As anyone who has worked with graphics or digital photography knows, the file size of an image can be huge.

In most cases, you will need to compress the image – but that will have an effect on your final product. Are you saving the correct type of image file for your purpose?

If you’re creating or editing an image for online use, there are two main points to consider: quality and file size.

If the file size is too big, it will take up bandwidth and could slow your website down. This means you run the risk of losing users on your site. It could also mean the need for more data storage, which in turn could make web hosting a more expensive proposition.

The purpose of your image file will also affect the quality of the final version. Are you producing an animation? A clean and simple logo? Or are you working with a detailed photograph, in which case you want to retain all the depth and variations of colour on screen? Some image files can show 256 colours, others can show 16 million – so it’s important to know the difference.

There are other questions, too. How do you retain a transparent background? Will all browsers support my file type? And how do you pronounce ‘GIF’, anyway?

This Know Your File Types infographic, by WhoIsHostingThis?, offers a snapshot of the three main image file types – JPG, GIF and PNG – and some guidelines on when to use them.

Infographic: When to use JPF, GIF and PNG image files