Your product images are the most important element in your online business’ appearance and product presentation. We cannot stress enough the impact high quality product photos have on the sale of your products and the success of your shop.

Which File Format Should You Use When Saving Your Product PhotosBut there’s more than proper lighting, great background, and a good camera—there’s also image formatting!

This article will help you ensure that your images are of the highest quality and correct format before uploading them to your shop.

What Are The Most Common File Types?


The JPG file format, short for Joint Photographic Experts Group, is the type of image compression that works best with photographs and complex images. JPGs use a compression method that removes non-human-visible colors from images to decrease file sizes. Be careful, though. If you decrease the quality of a JPG too much, you will begin to lose important color information that cannot be recovered.

You can use JPGs for product photos, human portaits, and other images where color variances are important. Do not use JPGs if you need transparency, which is the ability to see through an image and decipher the background behind it. JPGs do not support transparency.

The JPG file format also allows you to save progressive JPGs, which will load in stages. You may have experienced this before when visiting a website and watching as an image slowly loses its blurriness and becomes clearer.


A GIF, or a Graphics Interchange Format, reduces the number of colors in an image to 256, from potentially thousands of colors coming from a digital camera. GIFs also support transparency. GIFs have the unique ability to display a sequence of images, similar to videos, called an animated GIF, which is a series of separate GIF images that are linked together to automatically create motion, or animation.

GIFs can be used effectively for limited-color images, such as logos and graphs, or for images where transparency is important. Do not use GIFs for full-color product photos and staff portraits (for example, where color variances are important), as GIF colors are limited to 256.

Although the GIF format is still in use, it should generally be avoided in favor of the PNG format, which does nearly everything better.


PNGs, or Portable Network Graphics, were created as an alternative to the GIF file format when the GIF technology was copyrighted and required permission to use. PNGs allow for 5 to 25 percent greater compression than GIFs, and they do so with a wider range of colors. PNG file formats also support transparency, but PNGs support variable transparency, where users can control the degree to which an image is transparent. The downside to advanced transparency in PNGs is that not all older browsers will display the transparency the same way.

Aside from the three common Image types we’ve mentioned above, there are still other types of image formats that you need to learn . Check this infographic by Company Folders to see a brief description of each file type:


Quick Tips

  1. Print Graphics: TIFF is the best and only choice for professionals when images are intended for print.
  2. Web Graphics: PNG, JPEG and GIF are the most web friendly image formats there is. JPEG is great for images when you need to keep the size small, such as when you need to upload it online. If you don’t mind compromising the quality of the image a bit, use JPEG. If you want to keep the size small, but still retain the image quality, use PNG. GIF is the worst choice, although file sizes are very small, and they load very fast. Plus, if you want to add animation effects, use GIF.
  3. PC & Mac Compatibility: If you are using Mac or PC, or constantly shifting from one to another, JPEG is the best image format for PC and Mac Compatibility.
  4. Logos & Line Art: JPEG is the worst choice, it tends to add artifacts and blur the text, line and edges. JPEG also cannot support transparency, which is often a need for logos or icons. GIF is a good choice, but it pales in comparison to TIFF and PNG. Both of the latter image formats are lossless, store as much image information, and are not limited to 256 colors, unlike GIF. They also don’t add artifacts (the downfall of JPEG) and keep the logo or line art sharp and concise.
  5. Clip Art: GIF is the best image for clipart and drawn graphics that only use few colors and precise lines & shapes.

With this knowledge you now have an edge to your competitors. How about you? What format do you usually use? Do you like it? Please let us know in the comment box below.

Gary Capps

I live in the one of the most beautiful places in the world on the Sunshine Coast in Australia with my wife and our 2 dogs, Poppy and Mia. Since 2009 I have helped over 15,000 handmade business owners to grow their business with our software and free tools designed for todays entrepreneurial artisan.

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