“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.” - Don McCullin

Whether you’re resizing a photo, adding filters for social media, etc., there are plenty of things you can do to improve a photo. If you want to share them, you’ll need to make sure they’re in the right format. You just need to look at sites like Giphy or 9gag to see just how popular images and gifs can be. The success of these sites also shows that every format has its place in the world. Thus, depending on the size of the image, you can convert images into jpg, gif, png, etc. So how do you do it? Don’t panic, here’s how!

The Different Image Formats

Retouching photos isn’t just about resizing, uploading, changing the number of pixels. You’ll need to choose the right format according to what you want to do with your photos.

Which image file format should I use?
Different file formats have different uses. (Source: Free-Photos)
A jpg or pdf won’t be dealt with in the same way in a photo editing programme. Not every format is used in the same way. A file format, be it an image, audio, or video file, defines what you can do with it. There are plenty of things you can do with photos:

  • Print
  • Send by email
  • Download
  • Transfer using Google Drive or WeTransfer
  • Add into a text document
  • Upload them online
  • Post them on social media
  • And many others!

Every image is firstly a certain file format before its pixels or bytes. Whether it’s a png or bitmap, the file format defines how devices interact with the photo. Converting an image might seem tricky at first, but it will help you do more with your photos. So how do you convert images and why? We’ve got the answers for you here! Don't forget to transfer the photos to your computer first!

What Different Formats Do

When it comes to image formats, you should know what they do. Here are a few of the common image file formats and a comparison of file sizes:

  • Tiff file (uncompressed): 901k
  • Jpeg (high quality): 319k
  • Jpeg (medium quality): 188k
  • Jpeg (web quality): 105k
  • Jpeg (low quality/high compression): 50k
  • Png (lossless compression): 741k
  • Gif (Graphic Interchange Format) (lossless compression, 256 colours): 286k

There's also the bitmap image file format, raw files, vector images, and project file types for programmes like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Indesign, etc, you'll recognise these from their file extension.

How do you convert images on Windows PCs?
To make your photos more accessible, you might want to change the format. (Source: trinhkien91)
Raw files include all the information digital cameras capture and can be useful when working in Adobe Lightroom. However, they're not a great (or necessarily useful) image format for sharing. You'll probably want to export the raw image as a jpeg image, for example. Now that you know a bit more about the file types, you’ll know what each programme prefers. Each extension dictates the type of photo or image you’ve got. Look up fo the best photography courses on here. There’s nothing worse than using a .pdf without knowing whether you can transform it into a .gif, change its resolution, or work on it in Lightroom! In short, knowing your way around the different file formats will help a lot. Additionally, while vector graphics can scale infinitely, but a vector image will probably have huge file sizes. The image quality is also different depending on the file type, so consider what you need the file for. Files too big? Consider resizing the image.

Changing the Format of an Image in Microsoft Windows

On a PC, converting images can be done quite simply. So while you can compress a folder, crop your holiday snaps, rotate a picture, you can also convert jpeg images into pdf files. On Windows, most conversions are done in the same way and in just a few clicks, you can reduce the file size in order to send a family photo in an email, for example. On Windows, it’s quite simple:

  • Select the image you want.
  • Right-click and select “Edit”.
  • Click on the File menu.
  • Click “Save as...” and choose the format you want.
  • That’s it!

Happy with the new format? Join the best photography courses in the UK on Superprof.

Changing the Format on a Mac

On Mac, you can also convert images and it’s just as simple as on a PC. Without any loss in quality, you’ll find your favourite snap under a new format in no time at all. To do this:

  • Choose the photo you want.
  • Select “Export the selected images”.
  • Click on “Options” and you can choose from six different formats.
  • Click on alt ⌥ and you’ll see not six, but 18 different formats to choose from.
  • Choose the format you’re after and you’re good to go!

How do you convert photos on Mac?
Whatever camera you're using, it's easy to convert image files. (Source: pixel2013)
Who would have thought it could be that simple? Of course, that isn’t everything you need to know about retouching photos. Learn more about using blur to get the most out of your photos.

Converting Photos Using Image Editing Software

Large image files or big batches of images can increase download times for emails or even mean that you can’t send them. Choosing the right format can help rectify this problem. You can use photo editing software to change the file type.


GIMP is a great example of a versatile photo editing programme as you can alter photos and images in a number of ways. You can work with pdfs and jpegs in just a few clicks. You won’t need to change the size or anything like that, you can just convert them directly. Drag your photo into the workspace and click on “File” and then “Open”. GIMP, much like some other photo editing software, can only treat one image at a time. At this time, you can also crop the photo, change its size while keeping the ratios, rename the file, etc. This is the joy of photo editing, after all! Let’s get back to the topic at hand! To convert an image in your workspace, you just need to click on “File” and “Export As”. A window will open and you’ll have the opportunity to choose the format you want for your images.

With Office

When using the Office Suite, you can also change the format of images. To change the format, you just need to click on “File” then “Save As”. Get into the habit of saving regularly anyway! From there, you’ll be presented with a plethora of different formats to work with. You can do the same in Word. There’s a decent amount of file types, isn’t there?

Converting an Image with Online Tools

There’s a good number of online tools you can use to convert an image. There’s Conv2pdf, Convertimage, Image Online Convert, resizeit, Image Resizer, Snap Converter, Graphic Converter, and many more to choose from.

How do you convert images for emails?
If you want to share a snap, you might need to convert it. (Source: laura6)
In most instances, you’ll have to:

  • Access the photos through the site.
  • Choose the photo you want to convert.
  • Click on the format you want to convert the image to.
  • Wait while the file is converted and downloaded onto your computer.

So while there are a lot of different file types available, you should know how to convert between them. In just a few clicks, you can be working with pdfs, jpgs, gifs, etc. Give it a go! If you want to learn more about photography or photo editing, you could always get private tuition from one of the tutors on Superprof. There are three main types of tutorial available on the site: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials. Each has its advantages and disadvantages and the best one for you really depends on your situation. Face-to-face tutorials are the most personal and have you and your tutor working together for the whole session. Of course, this bespoke service comes at a cost, making it the most costly type of tutorial available. However, it's also the most cost-effective as every minute of the tutor's time is spent helping you. Online tutorials are similar to face-to-face tutorials with the main difference being that the tutor isn't physically in the room with you. Thanks to services like Skype, a tutor can teach you remotely using a webcam and an internet connection. Since the tutor isn't in the room with you, this can make hands-on skills a little trickier. However, without travel costs, the tutor can charge their student less per hour. Finally, there are group tutorials. In these types of tutorials, there are several students and just one tutor. With all the students sharing the cost of the tutor's time, these tutorials are usually the cheapest per person per hour but each student won't get the bespoke tutoring or one-on-one time that they would in the other types of tutorials.

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