Google+ Now Allows Full-Rez Photos!

Why this is cool

Hitherto, both Facebook and Google+ limited your photos to 2048 pixels across. This was depressing to me and other photographers that take HUGE photos, many of mine over 7000 pixels across. I share a new, original-sized photo here every day on the blog, and all my work is Creative Commons Noncommercial.

Basically, I want people to have the original-sized photo to enjoy! I know many other photographers disagree with me and they only want to share tiny images with huge watermarks using horrible fonts. That’s okay. This isn’t for them.

But if you’re like me, and you want to upload the original size images to Google and also share on Google+, well now you can!

Steady Progress of Google+ and Photos

I notice many various products are starting to gel together at Google. It’s a little clumsy here as the streams are colliding, but I think it will become more efficient over time. For example, the Google+ stream and Google Drive used to be totally different products, but now they are coming together. Same with Search and YouTube and Calendar and everything. It takes a while to get your head around because we are used to a bunch of Single-Purpose Silos, but when you start to use them all together and think about it like that, it makes sharing and life-integration easier.

For example, I now use my Android phone to take a video, upload to YouTube, then share to a private family circle on Google+. All my family isn’t on Google+ yet, so it uses Google mail to send it around. I wasn’t experiencing that kind of integration a year ago! I used to do one thing, then another thing, then another thing, then email everyone after I put together various silos. This is the way a lot of people still think about the internet… using many silos to do discrete tasks and then piecing it all together on your own, but it doesn’t have to be like that. I know I sound like a Google fanboy, but, Jesus, I use a lot of their products. It’s like saying you’re an Oxygen fanboy.

How-to Upload Full-Rez Photos to Google+

1) Go to your Google+ settings at

2) Check the box indicated in the screenshot below.

3) Get on Google+ and go upload a photo! Now the full size will go up there!

Be sure to Note

Any photo greater than 2048 pixels will go against your Google Drive allotment, and you will need to buy more space if you want more!

Bonus Information – Using the Photo on your Blog and URL Analysis

Here’s something I discovered by accident. It’s geeky but I was excited by it.

I was trying to figure out, “Okay WHERE exactly is my image being stored on Google?” Well that part is a bit confusing. I r-clicked the image in the Google+ display to get the source and it gave me:

Aha! See that “s1161”? That is the horizontal dimensions. It chose that dynamically based on the width of my window. So, by simply changing that number, you can have Google serve you up whatever size you want!

If you make it “s0”, it wil be full-size! And my friend Dave Veffer says “if you do ‘s0-d’ it forces a download so appending -d at the end of the size specification will make the image download…useful in some situations”.

For example, this image is actually 5845×3204 pixels – we get the original with that “s0” in the URL:

So the full rez is:

More Google Drive Updates Coming Soon

I got a note from a gentleman at Google Drive that says there are More New Updates coming in a week or so… ways to embed with various image sizes, permanent links, and more.

Integrating the images into your Blog

These images that I have below are being served up by Google. Don’t have Google send you a HUGE image that you then downsize using HTML. Have it send you the exact size you want. In this case, I’ve asked for all the images to be 900 pixels across. I’ve then hyperlinked to their actual size on the Google servers.

HDR Photo

HDR Photo

HDR Photo

HDR Photo

HDR Photo

HDR Photo

HDR Photo

HDR Photo

HDR Photo

What Could They Improve On?

Well, I’m still using SmugMug to serve up my daily images here on the blog. See my SmugMug Review for more. I do this because:

1) People like to order limited edition prints (thanks everyone btw!) πŸ™‚ It’s very easy to begin the print-ordering process through SmugMug
2) I like how clicking on an image takes you to a proper portfolio or slideshow. I can’t figure out a good way to do that using a Google Photo Album yet.
3) I have a feeling that SmugMug is about to make a major update to their whole UI. (Why doesn’t Google just buy SmugMug and make my life easier!!) πŸ™‚

For example, I’ll put the “Daily Photo” below so you can see the difference. If you click on the photo, you go into my nice portfolio view. Under the photo is the friendly SmugMug link to get a print.

Ways for Google Photos / Drive to Improve – Your ideas?

I’m interested in your ideas too. Here are a few of mine:

1) I’d like the automatic Google Photo upload to just take the full rez photo if I click a checkbox (instead of having to do this Google-Drive-end-run). If you have space on Google Drive and don’t mind your photos taking up all the GB, then just let me.

2) I’d like better album / portfolio management. Now that I have photos in Google+ photos (many at 2048) and now more in Google Drive (at original size), it’s becoming a terrible problem or organization. I’m not totally anal, but I also feel too scattered and that makes me digitally-uneasy!

3) Your ideas? Drop them in the comments! πŸ™‚

Daily Photo – The View From Above

Here is a good example of a daily image. I went to the top of the gondola with Tom Anderson to look down on Queenstown, New Zealand from above.

I want to sleep up here one night to get the sunrise… if anyone can hook me up with that, drop me a note! πŸ™‚ I’ll bring the hot chocolate!

The View From Above

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-09 04:35:46
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length19mm (19mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

  • Josh Burghandy

    This is huge news!

  • Simon Tomek

    So if I upload a high rez image, does this eat into my free data allocation?

  • Trey Ratcliff

    I believe so.

  • This is pretty awesome, especially the serving up what every size you want to a website. Thanks for the info!!

  • This is kind of awesome. They need to pull it together and just give us a dedicated folder in Drive to G+ Photos. We could manage albums this way, directly. And it’d be so much faster since you wouldn’t have to double efforts to make an album in G+, too (for those of us that would want to).

    Fine tuning (like ordering and such) would still be done on the web, so that might be a bit clunky. But using Drive as a conduit for album creation would actually go a LONG way into convincing me to move over to G+ instead of smugmug for my personal stuff. Though, there’d still be a long road because smugmug’s privacy options are far more universal than forcing people to have a Google account.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    I agree !

  • Todd Sipes

    I suppose this won’t work from Lightroom using the Picasa Export tool?

  • Trey Ratcliff

    I don’t think so πŸ™

  • Trey Ratcliff

    But I hope Lightroom has an export tool soon

  • Harmeet Gabha

    Wow this is great information. Thanks for sharing Trey!

  • Clarice

    I.think new Zealand is one of the most beautiful. Place on this planet I swear

  • you are the master of photo geeks. πŸ™‚

  • masterpieces! I really enjoyed the Austin Photowalk! Thanks!

  • susan ratcliff

    sounds awesome – and the photos are lovely! πŸ™

  • Using the “s” to specify the size does only work for landscape (as in orientation) photos, if it is portrait you need to do some math to find the correct width… I want al my pictures to be 692 pixels wide on my blog, but if I have a portrait photo, I have to specify “s1038” (692*1.5, as I have a 3:2 sensor) as the size. So it looks as if it is specifying the longest side of the picture.

  • Carey Evans

    Another interesting option is if you add -c after the size, which asks Google to resize and *crop* the image so that it’s square, like for a thumbnail. See for example. (This tip is courtesy of the Google App Engine documentation.)

  • Really Nice shots.

  • Full res? You +Trey Ratcliff are joking yes, or maybe you have not noticed PNG images are converted to JPEG thus losing resolution? Why is my cover photo being converted to JPEG? I note the official Google+ cover photo is in real PNG but my cover photo is rendered as JPEG despite the upload being PNG. How can I stop this lossy conversion from PNG to JPEG? Is that only G+ is allowed actual PNG covers photos (preferential treatment) or am I am doing something wrong?ο»Ώ

  • Kreg Steppe

    I think the advantage of uploading via G+ site and even from my phone and having it at 2048 is that the images will not count against your storage on Google. Using Drive will use your storage up, correct?

  • Very cool break down and article Trey. Now I’m curious to know if sharing a photo from Google to a blog will have an affect on the search results for said blog. Could be interesting to see if that’s the case and if so, if people will actually start publishing photos that way. ;-P

  • David Boring

    Thanks, man. This is really helpful!

  • Martin Tyler

    you can use w692-h1038 (or just make h a high number) for all photos if you want the width to always be 692. The w-h format seems to set the max bounding box

  • Martin Tyler

    Good info Trey. I’d like to know what Google are doing on the server when you ask for a specific size. It could be slowing down your request, but maybe only the first time it is requested, ie the first visitor to your blog.

    I’ve done a lot of Smugmug customisation for my website, with it picking the most suitable size from their standard sizes – they also allow you to request any size like Google, but I avoided it since it must be having to create the resized image on the fly.

    If Google, or SmugMug cache this generated image then it’s probably fine for a site with lots of traffic like yours – and in a blog where it’s only 1 image, or a handful of images the speed probably doesn’t matter – but loading a whole gallery might be slow.

    As for new features, as you said, album management is really needed, and somehow better dealing with the multiple copies of photos you end up with after sharing a photo in different communities.

  • Thanks @google-cdb2d116433f801d8f4379dc4033bfc8:disqus, I’ll look into that. It would make things a lot easier! Especially if I use a cropped photo with a different width to height ratio.

  • This is how I do it.

  • Brian Wilkie

    I would love to see Google+ offering native support for panoramas. Having full res images on there being able to zoom and pan around a big panorama would be nice.

  • I made a test with LR4 Publish Service. One of the services is “Hard Drive”. Just choose your Google drive folder, set your output settings (size, file naming, etc.) and publish. Worked like a charm.

  • Dee

    Good info. The pictures are beautiful beyond words. I hope I can take photos half as good as yours!

  • Kris Vladimirov


    Jesus Christ that’s some bad HDR… great technique and execution, but tone it down on the saturation.

  • ZOMG! Do you know what this means, Trey?


    Seriously though, I love looking at your work. If I had one of them as a desktop wallpaper, I’d probably just stare at it and not get anything done…

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Who invited this guy?

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks! πŸ™‚

  • Trey Ratcliff

    hehe thanks Ash πŸ™‚

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks Dee ! πŸ™‚

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Yeah – that would be cool

  • Daniel

    Pretty sure you could just use the Picasa application to upload your photos at the original size/resolution as has always been the case…

  • Mr Gray Kinney

    Trey you really got me thinking now… been wrestling with this for some time on my Drupal site… thanks for the explanation.

  • Mr Gray Kinney

    There is one in every crowd.

  • Mr Gray Kinney

    If you used Google Drive for Desktop, Id think you could export from Lightroom to that folder and they would upload? Hmmmm

  • Kris Vladimirov


  • Kris Vladimirov

    Yes. There are logical people in every crowd. Exposure shots of moving people, in HDR? Are you kidding?

  • There’s still no way to add a photo to an album (e.g. to use as a cover photo) from Drive as full-res. The only way to get a full-res photo into your G+ photos is to post it to your feed, sadly.

  • Kris Vladimirov
  • Paul Abrahams

    Doesn’t smugmug have a sharing option to G+? Just use that and let G+ fly. If people want to view full rez they can follow the links to your smugmug portfolio. You know Google will eventually change it all up and stuff up your organising.

  • Great stuff thanks for sharing

  • So does google actually allow you to embed pictures from the drive on a high traffic website and thus cover the download bandwidth on those? Or do you get charged based on the bandwidth you use for that approach?

  • Casper van Zyl

    One borne every minute,this is a fun blog for many to enjoy and when you put your foot in, you will cop flack. To use someones name in vain and he has no say in the matter show how arrogant you are Kris and that you cannot find the words to express your self. Come on open a blog so we can see a picture a day,so we can judge you on your work,and thats fair.

  • Casper van Zyl

    Christ had nothing to do with this picture, so Kris I suggest you leave him out of the HDR. Try and chose you words properly with out using peoples name in vain.Thank you kindly as we all enjoy the blog,have a good day.

  • Ralph Chetnik

    I download the daily image and have them cycle 20-30 minutes each. I usually work two or three monitors. Trey inspires me, I think more to travel later, but definitely to improve my photography now. My daughter was taking some cool stuff with her Android (She took literally 1000’s of shots, She seems to know how to use sunlight and captures things I don’t even see, My sister-in-law would take the ones she liked to the graphics design company she works for, and people were asking what she was shooting with etc. and she said a phone and cropped on the phone. She loves water, and landscape and so I showed her Trey’s stuff, and we would get in trouble getting called for dinner because we just wanted to see a couple…..25 more and then we would be right there.

    It’s cool because she is 16, and it’s a hard age to connect, especially when I have worked too much for too long which is about to change. Also, us delving into Trey’s website and looking at a bunch of my old pictures changed my daughter’s mind from and upgraded fixed lens to a DSLR. I had Canon glass from when I really got into landscape and macro a while back, so we have fun stuff to try, but landscape is what we both love. We are going to do Trey’s online big kit of classes and learn together. I went Macro crazy when I got my 20d ~ 5 years ago and she got her 60d for Christmas and currently I can Photoshop bugs pretty well. I’m building the processing computer, then we have to go to online school to get ready for spring.

    Thanks Trey. I think this is going to meaningful on multiple levels for both her and I!

    I think your passion and emphasis on this being HER personal art inspired her to go for the DLSR to expand her options, and she loves it. We are in OH, so pretty flat but there’s beauty everywhere. New Zealand looks like a dream, but that is far off. You seem very down to earth. Stay that way and keep sharing yourself, we appreciate it more than you know.

    Thanks again,


  • Ben Hollingsworth

    Now, if only I could post a photo on G+ straight from the picasa accound where all my blogspot images are already stored…

  • You must be new here.

  • We don’t really work in PNG, so I’m not sure we have an answer for you. Photomatix does a max-quality conversion to JPG before processing and that’s where the files stay for the remainder, so this wouldn’t be something that was noticed.

    PNG files are giant compared to the resolution you get, so my guess is it’s a resource thing.

  • Heidi Quellet

    So, what is the advantage over Picasa? I read another post about exporting from LR4 “Hard Drive” to publish to the Google Drive.

  • Felicia Renz

    Would absolutely love the ability to add Google Drive photos to albums I already have on Google+. When I go to album and click add photos my only options seem to be drag or select from my computer which doesn’t help me when I am on my work laptop since I can’t use add the google drive client to my locked worked PC.

  • The loss of resolution between JPG and PNG is significant. Formerly Google+ didn’t convert PNG to JPG thus it is ironic to say Google now supports full res when in actuality there is now a loss of res. Allowing images with more pixels can give the appearance of better resolution but it merely disguises the poor quality of the JPG format. JPG is a lossy format, it loses data. PNG are bigger files so yes it is probably a resource thing. When Google supports PNG you can then say Google now supports/allows full res but currently full res is definitely not supported, what is supported is images with a large pixel count.

  • Okay, well, we’re probably getting stuck in semantics. Again, I’m not saying PNG is not better than JPG – of course it is. But, you can save a JPG with no compression (sliders all the way up) and save the same file in PNG – the PNG file will be HUUUUUUGE compared to the resolution gain. Start talking about millions of images, and you’re talking about a significant bandwidth and storage issue. That’s all I was saying about the PNG format – this is why it is not popular for regular/moderate bandwidth deliveries.

    In any case, semantically, perhaps it’s better to say “Google+ will no longer limit the pixel dimensions (resolution) of your JPG images, which is the most common format being used on G+.”

    That is, if you’re using JPG, which the vast majority on G+ are, your resolution is no longer limited.

  • You do realize you’re talking to the king of HDR don’t you?

  • return1_at

    yes, at the moment we only can import photos from google drive to normal g+ posts. Adding them to existing albums would be great!

  • Tiago Gomes

    Easier even is to use the current automatic upload feature G+ does for android. It reads the “DCIM” folder and slowly uploads the photos in the background to G+. This feature is designed to upload the pictures you take with phone or tablet but it will work with any “DCIM” folder you create. With the tablet that I use with support to standard SD cards. Uploading the images with full resolution is as easy as inserting the SD directly from the SLR. Just take time… some time πŸ˜‰

  • Great photos! I’m new to your site and your photography is remarkable. I’m looking forward to further exploring your adventures as I prepare for my own in going to teach English in Spain.

  • Really, JPGs are no limited, so I can upload a billion pixel JPG to G+? My point is valid despite seeming extreme in the year 2013. Full rez, which is the title of the post I am commenting on is incorrect because there is a clear loss of resolution but the resolution loss in less noticeable with a large pixel count furthermore the current large pixel uploads will seem very small in perhaps only a few years. Think about really 500px was a full res at one point IF want to incorrectly define rez by pixel count but I disagree regarding res defined by pixel count because accuracy (no loss or distortion of pixel data) should be the defining characteristic of resolution. Perhaps high definition would be a better term than resolution. So the year is now 2020, let us imagine, and I wonder is 10k x 10px still full res?

  • Again, we’re stuck in semantics. No one is saying there isn’t a loss of res when you convert from PNG. However, PNG is not commonly used in social media because the files are huge. The problem with expecting lossless formats to be the gold standard in photo sharing is that the bandwidth technology will be behind the imaging technology for the foreseeable future. That is, as cameras continue to improve, RAW and PNG formats will increase in size more quickly than the internet infrastructure as a whole can deliver those sizes.

    Not sure on your 1 billion question, but you’re welcome to try. πŸ™‚

  • tony allison

    I’m wondering if you prefer the new Picasa/Google Album layout where clicking on the thumbnail fans the rest of the photos out or opens to full screen/first photo in that album. Personally I would prefer it to open all the thumbnails to pre-select a photo I might want to look at. I haven’t found a way to change these settings – not sure that is even an option. Maybe thumbnails at the bottom of the viewer page at least so you don’t have to scroll through every image? I’d be keen to hear others’ thoughts on this. πŸ™‚

  • Scott Jarvie

    Thanks for catching me up on the land of GooglePlus pictures.

    1. I never thought of Google buying SmugMug… sounds intriguing.
    2. So I assume our D800s will start filling up the google drive pretty fast eh?
    3. I probably should start thinking about a trip to NZ… get me a wedding down there stat.
    4. I happen to love the pictures you put up for this blog… but I like my colors to pop as well.

  • Melody Migas

    I’d like a yearly rate offer on the Google drive storage. I didn’t see one. I like buying the whole year and be done with.

  • Hey Trey, Cool post. I need to start using G+ more.
    FYI: Your link is pointing internally to your site (leading to a 404)

  • Thanks for the heads up – fixed!

  • Gregory Pointing

    Is reddit like the Smithsonian? because now Trey is in both……

  • So what size Google Drive are you purchasing? I just uploaded some medium sized full resolution photos (~5MB ea) and filled up my drive quite fast. I still have a flickr account and thinking i probably only need one. I’m guessing you’ve had a paid photo storage debate here before, but interested to hear how this google+ news plays in? One thing i miss from Picasa in Google+ is the lack of photo maps (i dida fair amount of backpacking w/ geotagging and i like to see the pics on a map). Do you know if there’s a way to size down my full-res photos to ‘standard’ after i’ve already uploaded to G+ to clear up some space?

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