Reduce your JPEGs with JPEGmini

JPEGmini Hero

It’s not often that that you try a piece of software that completely blows you away. With apps and software available for everything under the sun, it’s rare that something new comes along that you find absolutely essential.

For me, that piece of software is JPEGmini, an amazing mac/pc application (and Lightroom plugin) that uses patented image optimisation technology to reduce the file size of photos significantly (up to 80%), while preserving their full resolution and quality.

The Jpeg (JPG) is a compressed image file format that has been around since 1991 as the standard for image use on the Internet, email and personal image storage. There are many ways to reduce the size of a jpg, via Photoshop, Lightroom or the myriad of other image editing applications, but more often than not this results in a visible reduction in image quality.

That is, until now.

If you don’t have time to read the rest of the review, this is all you need to know: JPEGmini is without a doubt the most amazing piece of  software I’ve come across since I first used Photoshop 10 years ago. In my opinion, it is essential.

Since waking up this morning, I’ve reduced the size of my entire photo backup library on my main iMac (and 4tb Mybook WD external hard drive), my partner’s Macbook Air and my old and decrepit Macbook… saving over 26gb in hard drive space!

You might say, what’s the point in this? Storage is so cheap these days! Why would I need to save space? Well, I’m glad you asked!

Benefits of JPEGmini

1. Saving Hard Drive Space Yes, storage these days may be cheap, but for those of us using the Macbook Air and other solid state drive (SSD) based computers where internal drive replacement is expensive, storage is most certainly not cheap! (Incidentally, the Macbook Air is my favourite laptop, and dare I say favourite gadget I own. I highly recommend it!)

Here’s an example of a folder containing 652 high resolution images that I’d normally keep as a backup. On the left is before using JPEGmini, and on the right, after.

Size comparison JPEGmini
Before/After using JPEGmini to reduce file sizes of High Resolution JPGs – Size saving of 49%

Bottom Line: JPEGmini has reduced my Lightroom JPEG backup catalogue by 1/3. ONE THIRD! With no noticeable loss in quality. 2. Saving USB Drive Disk Space

Wedding photographers, you’re going to love this! Ever tried to squeeze 11gb worth of client JPGs onto your 8gb USB thumb drive? Of course you have! With every new camera release, it seems like with all the new mega pixels, our file sizes are doubling and doubling – Nikon D800 and D810 users in particular, I sympathise!

Anyway, from now on, when I deliver HIGH RES photos to my clients, I use the JPEGmini Lightroom plugin (more on this later) to export my photos at half the size of what they would have been having used my previous export method, and easily fit every file onto my USB thumb drive.

Bottom Line: JPEGmini has meant I don’t need to order any costly new USB thumb drives. I can now provide the exact same quality of photo, at over half the file size.

3. Increasing Computer Speed

No matter what computer set up you’re running, if your hard drive has more space, it will run faster and more efficiently. This is especially apparent on devices with limited hard drive space, such as laptops, and again, the excellent Macbook Air.

If you have folders containing large amounts of JPG images on your desktop (waiting to ftp to clients etc), reducing the file sizes here will result in faster boot times and computer operation, particularly on older devices.

Bottom Line: JPEGmini has sped up my laptop by increasing my available hard disk space.

4. Increasing Site Speed

This one is huge for me, and will be for anyone else who relies on their website to earn a living.

The fact of the matter is, the faster your website the better. Fast websites are good for visitors (particularly impatient brides who load 5 wedding photographer sites at once!), and good for Google. Google places importance on site load speed  as part of their ranking algorithm. 

When I first saw what JPEGmini could do, I immediately started JPEGmini’ing all the photos on my personal website, reducing each file by around 50%, and speeding up average load times by… a crapload!

Below are the results of a page speed test by Pingdom on a Shotkit page, before and after using JPEGmini to reduce the file size of 12 JPGs.

 

Before using JPEG mini
After using JPEGmini – a 35.5% increase in page load speed!

Bottom Line: JPEGmini will help your site run faster. Much faster. If your site has multiple images, you need JPEGmini.

Have I convinced you yet? Honestly, this is the first time I’ve tried a piece of software and within 1 minute, yelled at my computer…

Shut-up-and-take-my-money

No Reduction in Quality

OK, let’s backtrack a bit – I still haven’t shown you what JPEGmini actually does! I’m still speechless since the first time I saw JPEGmini reduce one of my JPGs to almost 1/2 its original size with absolutely no reduction in quality, so I’ll let the images do the talking.

Example 1

Backlit photo with strong shadow adjustment and exposure boost applied in Lightroom. Before using JPEGmini, the image was 415kb. After using JPEGmini, the image is 220kb. Before=top; After=bottom.
Before Photo

After PhotoConclusion: 46% size reduction with no visible loss of image quality!

Example 2

Let’s try something more colourful. Contrast and shadows had been boosted, and highlights and whites reduced in Lightroom. Before using JPEGmini, the image was 670kb. After using JPEGmini, the image is 300kb. Before=top; After=bottom.

Before Photo 2

After Photo 2Conclusion: 55% size reduction with no visible loss of image quality!

Example 3

Let’s do some pixel peeping. This photo was taken with a Nikon D800, a 36.3 mega pixel DSLR, and has had minor exposure correction and contrast boosting in Lightroom. Here’s the original image, resized for this post of course.

Original

Here’s a zoom at around 100% for you to play spot the difference again:

Before4

After4Conclusion: Even at a 100% zoom, there is no discernible loss in image quality.

If you’d like to have a mess around with the high resolution JPG files, you can download them here. Incidentally, the difference between the before and after high res files is 19.3mb vs 7.8mb, a 59% reduction in file size :-)

The Software

There are currently two main pieces of software available – the JPEGmini app and the JPEGmini Lightroom plugin. (There’s also a server solution but I won’t go into it here.)

The JPEGmini app is super simple to install and use on a Mac or a PC – just drag and drop the photos or folders you’d like to process into the window and the JPEGmini app will do its thing. It also keeps a running tally of the amount of space you’ve saved, which is very satisfying to see!

JPEGmini App The JPEGmini Lightroom plugin is only available with the JPEGmini Pro version. I haven’t mentioned the regular version of JPEGmini in this review, since I only dealt with the Pro version. The reason being, I, like so many other photographers out there, use Lightroom for my post production, so the JPEGmini Lightroom plugin (which only comes with the Pro version) was a no brainer. All you have to do is install it via Lightroom’s plugin manager, and that’s it!

Now, every JPG I export is automatically reduced in size by around 50%, retaining all its visual quality.

JPEGmini Lightroom plugin
The JPEGmini Lightroom plugin requires no setup whatsoever.

 

Here’s a comparison of the differences between the regular JPEGmini and the Pro version. You’ll notice that the Pro version is up to 8x faster than the regular version. I wasn’t able to confirm this since I went straight for the Pro version, but let me tell you – the Pro version absolutely flies.

 

The Lightroom plugin is only included with JPEGmini Pro.

 

This is especially noticeable on a computer with multiple cores, as JPEGmini pro utilises all the CPU cores in your computer simultaneously, shrinking your photos at amazingly high speeds.

Conclusion

So there you have it. I don’t really know what else to say – JPEGmini has left me speechless! I can whole heartedly recommend JPEGmini to anyone who stores, uploads or sends JPG images.

I don’t know what kind of voodoo black magic the guys at JPEGmini have used to be able to do something that not even the boffins at Adobe have come close to, but I’m so grateful that an advancement like this has been made in digital imaging.

The only reason I haven’t given JPEGmini a 10/10 score for ‘functionality’ is the fact that they haven’t got any options for Photoshop (yet). I have a Photoshop droplet set up for resizing images for my sites, and I’d love to be able to integrate a Photoshop JPEGmini action into it.

Anyway, my prediction is that JPEGmini will be bought out by Adobe within the year :-)

Support Shotkit by buying your copy of JPEGmini from B&H Photo – currently the best price available.

Writing and researching this post took quite a bit of time. If you enjoyed it and would like me to write more, do me another favour and hit the Like button and share it over your social media networks.

If you’d like to receive more of these reviews directly to your inbox when they’re published on Shotkit, enter your details below for the free weekly(isn!) Shotkit newsletter.

[wysija_form id=”5"]

Disclaimer: The JPEGmini links included in this post are affiliate links. This will not affect your JPEGmini purchase in anyway whatsoever. It just means that if you choose to buy JPEGmini from B&H Photo by clicking on the links, I will receive a small percentage which helps to pay the running costs of this site. I’m grateful for your support.

Review by Sydney Wedding Photographer and founder of Shotkit Mark Condon

PHOTOGRAPHY BOOK

9 Functionality

10 Usefulness

10 Speed

10 Value for Money

9.8

30 Comments

  • Well, new is wrong. I don’t know how long JPEGmini has been around, but I installed my first version about a year ago. On the other hand I only have the regular version so maybe the pro version ist new. And in the end that’s just nitpicking anyway…
    I’m still amazed by how much better JPEGmini’s compressing algorithm is than everything else I have seen. In my experience most of the files are a little less than half the size of the JPEGs from Photoshop, ACR, Lightroom, iPhoto or out of cam from every camera I ever had.

  • Thanks for this review. I just came across this piece of software and I immediately had to search for real reviews to make sure this was true. I will be purchasing and applying reduction to my client work and personal work. Thanks!

    • Glad to hear it Otto. Yep it’s a great piece of software that I use pretty much everyday. So far I’ve saved over 60gb with it :-)

  • I love this little thing!

    Honest question: Do you think giving the compressed files to clients is an okay idea?

    Given the fact that there isn’t any visible compression, do you think there’s still something lost in the file size that might make it a problem with printing? (I shoot weddings).

    • Hey there. I shoot weddings too and have been delivering JPEGMini files for a couple of years now with no issues whatsoever. I use the files in albums for print too.

      • Hey thanks for the quick reply! Yeah, I really want to use these compressed files because they help with upload speed as well. I guess I’ll see how these will work out. Cheers!

  • Quick question, if I shoot in raw would the Lightroom plugin still work? Or I would need to export my photos to JPG’s and then convert them? Thanks!!

    • Hi Chana, this software only works with JPEGs. However, regarding your question, you would export the RAW files as JPEGs via Lightroom and the plugin would work at the same time, converting those files being exported. I hope that makes sense! Cheers, Mark

  • Hi Mark,

    Thanks for your review.

    I understand your enthousiasm when you have a heavy jpeg-oriented flow. What I don’t really get personally is why the jpeg format became so heavilly over and mis-used.
    From people who are not really in any image processing business, I understand. But even by professionalls?

    I mean, for client preview purposes it’s of course essential to have a good balance between quality and size.
    But for final “high-res” print-output? Why anyone would even want to lose quality with such a lossless file format is really beyond me. I find it such an -unnecessary- waste of quality, no matter “how small”, of those precious moments captured..

    • Hey Mike! I assume you’re talking about commercial (advertising etc) photography? Yes, in that case RAW or PNG or whatever lossless format would be best but in most cases I think JPEG is completely adequate. What format do you deliver to your clients?

  • The obvious 1st use of JPEGmini for me would be down-sizing images to e-mail. Am I correct in assuming that I could e-mail twice as many good images with this software. With my D800, I regularly reduce image size & quality significantly to sent pictures.

    • Yep I think that’s be fine Doug. With Mac’s mail it automatically reduces the size of images for email, but if you used this software first, the final image size could become even smaller.

  • There IS a reduction in quality. I didn’t notice a difference in resolution, but in the contrast. The blacks are no where near as black. For web use this is probably fine, but I’d not recommend it for wedding photographs that might be printed.

    • AH really? I’ve never noticed anything and I regularly print albums for my clients at 12 x 12″. Thanks for the feedback though – it’s interesting to hear everyone’s experiences so people can make balanced buying decisions.

    • That was the first thing I noticed in Mark’s 100% zoom in on the sunglasses. The colors were also a bit faded compared to the original. But with out looking at the originals.. they look fine.

  • I have no disagreement that JPEGmini is awesome. I just bought it, downsized over 4,000 photos, and saved over 5GB. Very impressive.

    HOWEVER, I just discovered ImageOptim, which is free, equally easy to use, and seems to do everything JPEGmini does, plus it can handle PNG files… Sigh…

    So, I just wrote to JPEGmini and asked for a refund!

    Any thoughts?

  • Hi Mark,

    Thank you so much for this tip! I was wondering what resolution photos you post to your website? I have been posting my photos at 1000px on the long edge with a few at 1200px to save on file size. Using JPEG mini I could export larger resolution images, am I shooting myself in the foot by posting smaller images on my site?

    Thank you,

    Fredy

    • Hey Fredy! Glad you found this tip useful. I upload images to Shotkit at 580px on the long edge. I choose this size to keep the site running as fast as possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *