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Photoshop allows you to save the processed image as JPEG in two ways. Save As and Save for web. I have observed that Save for web gives more options like converting to sRGB etc. I have also observed that the output from Save for web is better than the Save As.

I have the following questions.

  1. What is the preferred way of exporting to JPEG on Photoshop?
  2. How do you keep images for printing? Will you exort them as JPEG or keep the photoshop document as it is?
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3 Answers

Save for Web gives you finer control and more options. I don't know of any advantage to using Save As. The quality between the two shouldn't be much different if used consistently - I would find it hard to believe that Adobe would have two completely different sets of code to create JPGs -surely a lot of the routines are shared.

If you've done substantial editing, you would want to keep a PSD file with your edits, but for printing you'll want to do resizing and cropping, final sharpening then output as JPG or TIF for printing or for the web.

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Save For Web originates with another product long ago that was incorporated into Photoshop. It was called ImageReady. ImageReady was all about making it easier to take files from Photoshop and make HTML friendly pages/images from it. Save For Web was a way of getting to ImageReady. Nowadays this functionality is all about templates. It's a quick and easy way of setting presets for gifs, jpegs, pngs, and other things as usually needed for web sites. That's why you see the option to strip out meta data, setting transparency for a gif file, convert to sRGB, etc. Those options are most useful when your exported file is going to be displayed on the web. You can do those things manually but Save For Web simplifies it a lot.

The regular Save As is just that. Saving a file format. It's up to you to set up the options you need for the saved file. It isn't any better or worse than Save For Web. If you're seeing better output from one than the other then I'd recommend experimenting with the quality option when saving.

As for the preferred option... there really isn't one. When I am exporting a picture for a model, for example, I'll usually do a regular save option because I don't know how she will use the picture. If I'm going to display on facebook or something then I'll usually use Save For Web with a preset just to simplify my process. Either way it's essentially the same result. Although with SFW I'll usually use much smaller files.

When it comes to printing, I always keep the highest quality file I can. That means the Photoshop file in 99% of cases.

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After 10 years of heavy Photoshop usage I prefer "Save for Web" option in 98% cases, except when Photoshop show me a warning that the file size is too large for this option.

Top 2 benefits of the Save for Web option for me:

  1. You can quickly adjust the image quality/file size ratio and see the resulted live preview

  2. You can quickly determine what format (GIF or JPEG) will be better for your exporting image

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