There’s no getting around it. To get your podcast to grow, one of these days, you’ll have to learn how to resize an image. This might be sending your podcast’s information to a newsletter, adjusting your cover art to the right specs, or selling merchandise for your show. Fortunately, as graphic design technology changes, re-purposing your podcast’s content becomes simpler. But, to have the most control, you need to learn a few things. You can’t just say, “Alexa, re-size my image,” and expect it to happen.
In this article, I’ll show you how to resize an image in four simple ways. You’re guaranteed to have the software to use at least one of them so that it won’t cost you anything!
Before I dive into ways and means, let me clarify a few things.
A pixel is one of the tiny dots that make up an image.
Graphic designers describe image density as dpi, or dots (pixels) per inch. This shows you how detailed the image is. Usually, the images you see on a website are 72 dpi. For print, images need to be at least 300 dpi.
When we talk about how big or small an image is, we can talk about how wide or high it is, what the dpi is, and how much data is in it. For example:
This image is 200 pixels wide by 252 pixels high, with a dpi of 72. It takes up 115 kb on disk.
This image is 200 pixels wide by 252 pixels high, with a dpi of 300. It takes up 131 kb on disk.
These differences may seem meaningless, but:
- If you plan to repurpose your podcast art on promotional items or merchandise, you want to use at least 300 dpi images.
- When you use the images on the Internet, you want your images to be smaller so they can load faster. Also, some email programs (such as Gmail) will cut off the email after it hits a certain file size. When you want your audiences to be able to see your images immediately without having to click, make sure your images are optimized for the Internet, not print.
If you’re more concerned about file size than how the image fits into the overall design, make sure you have the right dpi, and then pick “percentage” instead of “pixels.” This way, you can enter 50 to make it half as big, 200 to make it twice as big, and so on.
You’ll see there’s a little lock connecting the “width” and “height” values. This is your friend. It keeps the proportions linked, so you don’t end up with an image that’s stretched one way or the other like a fun house mirror.
Besides, look at that beautiful doggy face. How could you let that get warped?
Resize an Image with MS Paint or Mac Preview
You likely already have one of these programs on your computer. These help the operating system manage screenshots and images, and they can help you, too.
Use Mac Preview to Resize an Image
Right-click (or control-click) the image you want to re-size. Select “Open With” and then “Preview.”
The icons you want to click on first are Markup and Resize. They look like this:
Once the image opens, click on the icon for the Markup menu.
When the Markup toolbar drops down, click on the Resize icon.
Preview will display the Image Dimensions interface. This gives you several options for resizing. You can:
- Use the “Fit Into” menu to pick a pre-set height and width
- Type in numbers to determine the height or width
- Choose “percentage” to make the image proportionally bigger or smaller
- Change the resolution by typing in numbers.
- If you’re changing the image resolution, uncheck the box next to “Resample image.”
By default, Preview will scale your image proportionally unless you un-check the box that says “Scale Proportionally.”
If you like what you see, click “Save As” and rename the file so you don’t lose your original. Name this new version something that helps you remember the size. When I resize an image, I usually put the dimensions and dpi in the filename, ie., cutepup200x400-72dpi.jpg.
Use MS Paint to Resize an Image
Much like Mac, you’ll right-click (or control-click) the image. Select “Open With” and then “Paint.”
- In the Image section of the toolbar, click the Resize button.
- Choose “percentage” or “pixels.”
- Check the box next to “Maintain Aspect Ratio,” so when you resize the image, the proportions will stay the same.
- Click “Save As,” rename the file, and save it.
Enter the numbers you want into the Horizontal or Vertical fields. As long as you’ve checked off “Maintain Aspect Ratio,” the corresponding box will adjust itself.
Resize an Image with Resizing.App
Resizing.app is a web-based application to optimize images for the internet. Not only can it resize images, it can also compress, or change file format. Plus, resizing.app has a Google Chrome extension. Here’s how it works.
- Go to the website for resizing.app.
- Scroll down to where it says, “Click here to upload your image.” There’s a green circle with a white + symbol.
- Add your image to the app. You can click either on the plus symbol in the green circle or the word “here.” Or, you can click and drag the image you want to resize to the green circle.
- Pick which option you want to resize an image: width, height, largest size, percentage, or Custom.
- Pick which file type you want the image to be.
- Click “Save Image.” The new, re-sized image will fly to your Downloads folder.
- If you plan to save your resized image to the same location as the original, re-name it before you do. This way, it’s saved as a new file and doesn’t overwrite your original.
Personally, I prefer to make a copy before I start, but you do what makes you happy.
Resize an Image with Image Size for iOS or Android
If you need to resize an image from your phone, the previous methods won’t work. But an app called Image Size can. Versions of this app exist for iPhone, iPad, or Android, and it’s free. The app has Google ads in a bar across the top of the screen.
Once you’ve downloaded and opened the app,
- Click on the photo library icon (It looks like a stack of squares) to select the pictures you want to resize.
- Pick the photo you want to resize. Once it’s uploaded to the app, click on the thumbnail to select the image and make sure it’s the one you want. Then, click “Choose.”
- Click on the unit of measurement you want to change: pixels, millimeters, centimeters, or inches.
- Click the chain-link symbol between the two windows so that it lights up. If you change one value, the proportions will stay linked.
- Enter the number you want in the width or height box.
- Alternatively, you can use two fingers on the screen to pinch or zoom the image.
Caveat emptor (or downloader): Image Resizer has some elements that aren’t dealbreakers but aren’t features to brag about either. For example:
- Pinching or zooming the image can turn the image slightly. You’ll see that it looks the way your image would if it were printed on a piece of paper. You can move the image around the page by dragging it, but getting the image re-aligned is a little more trouble than it’s worth.
- The image proportions aren’t linked by default. It’s not clear that you need to click that chain-link symbol until you’ve turned a photo into a stretched-out funhouse mirror version of the original image.
- The image will be 72 dpi.
- When I tested the print function, a pop-up ad appeared, warning me that I needed to install “cleaner software” to make my computer run faster. I thought ads pretending to be an error message were over now.
- Removing the ads costs $14.99.
I’m sure there are many other phone apps you can use to resize an image with similar peccadillos. If these send up red flags for you, there are plenty of better ways to resize an image.
Resize an Image with GIMP
GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, and it’s an open-source, cross-platform image editing software. GIMP works with Mac/OS, Windows, Linx, and other operating systems. The source code is available for any developer to customize. Tons of tutorials around the Internet can show you how to use it for nearly anything that expensive software can do.
You have to download and install the software, but this doesn’t take long, and it’s fairly straightforward.
To resize an image with GIMP, the steps are much like Mac Preview or MS Paint.
- Right-click or control-click on the image you want to resize.
- Select Open With, and then GIMP.
- The software may ask if you want to convert the image to an RGB color profile. Click “Accept.”
- In the top toolbar, click Image, then select Scale Image.
- The height and width are linked by default, so don’t click the chain-link image.
- Pick the unit of measurement you want to adjust. Pixels and percent are the first two options, but you can choose inches, millimeters, yards, typography picas, whatever makes you happy.
- Notice that the resolution (dpi) is adjustable by the y-axis and x-axis, so don’t click that chain link symbol.
- Click “Scale.”
- Go up to File and slide down to Save As. Give the image a new name so you don’t lose your original. GIMP saves your image in its native file format as a .xcf file.
- Once it’s saved to your preferred location, go back up to File, then slide down to select Export As. By default, GIMP saves the export as a .png file, but you can type in .jpg to replace it if you like. Save the export to your preferred location.
Why Do I Need To Know How to Resize An Image?
Understanding file size, image size, and how different parts of digital content work together is crucial to understanding how to make your podcast and help it grow. When you know how to resize an image from your podcast art, you can:
- upload the appropriate podcast cover art size to your hosting account
- design your own podcast merchandise
- repurpose your podcast art for promotion items, like stickers, cards, or beer mats
- add your podcast art to a banner in Apple Podcasts
- make better social media posts
- send your podcast to newsletters and other promotion opportunities
I edit our Fiction Podcast Weekly newsletter. When people sponsor the newsletter, they send me images. Some folks have sent images big enough to print on a highway billboard. Others have sent images that were once tiny, 72 dpi screenshots, stretched out to try to make a print-quality version. If you’ve ever tried to use a photocopier to make a small image big, or you’ve tried to zoom in on tiny details in a small photo, you know that this doesn’t add information to the image. It simply makes each dot bigger. The result is a blurry image.
Podcasting is an endeavor with a lot of variables. True, you can hire someone to make your podcast art for you, or swap skills with another podcaster. But, the more skills you learn, the more elements of your podcast you can understand and control. This way, as podcast technology changes, you can change with it to grow your show.