Storage is a recurring issue for photographers. That’s especially true as a photographer living in a rural area with poor internet speed. I’m still delivering weddings on USB drives because uploading a few hundred full-resolution JPEGs would literally tie up my internet for a week, while I can snail mail a USB drive and actually have it arrive in a few days. I’ve always scrolled past the ads for JPEGmini, thinking there’s no way to get a smaller file without some sort of impact on quality. But, after just adding yet another external hard drive to stash all my files, I thought, “It couldn’t hurt to try it out, right?”
JPEGmini is a photo compression software that reduces the size of JPEGs while maintaining the file’s actual pixel dimensions. Video was added to the tool last year, and version 3.5 now supports AVC files and MV4, while the software’s overall performance is boosted. I was doubtful about JPEGmini’s claim to reduce file size without impacting overall image quality. But, after testing it, I’m hooked. JPEGmini is an integral tool for any photographer shooting photos for the web.
The Big Picture
JPEGmini does an excellent job drastically reducing the file size of photos without drastically reducing quality. The software cut the size of my JPEGs by more than half, yet the quality was 95 percent of the original. That’s means an incredible difference in upload speed of photos to cloud storage, improving website load times, and more. The app works as a stand-alone or a plug-in with Capture One, Lightroom, or Photoshop, which means photographers can integrate the software into a workflow without exporting twice.
Best of all, JPEGmini isn’t yet another monthly subscription to pay for. It’s $59 for the stand-alone app only, or $89 for the full suite with plug-ins. That includes free updates for one year. After that, existing users receive a 30 percent discount if they want the newest version.
JPEGmini is an excellent tool for resizing photos for the web or backing up photos without paying for a huge amount of cloud storage. But, there are subtle differences in sharpness and detail. These differences are hard to spot when viewing photos on the web or admiring a print from a typical distance. However, pixel peepers may not want to convert all their photos.
I’m giving JPEGmini five out of five stars.
- Reduces file size without a very noticeable difference in image quality
- Plug-ins for Capture One, Lightroom, and Photoshop
- Faster performance than previous versions
- Photo and video support
- Smaller file sizes mean faster web uploads and less money paid for cloud storage
- One-time download: you only need to make a purchase again if you want updates after the first year
- Alas, this is JPEGmini. Your RAW files are still going to hog up space.
- Subtle differences in sharpness and detail when pixel peeping
I tested JPEGmini Pro on a 2021 MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro chip and 32 GB of RAM. The computer is my own; the software is a free trial that anyone can download.
There are dozens of compression programs out there, but JPEGmini works by focusing on the data the human eye can detect. The algorithms reduce redundancies to reduce file size while maintaining image quality. There’s also no user input required unless you want to adjust the dimensions or change where files are saved.
Ease of Use
If you can drag and drop files, you can use JPEG Mini. All you need to do is drag and drop a file, and the software starts working on reducing the file size. I dragged a folder to the program and, within a few minutes, I cut almost 8 GB off a folder of 631 files from the Nikon Z7 II: a 65 percent reduction in file size.
Performance was also quite fast. That same folder of 631 images took less than three minutes to resize. The performance is likely to vary based on the device you’re using — older devices will likely be a bit slower.
The default settings overwrite the original files. But you can head into the settings and tell the program to export the smaller images to a new folder instead. This is handy if you want to keep the originals but resize files for the web.
In settings, you can export to the original size, or you can also reduce the dimensions of the image. Under the original size settings, JPEG Mini reduces the file size but not the actual dimensions — my photos were still 8256 pixels wide but 5.6 MB instead of 13.4 MB. If you want to also reduce the actual pixel width, such as when exporting images for the web, you can set those parameters in the settings.
JPEGmini works as a stand-alone app. However, the software is also available as a plug-in for Capture One, Lightroom, and Photoshop, so you can apply the downsizing as you export instead of using two different programs. I only tested the stand-alone app, but those plug-ins are available for photographers who don’t want to add another step to their workflow.
I resized several different types of images with JPEGmini — portraits, weddings, night landscapes, and macro. I had a difficult time telling the smaller file from the original one on my computer screen at first. But there are subtle differences if you are pixel-peeping at 100 percent.
JPEGmini cut file size by 65 percent yet maintained 95 percent of the quality.
I sent five sample photos, resized and originals, to The Phoblographer staff. Two could pick out the original with 100 percent accuracy by picking up on subtle differences in sharpness and detail.
However, everyone said that they could only tell the difference when pixel peeping at 100 percent. Everyone agreed that online, they wouldn’t have noticed a difference between the two.
I also printed out an original photo and a resized one in an 8×10 at 300 dpi. (JPEGmini says there’s no noticeable difference at 200 DPI, but I wanted to use the print settings that I always use.) The original feels slightly sharper. But, at the typical viewing distance for a wall photo, I can’t pick out which one is the original.
JPEGmini overall does a really good job of maintaining most of the image quality while severely cutting down the size of the image. Only pixel peeping draws out the minor differences. JPEGmini cut file size by 65 percent yet maintained 95 percent of the quality. That’s much better than simply resizing dimensions to cut the file size. I’m keeping my full-size images for prints and client delivery, but JPEGmini is going to be a go-to tool for web photos.
Who Should Buy It?
If you die a little inside every time you turn photos from that expensive, high-resolution camera into 2,000 pixels for the web, then JPEGmini is for you. JPEGmini is an excellent tool for any photographer sharing photos to the web — which, in 2022, is almost every photographer. The software drastically reduces file size without reducing resolution. Viewers are going to notice the speed of the page loading before they notice the minute differences on the resized file.
Would I resize all my archives to JPEGmini? Some, but not all. There are subtle differences if you want to print a really big photo at 300 dpi. I’d readily resize all my snapshots, but, for now, I’m keeping an original of my client photos.
After trying out JPEGmini, I plan to use the software for all my web photos. I’ll also use the software for my cloud backups because I don’t have access to the internet speed to not spend a week uploading a few hundred photos.
Tech Specs and Main Features
JPEGmini lists the following updates that are part of the new JPEGmini Pro Version 3.5:
- Video Resizing: Just like JPEG files, JPEGmini will now resize H.264 (AVC) files!
Creators will now be able to quickly optimize and resize images and videos alike. JPEGmini is the one tool for resizing big batches of content. You can resize by manually setting the dimensions or using custom built in presets (4k, 1080p, 720p).
- Better Video Support: Supporting all types of video formats is a heavy task, that is why we started with the most common format, H.264 (AVC) last year. Since our release of video we have been able to collect more user feedback and improve our video support overall. With this new update, JPEGmini will now also support m4v files.
- Faster Optimization: Improved optimization helps the creative workflow get lighter and faster. The JPEGmini team is always trying to help speed up the process so that creators can use it seamlessly throughout their work. Video features now run faster overall.
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