With Digital Camera Files, Bigger IS Better

Written by stuestler on November 15th, 2010

At a recent conference I attended, I was taking some photos, and one of the people involved asked me to email her some copies. I explained that I would as soon as I had a chance to download the images, process them (I always shoot RAW files) and make an email-freindly sized copy. She wondered what I was talking about – why do I need to go through all that? When she takes pictures in her digital camera, they email just fine.

Here’s what I told her:

One of the most common mistakes I see among beginning photographers can start before you even leave the house – it’s not setting the image quality in your camera to the highest quality.

Don’t worry – it’s not just you – even pros need to remember to check their camera settings before each shoot. Otherwise we could be happily shooting away and realize halfway through that we have our image quality set to a low quality we happened to use the other day for some obscure reason.

Here’s why it’s important to use the highest image quality setting your camera has. The bigger the file size from the camera, the better the photo will look and the larger you can print it. While it’s simple and easy to reduce the size of your photo for emailing or putting it on the web, if you start out with a small web-sized file and try to make it bigger, the image quality will just fall apart. You’ll probably even be able to see the individual little square pixels in the photo.

There are a number of computer programs for working on your photos which can reduce a large file for web and email use. Many are very inexpensive and some are even free!

Just be sure to save the new, smaller image with a different name – always use “Save As” and rename it, never just “Save” or you’ll lose the original file. And for that matter, always make a copy of the original photo file and save it as a backup somewhere so you’ll always have it, even if you do accidentally click “oops”.

And here’s the thing – you never really know which photo might be “THE SHOT” – the one you’ll want to show everybody, make into a poster, maybe even be able to sell – until after you’ve pressed the shutter and see the picture, often not even until you can look at it large on a computer screen.

So treat every shot as though it will be that potential favorite and set your camera to the highest image quality setting it has. The more you learn from the instructors on your Premier Photo To

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