A Guide to Understanding Different Image File Types

A Guide to Understanding Different Image File Types

What kind of images are you saving? Is it the right kind?

When you save an image, it gets saved as a file type. Different types of image files define what kind of information the file holds. This includes image data and other things like copyright information.

If you save an image using the wrong file type, you’ll end up with a corrupt image. You may also lose some of the benefits of saving the image in the right way.

This article provides a guide to understanding image file types. Understanding them can help you pick the right file type for your images and make sure that your images are saved for all time.

So, read on!


JPEG, or Joint Photographic Experts Group, is one of the most widely used image file types used in digital media. JPEG files are usually large and take up quite a bit of storage space, but they support a huge range of colors and tones.

When a photograph is taken without any editing, the result is a JPEG image file. JPEGs are great for large format images that don’t need to be highly detailed because they are compressed files and have a reduced file size.


GIFs are a popular image file type that allows for animation. A GIF is a series of still images that, when viewed as a whole, appear to be animated. GIFs can be used for everything from silly jokes to more serious uses. Such as illustrating a process in an instructional video.

They are eye-catching, giving them the ability to draw attention and make a statement. When creating a GIF, the animation is created by combining a sequence of images and controlling how long the image is displayed. GIFs are ideal for animation that lasts no more than several seconds.


PNG is often the top choice for high-resolution images as it is lossless, meaning no detail is lost after compression compared to other file types.

PNG is also the best choice for web-based design because it supports transparency, so users can use it to create and enhance a wide range of images, whether they be logos, screenshots, and more.

Lastly, PNG is widely compatible, making it viewable on multiple platforms – from Windows to Mac and everything in between. You can even use a PNG to JPEG converter to meet the upload requirements for any destination!


TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) files, for example, usually have the extension “.tif” or “.tiff.” This can contain multiple images and data chunks, each with a tag that identifies the characteristics of the image.

This makes them a very powerful type of image file, suitable for a wide variety of uses. TIFF files have a higher quality and allow a wider range of color depths than other file types, such as JPEG or GIF.


RAW images are often considered the gold standard among photographers due to their uncompressed, unprocessed nature.

This allows photographers the most control when editing the image, and unlike other file types, a RAW image preserves all the data captured by the image sensor.

Understanding Image File Types

Based on this article, it should be clear what image file types work best for certain scenarios. Don’t be overwhelmed by the file-type acronyms.

Use this guide to help understand them and make informed decisions when choosing file types. If you’re ever in doubt, it’s best to reach out to a digital expert.

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