When it comes to digital photography hardware and the devices that we use to share our digital photos, there’s a funny disparity in trends. On the one hand, cameras and camera phones are getting better and better and are taking higher resolution photos with more detail and more pixels. But on the other hand, data networks are becoming more restrictive with their data usage and bandwidth. This is especially true now that more users are logging on to the web via mobile devices, such as 4G hotspots, smartphones, 3G tablets and netbooks. So, just because your camera is capable of taking ultra high resolution photos doesn’t mean you should be sending them that way. Here’s why:
1. Data Adds Up
Your average digital camera or smartphone is going to take pictures that are about 1 to 2 MB when left at full resolution. That may not seem like much for emailing a snapshot, but let’s say you send one photo to 20 people for 30 days in a row. That’s 600 to 1,200 MB already.
2. Data is Costly
If you have a 500 MB data plan, then you’re already way over your limit with the above situation. When you go over your limit, your cell phone company will begin charging you overage fees by the MB or the GB, and it’s usually much much more than you pay for your monthly data allotment. Your cell phone or 4G bill is going to be astronomical at the end of the month.
3. Data is a Two-way Street
It’ll cost you data to send a photo, but it’ll also take data for your friends and family to receive the photo. If they are viewing your emails on a smartphone, then this could have disastrous consequences for them. Or, they may just opt to skip your attachment all together once they see how large it is.
4. Our Screens Aren’t That Big
An iPhone 3GS takes 2048x1536 pixel pictures at its default setting. Meanwhile, that same phone has a display that’s only 480x320 pixels. You do the math.. Even when you’re viewing full screen, you’re wasting much of that resolution. That’s even true for photos being viewed on a desktop. Most people won’t bother viewing it full screen, and frankly, you don’t have to in order to get the full effect of the snapshot. High resolutions are really only necessary if you are printing photos.
5. Networks and Computers Are Slow
Some of us check our email on ancient Windows XP computers or work machines that are bogged down by all manner of background services and other programs that slow down Outlook or Internet Explorer or whatever it is we use to view photos. As such, a photo over 1 MB just might lock up the computer when you try to view it--especially over a VPN connection or some other proxy. Keeping file sizes small helps older machines from having a heart attack when viewing photos.
So, before you go sending your photos in full res, take five seconds and batch resize them using Picasa. You can simply select multiple photos then click File | Export and choose a smaller size. This won’t alter your originals, it’ll just create smaller versions of the file that can be sent over email without bringing data networks down.