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How to export photos from iPhoto

You’ve cropped a photo using the methods discussed in “How to crop photos in iPhoto”, but you need to export it to a file so you can upload it to a website. How do you control the actual dimensions of the exported file? Watch this video to find out.

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One key to using the “File Export” tab in the iPhoto’s “Export” function (found, not surprisingly, in the “File” menu) is setting the “Size” setting. It will default to “Full Size”, which means your exported file will have either the same number of pixels as the original photo or, if you straightened or cropped the photo, the number of pixels in the edited version.

To export a file of specific dimensions, change the “Size” setting to “Custom” and then set the maximum width, height, or dimension (which means the max height or width). So, if you’ve cropped a photo to 400-by-600 proportions (or 4-by-6 for that matter) and then export with a max dimension of 600 pixels (px), then iPhoto will create a file that is 400 pixels by 600 pixels.

If you need to fine-tune the actual file size (that is, the number of bytes in the file), then play around with the “JPEG Quality” setting. This setting lets you make the tradeoff between image quality and file size. The options are “Low”, “Medium”, “High”, and “Maximum”. Set it closer to “Low” and your file will be smaller (good for fast uploading) but of lesser quality. Set it closer to “Maximum” and your file will be larger but often better looking. I say “often” because it’s sometimes hard to tell between the various qualities, especially between “Maximum” and “High”. For comparison purposes, here’s the same photo in all four quality settings.

Photo with Maximum JPEG Quality

Photo with Maximum JPEG Quality (213 kB)

Photo with High JPEG Quality

Photo with High JPEG Quality (53 kB)

I can barely see a difference between “Maximum” and “High” and am unconvinced that one is better than the other, so for this photo I’d choose the “High” setting. It reduces the file size by 75%, which will save disk space and reduce upload time.

Photo with Medium JPEG Quality

Photo with Medium JPEG Quality (33 kB)

Now I can start to see that the image quality is reduced. Things that are important to me, like my face and hands, have lost some detail in the “Medium” file. Reducing the file from 53 kB to 33 kB doesn’t seem worth it to me in this case.

Photo with Low JPEG Quality

Photo with Low JPEG Quality (16 kB)

Even if this photo wasn’t of me I wouldn’t bother with the “Low” setting. The image quality is now greatly reduced. Although, I have to admit, it is pretty amazing that all the important features are still recognizable and the file is now only 7.5% of its original size!

Finally, iPhoto’s “File Export” function isn’t just for single photos. You can select multiple photos or even one or more albums or events, and then export them all in one action.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Rachel October 13, 2012, 1:48 pm

    Thankyou so much, you have made the whole export of iPhoto so much easier.

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