PSD, JPEG, TIFF…the short guide to choosing the right file format for your image.

I have finished editing my photo, and it looks good. I want to save it. Now…what file format to choose? Why are there so many? And most importantly:

which one should I choose?



Don’t ask me! I have no idea!


Well…The formats exist for a reason. And which one you should choose depends on what you want to do with the photo!

I will give a short description of the ones I use:

PSD is Photoshops own format. It saves your image, and your editing: the layers, the history. Perfect if you want to keep working on it! But hat also means that the files are large, and there will be programs that can’t open them. Suitable as long as you stay in PS!

TIFF is your photo, uncompressed. Can be read by every program, and I have used it when I have sent photos that will be printed in a book (to make sure they can use the file in their program).

JPEG is the most common choice when the photo is done. When you save you choose size and quality depending on if you want to print it or share it on the web or send it to someone. Most programs can read it without problems.

PNG is for graphics, line art, or images with a lot of text. It is also perfect for images with transparency or fading (like logos).

PDF is for when I make downloadable price lists or “mini books” with text and images. The files are big, but it looks good!

So, to summon:

Want to make more changes? PSD

Need to send it to someone who might use it in another program? TIFF

Done with your photo? JPEG

Made a logo or an image with a lot of text? PNG

Made a price list that you want people to download? PDF



I’m almost always in JPEG!


Hope that helps a bit! It covers the most common scenarios, and help you avoid little mistakes (like saving an unfinished photo in JPEG…been there, done that!). And when in doubt: save it twice in different formats!

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