Export Instead of Save As


Today’s Question: Many, many years ago I was taught (by you! LOL!) that after working on a 16-bit image in Photoshop, I should first flatten the layers, then use Convert Profile to change the color space from RGB to sRGB before saving the image as a JPEG. I have been doing this for about 25 years! Are the “flatten layers” and “Convert Profile” steps still necessary? Or does choosing Save As do those steps “behind the scenes”?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The “Save As” (or “Save a Copy”) command in Photoshop doesn’t provide an option to convert the image to a different color space. However, if you use the Export command you can accomplish all the steps for creating a derivative copy in what is basically a single step.

More Detail: The Export command in Photoshop can be thought of as an automated way to adjust image settings as part of saving a derivative image. In addition to being able to choose which file format you want to save the new derivative image in, you can adjust settings such as the pixel dimensions and the color space to use. Note that none of the file formats available for the Export feature support layers, so the derivative image you create will always be flattened (without flattening the source image you’re working on, of course).

With the master image open you can get started by choosing File > Export > Export As from the menu. On the right panel of the Export As dialog you can choose the file format (JPEG in this case) that you want to use for the derivative image you’re saving. You can adjust the pixel dimensions in the Image Size section. In the Metadata section choose whether you want to include copyright and contact info in metadata or exclude all metadata. Under Color Space I recommend turning on the “Convert to sRGB” checkbox for images that will be shared digitally, and I always recommend turning on the “Embed Color Profile” checkbox.

After configuring the desired settings, click the Export button, which will bring up the Save As dialog. You can specify a filename and folder location and click the Save button to export the copy of the photo. The new file will be saved in the location you specified and with the settings you configured.