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Reducing the file size of JPEG images in order to share them with clients or use them on the Web has always required making a compromise between image quality and how large a file you're creating. However, if you have a piece of software called JPEGmini Pro, this unwanted compromise ceases to exist. JPEGmini Pro is an easy-to-use tool that removes the guesswork from reducing the size of JPEG files. The software, which can be used as a stand-alone application with Mac and Windows or as a plug-in with Lightroom, features a patented optimization technology that shrinks the size of JPEG files by up to 80%, without impacting their perceptible image quality. In other words, it makes your JPEGs up to five times smaller—and they'll look exactly the same.
JPEGmini Pro was designed to meet the needs of professional photographers who require speed and agility in their workflow. The program utilizes up to eight cores for processing, in order to take full advantage of your computer hardware. JPEGmini Pro can also handle photographs that are up to 50MP in resolution, making it compatible with images from the vast majority of digital cameras that you'll encounter today. Plus, the Adobe Lightroom integration enables you to automatically optimize your JPEGs at the exporting stage, which keeps your workflow moving along without adding another step.
The benefits of working with smaller JPEGs are numerous:
The JPEGmini output quality has been tested time and time again, and it never disappoints. Experts can't tell the difference between a JPEG that's been processed by JPEGmini Pro and one that has not. Even prints from a professional, large-format printer are indistinguishable from one another, even when examined under a loupe. JPEGmini Pro provides a relatively simple utility; however, it should be nothing short of a revelation for professional photographers.
I performed a quick test using the stand-alone version of JPEGmini Pro, converting a folder with five JPEG images that came straight from my camera. Before being optimized, the images added up to a total of 27MB. After being processed by JPEGmini Pro, their total size was reduced to 6.5MB. To my eyes, the optimized images and the originals were identical. When you use JPEGmini Pro as a stand-alone app, it will automatically replace your original JPEG files with optimized versions (it will warn you before it does so). The software can also easily be set up to export optimized versions of your JPEGs to a separate folder, keeping your originals intact. This is accomplished by clicking on the "Export to Folder" button in its main interface.
How to use the JPEGmini Pro Plug-in with Lightroom 5
You don't need to go through this process every time you export images from Lightroom. JPEGmini Pro will remain in the post-processing exporting chain until you remove it. This way you can use JPEGmini Pro every time you export JPEGs from Lightroom without any additional effort.
See for Yourself
For the comparison images below, I used one of my painterly effect images. I chose this kind of image because the file sizes of some of these photos can be huge, and I wanted to put the program to the test. I began by bringing an optimized TIFF image into Photoshop. I resized the image and saved it for the Web by going to File > Save for Web. Inside the dialogue box, I chose 100% quality. This created a file size of 1.02MB. Here is where JPEGmini excels by shrinking the image to just 284KB. I would have had to reduce the quality in Photoshop substantially to get the file size lower. You could eliminate all exif data etc., which would reduce the overall size, but under the Metadata drop-down I never have “All” selected. I like to leave my copyright and contact info selected.
When I viewed both files side by side, I could not tell them apart. In fact I had to double-check the file info to make sure that JPEGmini really reduced the file size. The images appeared identical. Have a look for yourself.
Photoshop, Saved for Web at 100% quality, 1400 x 933 (file size 1.02MB)
The image after JPEGmini, 1400 x 933 (file size 284KB)
Now let’s try a bird photograph, where fine feather detail is paramount. I started again with an optimized TIFF file. I brought it into Photoshop and saved it exactly as I did for the above sample images. I was very happy with the result after putting my JPEG image into JPEGmini. I saw no loss of detail at all, even though it converted the original 979KB file to 362KB. For Web viewing, this program is great. I am going to use it for my blog and website. After testing this over and over again, I couldn't find any reason not to use the program. I like that it's simple to use and that it saves me a lot of time.
Photoshop, Save for Web at 100% quality, 1400 x 933 (file size 979KB)
The image after JPEGmini; 1400 x 933 (file size 362KB)
Before using JPEGmini Pro in Lightroom, I reduced JPEGs by moving the "Quality" slider when exporting. I was able to make the files smaller; however, JPEGmini Pro does a much better job of balancing size and quality than I could do—and it takes a lot less time. If you are a busy photographer, this technology delivers faster uploads and downloads, plus it requires less space to store your files.
This is a tool that can benefit nearly every kind of photographer, even those who shoot exclusively in RAW. The JPEG is one of the most prevalent types of image file formats used on the Internet. No matter how you capture images, even if you primarily shoot film, the vast majority of photographers end up working with JPEGs in one way or another. It's not uncommon for photographers to shoot exclusively in JPEG for certain kinds of jobs. This is often the case for wedding photographers who routinely capture more than 7,000 photos in a single session. In situations like these, 50GB worth of images can be shrunk down to 12GB after being optimized by JPEGmini Pro.
There is also standard JPEGmini software that is a desktop application, which is compatible with Windows or Mac OS. It optimizes your photos using the same technology and supports photos with a resolution of up to 28MP. The Pro version features the Lightroom plug-in, and is up to eight times faster than the standard app. JPEGmini Pro runs on Windows XP SP3, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Mac OS X 10.7 or higher. The Adobe Lightroom Plug-in requires Lightroom 5 on Windows, and Lightroom 4 or 5 on Mac.
Whichever version fits your needs, you’ll be sure to have high-quality images at a fraction of their original size.