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How to Reduce the Size of a Photo

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 3/11/2011

Want to learn how to reduce the size of a photo? The steps are pretty much the same no matter what program you are using. Learn how to change your photo's size in this digital photography tutorial.

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    Reducing Image Size

    There are many different reasons why you might need to resize your photos. For example, you may want upload them to a social networking site but the photo is too big or perhaps you want to email a photo to grandma, but it is taking too long or stalling out your computer. You are presented with a question: how to reduce the size of a photo?

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    Cropping Images

    Plenty of free and paid programs allow you to edit and manipulate your photos. Every program on the market has a resize feature, although the name of this feature might vary from “Resize Photo” to “Image Size.” Regardless of the title, they all work the same.


    You can do one of two things to resize your photo. You can crop down the photo so that it is smaller or you can simply resize the entire image. For example, you may want to crop a photo if there are unwanted objects in the background. Cropping allows you to draw a box or circle around the section that you want to keep. To crop a photo, follow these steps:

    1. Click on the “Crop” or “Select” button. Generally, this is what this feature is called.

    2. Once you click on the crop button, your pointer will usually have a little plus sign cross at the end of it.

    3. Start at an upper corner of your subject and draw a box around the area of the photograph that you want to keep.

    4. Press the Enter key or click on “Crop” to remove the rest of the image.

    This will make your image smaller. However, sometimes this is not enough. If you are dealing with a very large file, cropping might not make it very small. In addition, you may want to keep your entire photo. In that case, resize the entire image.

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    Resizing Your Image

    Resizing usually involves changing the physical size of the image or changing the pixel size. You can do either. When you resize your image, you will usually select an option from a dropdown menu. This pulls up the resize dialog box.

    In this box, you should see boxes for “Horizontal” and “Vertical” settings. At the top or side of these boxes, you will usually see “Pixels,” which allows you to change the pixel size, and either “Percentage” or “Inches.” The “Inches” selection changes the actual size of the photo. For example, if your photo is 8” x 10”, you can change it to 3” x 6” to make it smaller.

    The “Percentage” option changes the overall size percentage. All of your photos start at 100 percent. Change your photo to 80 or 75 percent to make it smaller.

    Regardless of how you change the size of your photo, always leave the “Maintain aspect ratio” or “Constrain proportions” option checked unless you are completely positive about your changes. If you do not constrain proportions, then your image may look distorted.

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    Article Reference

    Saltzman, Marc. “Resize digital pictures quickly”,


    Source: Author