How To Resize Images Using iPhoto [Mac]

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If you ever couldn’t email a digital photo or post it up on a website, typically it was because the image was too large in size. Even a standard 3 megapixel size iPhone photo, with the dimension of 768 x 1024 may be too large for posting on an online forum, though its resolution size may be under 1MB. Or you might try to put a set of 3-5 megapixel photos in a folder but discover they’re too large for emailing. So what do you do?

Well, we have seen earlier that your Mac also gives you three different apps that can help you quickly resize images. But it also helps if you know something about resizing images with iPhoto for various purposes.


The best and fastest way to resize photos on your Mac is to use iPhoto. It’s an application that comes installed in the iLife suite of most new Mac computers. If it didn’t come installed on your Mac, and you don’t think you take enough photos to purchase the application, there are still two other applications, namely Preview, included by default as part of OS X that you can use.

Checking Image Size

With iPhoto 11, you can not only quickly email an image right from within the application, but you can also find out the size of the images you’re resizing. In iPhoto’s menu bar, at the bottom of the application, you need to click the Info button to find out the image type and size of a selected photo, as well as other metadata.

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In my screenshot above, the image is in RAW format, the largest size format next to TIFF that some digital cameras can produce. Notice the dimensions and actual file size of the photo are much too large for emailing or posting on a website. In order to send an image this size to someone, you would need to post it in a file sharing service like Dropbox so it can be downloaded.

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Most cameras produce by default JPEG formatted photos, which means that the images are compressed to reduce the size. In the above screenshot, the dimension and file size of the photo is smaller. However, it might still be too large for emailing, especially if you want the receiver of the email to be able to comfortably view the image in their mail application or on an online gallery or forum. So it must be resized.

Mail Resizing In iPhoto

There are two ways to resize images in iPhoto ’11. Again, at the bottom of iPhoto, there’s a Share button, and in the pop-up menu you can select Email. Your selected photo(s) will get resized and placed in a stationary template.

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You can of course change the template and size of the photo placed in the email.

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In my selected photo, the Full Quality Actual Size of the RAW photo is over 7MB. The Large (Higher Quality) size is 797KB, the Medium size is 362.29KB, and the Small (Faster Downloading) size is 281.29KB.

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With this method, all you have to do is select the smaller size for emailing, especially since the photo is placed in a stationary template. You can try sending the Full size if you know the receiver wants to reprint the image and has a fast Internet connection to be able to download it.

Export Resizing From iPhoto

If you don’t want to send your selected photo(s) in a stationary template, there are two other ways in iPhoto to resize images. Select File > Export.

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This method provides a little more control over how you resize your images. In the first pop-up menu, Kind, you can select to change the format of the photo from say RAW to JPEG or PNG, or you can keep it in its Original format. The Current format means that when you import RAW images in iPhoto and then edit them, they will get exported as compressed JPEG images. You wouldn’t want to email or post a RAW image unless you know the receiver could process the image with an image editor like iPhoto or later versions of Photoshop. Most Internet service providers don’t allow for significantly large size attachments in an email.

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If you want the receiver of your image(s) to be able to print your image, you would leave them at the highest quality and size that you possibly can for emailing or posting them to say a photo sharing site. So where it says JPEG Quality, Small would be for emailing and publishing to websites for viewing purposes only. The Medium size is also not for printing, but it provides a higher quality image to recipients who have a fast Internet connection, such as DSL.

The Large size is suitable for printing standard-size photos (2 by 2, 2 by 5, and 4 by 6 inches.) The recipient would need a fast Internet connection, or you would need to post the image(s) on a file sharing service like Dropbox.

The Full size should be used for making high-quality prints of an acceptable size or to post in a web gallery, in which recipients can download and print. Typically, JPEG images this size are a couple of megabytes.

There are other applications, like Photoshop, and Apple’s Preview that provide even more control over resizing photos. For Windows users, check out Simon’s article on resizing photos on Windows.

Let us know how resizing photos in iPhoto works for you. Or if you have found another useful way to resize images, let us know about it.

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