, such as and GIMP which I will be covering shortly!

    • Hawkesdream profile image

      Hawkesdream 8 years ago from Cornwall

      Hey Ag, lunch sounds good, drop me a line

    • profile image

      poetlorraine 8 years ago

      if i ever get photoshop i know where to come for advice

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      Hawkesdream, g'day, I can't complain ( no one listens anyway)

      I hope every thing is well with you as well. We must do lunch one day ;-)

      I hope the instructions are clear enough, if not let me know !

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      G'day Candie V . I've been AWOL for a while so I'm sorry in the delay in repling to your lovely comment.

      Thanks for the compliment I will send the commission cheque in the mail ;-)

    • Hawkesdream profile image

      Hawkesdream 8 years ago from Cornwall

      So this is where you are hiding, trust you are well my friend.

      Thanks for the advice here, been having sooo much trouble with this, and here it is in black and white.

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 8 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      You do amazing work with your Photoshop program! You've done some great ones for me, and I'll keep them for ever! Thank you Ag!!


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