How to Save Large Files in Photoshop

If you’re new to Composite Photography and like me, create larger more complex composites than the average photographer, you’ve likely run into the file size problem.

This happened to my good photographer friend Martyn Richards (Facebook) who asked me, “How do you save large files in Photoshop?”

When I was first faced with creating composited portraits that were too large to save in Photoshop, I searched throughout the internet looking for a solution, and come to find out, apparently it’s not a big enough problem to warrant discussions.

That’s why I put this video together, so let’s jump right into it.

Is your File BIGGER than Mine?

Martyn mentioned in his email to me, “when I came to save my file in Photoshop, it says it can’t because it’s over 4GB. How do you save your as yours must be BIGGER than mine?”

Yes, I’m sure it is Martyn! LOL

Anyway, if you’re a Composite Photographer who works in many layers or stitching together many images creating a larger than average format, then you’re stretching the capabilities of Photoshops max 4 GB files size.

Click “Save As” and you will get Photoshops error warning.

photoshop error because file size is larger than 4bg

So, if you can’t save your large image as a Photoshop file, a TIFF file, or a PNG, PDF, Cineon, or Dicom file, how do you get around Photoshop’s limitations?

Actually, Photoshop has developed a super easy way as you’ll see in this video tutorial.

Saving as Large Document Format

For us crazy Composite Photographers who have BIGGER files than the average photographer, Photoshop has a save option that works perfect for you.

Here’s how you save your larger than 4GB files…

Step #1: Save As

save as in photoshop

photoshop save

Step #2: Choose “Large Document Format”

save as large document format in photoshop

There you have it!

Your larger than 4GB file size problem has been solved simply by selecting the “large document format” option when saving your Awesome Composited Image.

That’s a Wrap

If you’re used to destroying your Photoshop layers by flattening them out in an effort to shrink your file size for saving, you will absolutely LOVE this Photoshop Tutorial.

Additionally, if you’d like another big hint on how to reduce your file size, watch the video tutorial as I share one other way that will greatly help you.

Now that you have NO LIMITS, what can you create?

Comments (7)

We have a file that is “8.5gig” and PS (creative cloud latest version) then doesn’t give us that option. Now what?

Hey Paul… Not sure why that would be. I run the same thing (Photoshop CC) and it works every time.

One limitation of the PSB file format is that some plug-in filters are unavailable to be saved in this format. You might have a plug-in filter that is NOT compatible – flatten ONLY that layer and you should be able to save normally as a PSB.

Good to know for those using plug-in filters. Thanks for the heads up Dave.

Do you have any recommendations for exporting a .psb as a PDF for print? It is not an option in the Save As dialogue. Thanks!

Hey Ethan… I only save my images as JPG for all my printing but when I go to “Save As” in Photoshop and under “format” you can select the “Photoshop PDF” option if you want to save as a PDF. I did it to see how it worked and everything turned out good. Curious to know why you need to save as a PDF versus a JPG?

since i see they did not respond here, sometimes pdf format is what people use for saving a vector file if they are unfamiliar with .svg format. This is scalable usually and works for things like signs and large vinyl printers or other banner printing. Some people also use .pdf format with lasercutter machines, which are incompatible (as in the glowforge pro) with .jpg. it will supposedly print a .jpg, but from personal experience, its much cleaner if the image is saved as a pdf.

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