Using high quality photography of your artwork on your website is essential, but high-resolution images are often very large in file size. A typical photograph taken on a digital camera is usually between 1MB and 10MB, depending on your camera’s settings. This is fine for printing, but files of this size can drastically slow down your website if uploaded without any optimisation.
Large image files can also cause issues when you need to email them, as many email providers limit attachment file sizes. You may run into other problems too when submitting photos to art competitions. Often their online submission forms will limit the sizes of the images they will accept.
Unoptimised Images Will Slow Your Website Down
The main issue however is that large images take longer for web browsers to download and display to your website visitors, especially for those with slower internet connections. If your website displays a lot of unoptimised photos, it is highly likely to slow your page loading times. This will frustrate your visitors and cause many to leave your website.
According to research by KissMetrics, ‘47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less‘ and ‘40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load‘. So in this era of short attention spans and high expectations, your website simply must perform well.
Artwork Image Optimisation is Easy (and Free)
Fortunately, some very basic image optimisation can trim image file sizes by up to 85% (and occassionally even more) with very little effort. Even basic optimisation of your artwork images will reduce the chances of your website loading slowly and help retain your visitor’s attention!
What’s more, you can achieve these reductions in image file size with zero loss of image quality. Your images can look just as good and stay the exact same size and resolution, but with the file size trimmed right down and loading speed boosted.
There are different ways to achieve this, but I use TinyJPG which is a very simple, web-based image optimisation tool. Not only is it free, but it requires no downloads or software to use (for up to 20 images at once). It works by taking your images, compressing them down and providing optimised versions for you to download. It doesn’t reduce the quality, change the dimensions, edit the colours or have any visible impact on the image.
How do I Know if I need to Optimise my Images?
If you are not sure whether your current website images could be optimised to improve performance, visit tinyjpg.com/analyzer and enter your website URL. TinyJPG will analyse your website’s images and show you how much you could reduce your image file sizes by.
Below is a sample analysis of our website for artist Colin Williams, before we optimised his homepage images. It shows we could reduce the size of those nine images by 65% by using TinyJPG. This would in turn shave off 4.4 seconds of website loading time.
After a quick optimisation, here is an updated analysis of Colin’s homepage. As you can see, it shows the images now total just 1.6MB and very little further improvements can be made to the loading speed.
If you have recently taken some new photos of your art, or had a photoshoot with a photographer, it is also likely your new images could do with some optimisation. In my experience, some photographers optimise their photos for web and others don’t. Either way, it’s easy to do yourself!
Finally, take a look at your website’s image files sizes. Any images over 500kb each (0.5MB) should be optimised if possible. You want the files to be as small as possible without losing quality.
How to use TinyJPG to Reduce Image File Sizes Without Losing Quality
Using TinyJPG to reduce your art photo file sizes is very simple, free and quick. In this example, I’ll optimise some images from the website of Colin Williams, an artist from Leicestershire.
I suggest starting by organising all of the images you wish to optimise in a single folder on your computer. Create a folder and name it something like My Website Images 2018. Within this folder create two sub-folders such as Original Images and Optimised Images. This will help you distinguish between them before you upload the optimised copies to your website.
Add all of your photos to be optimised to the Original Images folder. In this example, I have copied 8 photos of Colin’s still life pieces into this folder.
Visit tinyjpg.com and click in the dotted box next to the Panda.
This will bring up a pop-up box showing the files on your computer. Navigate to your folder of images waiting to be optimised. You can choose PNG or JPEG files.
Select all of the images you wish to optimise and click ‘Open’.
This will immediately begin the optimisation process. It should only take a second or two per image. TinyJPG will provide some very satisfying numbers showing how much data they have saved you. In my example below you can see TinyJPG reduced the image file sizes by 85% on average, which is a total of 20MB of data from just eight photos.
Next click the ‘download’ links to save the new optimised images to your computer individually. Or if you optimised a lot of images, click the green ‘Download All’ button to download them all in one go. This will save a folder of the images to your downloads folder on your computer.
Open up your Downloads folder, locate your optimised images or folder and copy them to your Optimised Images folder. This will keep the two sets clearly defined and will prove useful as the images and file names appear exactly the same. You could also rename the newly optimised images to make it clearer still, if it helps.
Now you have your freshly optimised images saved to your computer ready to be uploaded to your website, used on social media, submitted to art competitions and more. Easy!
Here is ‘Anenomies on Red‘ by Colin Williams from my above example. There is no difference whatsoever in quality, dimensions or resolution, but a vast reduction in file size!
Restrictions of TinyJPG
Although it is an excellent free tool, TinyJPG does have a couple of restrictions with the free version. Each image cannot exceed 5MB to begin with and you can only optimise 20 images at once. However, you can optimise 20 images, download them and refresh TinyJPG.com to do another 20 for free, over and over.
If you need to optimise images larger than 5MB or more than 20 at once, they also have a premium subscription option for $25 a year.
Other Methods of Optimising your Images
If you need to optimise images often, it may be worth investing in TinyJPG’s plugins to add this functionality directly to your WordPress website or Photoshop software.
1. Reduce Image File Sizes in Photoshop
If you prefer to optimise your images from within Photoshop, TinyJPG offer a plugin for $50. This plugin enables you to optimise your images within Photoshop and export them fully optimised, without the need for uploading and downloading from the TinyJPG website. For details about their Photoshop plugin visit: tinyjpg.com/photoshop.
2. Reduce Image File Sizes in WordPress
Alternatively, if your website runs on WordPress and you are comfortable installing and using plugins, TinyJPG also offer a free plugin. This can be set up to automatically optimise your images as you upload them to the media library. You can download their plugin here: wordpress.org/plugins/tiny-compress-images/
Disclaimer: I am in no way affilliated with, or paid by TinyJPG. I’m simply a big fan of their tools!