What is the best way to save a JPEG file in Photoshop?

Currently, I click save as, change format to JPEG, then the JPEG options screen pops up, I set it a large file with quality at "12" and "maximum" and "progressive". Now the size of my file is currently 530KB. My boss wants the file to be closer to 1MB. Is there a way to increase the file size?

How can I actually know if a picture I am saving in Photoshop is actually considered a great image quality file? My understanding is that the bigger the file size, the better in quality. Is this true?

  • What's the usage of the jpg after it's saved??? There is no "best way". There may be preferred methods for specific uses though.
    – Scott
    Commented Sep 16, 2018 at 3:28
  • There is no such thing as best setting
    – joojaa
    Commented Sep 16, 2018 at 9:29
  • Your boss wants you to double the image size in kilobytes? Of course there exist bosses who have got their place via nepotism or belonging to the right party or both, but let's assume he is a competent professional. Then I bet he wants sharper image and that needs larger pixel dimensions. He can well remember that some 1Mbyte files have looked out sharp enough. Increasing the filesize without adding information makes no sense (except as formally fulfilling some unknown business agreement). Ask him - not, how he has got his place, but what is the technical reason.
    – user82991
    Commented Sep 16, 2018 at 11:19
  • its purpose is for online posting...I would like to know the save settings that I described above, is that the best way of saving a JPEG file?
    – Jas Gill
    Commented Sep 16, 2018 at 13:32

2 Answers 2


Your basic assumption is false. Image filesize does not at all prove how high quality (=sharpness) it has. Blur an image and add grainy noise to it. Then save it with the same JPG compression level than the original. The result can have the same or more likely bigger filesize than the original.

Another example: An image with few details, for example one flat color surface can be compressed to a fraction of the filesize of an uncompressed image with no visible errors due the compression.

Example 3: A camera can produce uncompressed photos which have filesize about 20MBytes. If one makes them JPGs with compression level that causes less compression artefacts than the lens of the camera made errors, the filesizes of the JPGs can well be about 2MBytes depending on how complex the photographed subject was, but the compression did not reduce at all the subjective quality.

The only good way to compare the quality of 2 images without seeing them is to compare their pixel dimensions. A 100x100 px image have room for 10000 pixels of information and 1000 x 1000 px image has room for 1000000 pixels of information. The latter image has a potential to be much sharper.

But is it sharper depends on the content. If both have only the same flat single color, there's no difference. Also if the latter is made by resampling the smaller one to 1000% pixel dimensions, it can maximally be as sharp as the smaller, because there's no more information. The smoothing in the resampling (if used) more likely makes it subjectively very blurry altough it doesn't remove much information.

If the 1000x1000px image is the original, the content is a rich landscape and the 100x100 image is a resampled version, we can reliably say the 100x100px version is unsharper.

Thus comparing the pixel dimensions gives only some limit how high quality the image can possibly have if the image is complex, sharp and nobody has spoiled it. The ability to make estimates grows with the experience.


Three Stages of Compression For Best Results

Image quality isn't measured by file size, although the less the compression, the larger the file size tends to be. However, a badly compressed image, which has poor quality, can be larger in size than a well-compressed image with an unnoticeable quality loss.

To get the image to be the best quality vs size do this:

  1. Make the image dimension the smallest it needs to be.
  2. Save the file at different compressions and see which gives you the best quality vs file size. This will be different for each image.
  3. Now take it to something like TinyPNG to see if you can reduce the file size even more without loss of quality.

Experiment with that to see what produces the best result.

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