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Resizing a Nikon D800/e images in Lightroom or Photoshop

There is a lot of worry about the size of files the Nikon D800/e produces, shooting in RAW, my typical file size is approximately 50 MB, that’s big. However, that is unusable for the web or for sending files to my family. For one, what would my parents do with a RAW file? they barely know how to open JPG files. And Secondly, 50MB is simply to large to manage again and again. The Full JPG files, run about 20 MB all by themselves. Inboxes would get over loaded quickly. 

So, we are going to discuss how to use Adobe’s Lightroom and/or Photoshop to accomplish these tasks for us. The Goal is to take a full RAW or JPG file that is on our hard drive and compress it without too much loss of detail to what ever size we want. Here I am going to walk through an example of sending an email to my family members, but you can make adjustments to fit your needs.


Step one: Create an Export Rule. Right Click on the image you want to create the rule on and select “Export”, then “Export…” in the flyout, as seen here. Click the image to see a larger view

Selecting Export

export options 1

Notice  there are two options that are predefined presets regarding email (circled in yellow above) I do not use those as they have really poor resolution (72 ppi – effects print only) settings and would prefer to use my own export settings. 

Export Options

export options 2

  1. Under Export Location I select:
    • My desktop
    • Put in a Subfolder called “To Email”
  2. Under File Naming, I use the default name, but I do rename it before exporting.
  3. Under File Settings, I select:
    • Image Format: JPG
    • Color Space: sRGB, Although, I shoot Raw and capture using Adobe 1998, sRGB works better for emails when I send images to my family
  4. Under Image Sizing I Select:
    • Resize to fit “Megapixels” and target for 1MB. 
    • Resolution 240 (PPI pixels per inch)

For the rest, I sharpen all of my images as part of my normal workflow, so no need to do it here. Metadata and Watermarking are “to taste” but since I am doing a walk through of my exports setting to email, I don’t use these.

Click “Add” in the bottom left of the Export Dialog Box and set this as a preset, call it what ever you like, I am calling mine “Email Export” and I am done. Now, in the future, right click on an image (or set of images) and select Export->”Email Export” handles everything for me. 

You can, of course, modify the export settings above to accomplish any type of desired output, from full resolution jpg’s to thumbnails and everything in between and save them as presets. You’ll notice I have several for the site as well.


Photoshop isn’t nearly as friendly, and it is a “one at a time” process. Generally, if i am working on an image in Photoshop, i save it and then export using Lightroom. but for those of you who only have Photoshop (i recommend getting Lightroom :) here are the steps. These steps are, of course, done after  your normal workflow. 

Select File -> Save for Web

Photoshop Export

Photoshop Export

Because the Nikon D800/e has such large files, its important to know what your target use of the image is. To get to your target size (see bottom left for estimated output size), you’ll need to play with both the “Output Quality” and the Image Size”. For Family, 7360×4912 is simply too big, so, cutting the size here allows me to use a better quality output. Each Adjustment updates the target size (bottom left) to help you size appropriately. 


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