How to resize your photographs in Adobe Photoshop

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If you are sharing your photographs online, entering a photography competition or e-mail photographs you will most likely need to resize your images first. Whilst digital cameras produce high-quality images, today’s cameras produce large file sizes which can be an issue for certain websites, competitions and e-mail services. Learning how to resize your images correctly is important to ensure a high-quality finish to your photographs before you share them.

In this tutorial, I will show you a quick and simple way of resizing your images in Adobe Photoshop. This tutorial is suitable for most versions of Photoshop, on both Mac and Windows.

1. Start by opening your photograph in Adobe Photoshop. In Photoshop You can do this by going to File > Open and click on the photograph you wish to resize.   If you are an Adobe Lightroom user, you can do this by right-clicking on the image and selecting Edit > Open in Photoshop.
Open image in photoshop
When resizing always do so using the full resolution version of the photograph and that you have finished editing your photograph.

2. Once you have opened the file, go to Image > Image Size. You will be shown the following dialog.
Photoshop Image Size Window

Before proceeding, make sure that the image dialog has the width and height shown in pixels and the Resolution in pixels/inch.

3. Next, make sure that the  “Resample: Bicubic (smooth gradients)” option is selected and that the “chain” icon next to the width and height box is selected. In earlier versions of Photoshop you have to select”Constrain proportions” instead of the chain icon. This ensures that your image stays in proportion, which basically means it won’t look squashed or stretched out.

4. Next, decide what size you want your image. Remember that for images with a portrait orientation, height is the longest length and for landscape orientations, width is the longest length. Next, take the length of the longest side and enter it into the correct box. You will notice that the shorter side automatically adjusts in proportion to the longest.

Photoshop image size window
In the above screenshot, I am editing a landscape orientated photograph so that it is re-sized to 1080 x 720. I have entered the width as 1080 and the height automatically adjusted to 720.

5, Next, change the resolution of your image to the required resolution. For web or e-mail use, 72 pixels/inch is standard. However, you may have been advised to use a different resolution. After changing this, click “ok”.

6. To help ensure a sharp high-quality image, you will now use the Unsharp Mask filter. This is the final step in the process before we shall save the image. To do this, go to Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask. The following dialog pops up.

Photoshop Unsharp Mask
You can use this dialog sliders to help sharpen your image. Firstly, zoom into a more detailed area of the photograph and then slide the “Amount:” slider up or down to adjust how sharp you want your image. Make sure not to overdo it, as overly sharpened images can look just as bad as unsharp ones. For most images, somewhere between 50% to 75% is suitable. For this particular image, I have chosen 60%.
7. Finally, you can now save your image. Do not use the “File > Save” function as this is unsuitable for web use. Instead, select “File > Save for Web”. The following dialog will show up, with your image preview.
Save for web

This dialog is extremely important, as it will allow you to select the final settings for your image. The resolution, colour profile, file format, metadata, quality etc can be selected using this dialog.  Firstly, set your image format as JPEG and then the image quality. I have chosen 80% for my images quality, and I recommend not going below 65%  as anything below this degrades the image quality a lot. Then tick the “Optimized” box. For your colour profiling options, make sure that “Convert to sRGB” is selected as this ensures it is suitable for web browsers, as well as “Preview: monitor color”. For Metadata, select how much information you wish to include; I’ve selected “All” but you may wish to select a different option. Leave your image size options as is.

Click “Save…” and select where you wish to save your image.  Rename your file so you do not overwrite the original full-size version. Under “Format” select “Images Only” and settings as “Default Settings”.

Save Image

All done. Below is my final image.

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How to resize photographs using Adobe PhotoShop

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