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The Lean PSD Approach

We live in a world where the cost of storage space continues to get cheaper, so it’s easy to neglect the importance of managing Photoshop file sizes, yet with the ongoing megapixel war between camera manufactures, the need to control file size is more important than ever. In this article, we share some tips and tricks that will enable you to work with smaller Photoshop files and as a result, work smarter when retouching.


Photoshop file size is important for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that larger files require more storage space. Although that may not be a problem at first, as you continue to store more files, eventually you could need to purchase more storage space, and not just for primary storage, but for all of your backups as well. Large files use more RAM, which can affect overall system performance and cost you more time. In fact, even with a top-of-the-line computer, file management of large files can contribute to system slow down.

As a freelance retoucher, if you are working for a commercial photographer or a retouching studio, the number of large files that your clients store is times more than you ever will on your end. It’s especially true for commercial photography where top-of-the-line professional cameras spit out 50-70Mb raw files and an average shoot can run from 1,000 to 3,000 images – Julia Kuzmenko McKim, Commercial Beauty Photographer (Los Angeles, CA)