In our digital age everything is connected or can be connected from cell phone to computer, to printer, and of course your digital cameras. You have been connecting your digital cameras to your computer and might have saving some photo files over the internet as well. But haven’t you noticed the file formats they used? TIFF? JPEG? GIF? What are they and their differences? Do they matter anyway?
More than just regular photos the three photo formats are different from each other and here are some basic things you need to know about it. Locating my photo format
First and foremost you have to know the file format of your saved photos and you can usually locate it at the end of the file name or the extension when you save it. It may be in the .tiff, .gif or .jpeg. Another option also is by right clicking your photos and selecting properties. A window will prompt and in here you can check the file type of your photos.
Next before understanding the differences of the three photo formats, it is better to know first what compression is all about since it is very much related to it. Compression makes it possible for very large photos to be reduced in a smaller size. A compressed file may be easier to send over the internet since it takes up a smaller size as compared to an uncompressed file. Lossy and lossless are the two basic types of compression for image files. Lossy usually lose its image data every time it is compressed while lossless doesn’t.
Now that you know about compression you can understand the three popular photo file format lingo of giff, tiff and jpeg. GIFF
This first photo format stands for graphics image format or graphics interchangeable format. GIFFS are commonly used for moving images or those animated pictures you see over the internet. They are also lossless data so they don’t lose its image when compressed. GIFF appear to look good over the web but not suitable if one decide to print it because it only carries 256 colors. TIFF
Uncompressed tiff file is the most common version of this. It is usually a very large file and will probably take up so much space since it captures everything from the image sensor of your camera. However this file format has no loss and file degradation but since the file type is so large, you can only take few photos when you used it as your file type for your digital cameras. This is not an advisable photo file format to use for email or sending something over the internet. JPEG
JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group a group who developed this famous photo file format. We commonly see this file format since it is the default file format for most digital cameras. However this photo file format uses lossy compression so every time you save a JPEG file, the quality of image degrades. You won’t really notice the degradation unless the file has been saved multiple times. JPEG can be adjusted through the cameras mega pixel. A lower mega pixel may enable you to store more images since it compressed and saved into a smaller jpeg file format while a higher mega pixel gives you a higher and better image quality of a larger jpeg file suitable for printing.
Solution to file degradation
Most probably you will be using and storing images of the JPEG file so here are some quick fix to avoid photo degradation of your file.
1. Change your JPEG file to TIFF file when saving it on a CD. Very easy to do with Windows XP or any photo software.
2. Edit JPEG at once only so you won’t need to save it over and over again. Remember saving it multiple times degrade the image quality so do all the editing and save it at once.
3. Use a photo editing software when you want to tweak or edit your images and save it to its default format (like psd for Photoshop). In this case you don’t lose the quality of your image and re-edit whenever you want just make sure you have the program when you want to open it again. Once you are done with all the editing you can finally save it in JPEG format.
Now that giff, tiff and jpeg are no longer alien to your lingo you can now start saving photos of your file format preference. Just keep in mind the things you want to do with your photo. Whether your printing, saving or sending it over the internet there is always an option for every precious photo that you have.