High Resolution Photos in Skype for Business
This basic article covers a few ways for users and administrators to import and manage contact photos in Skype for Business Server, once the required Exchange Server integration has been completed. Without leverage Exchange Server for storing contact photos then the only options available
In order to use the Skype for Business Server 2015 functionality described in this article an Exchange Server must first be deployed in the environment and configured as a Partner Application. This prerequisite configuration must be performed successfully prior to attempting the steps shown in this article.
Outlook Web Access
There are multiple ways for a user to go about changing their own photo, given that the capability has not been specifically disabled by an administrator. The original approach which is still available is to use the menu option available in Outlook Web Access.
- From any server or workstation connect to the Exchange Server Outlook Web Access URL and sign-in with the desried user’s credentials.
- Click on the user’s name in the upper-right hand corner and from the drop-down menu click the Change link below the photo placeholder.
- Click the Folder Icon and select the desired photo file. For the best image quality make sure to use a file that matches the maximum supported resolution of 648×648 pixels. Smaller resolutions can be used as Exchange Server will scale them accordingly, but make sure that the photo’s aspect ratio is perfectly square (1:1).
- Click Save to assign this as the current photo to the Skype for Business user. The new photo should appear in the menu now.
- Now sign in with the same user account to a Skype for Business client to see if the new photo appears as expected.
Skype for Business Client
An even easier method first made available in the Lync 2013 client is also still available in the Skype for Business client user interface. It is basically the same process because OWA is used to import the photo but is accessed from a different page.
- In the Skype for Business client click on the circle headshot icon where the user’s own photo would appear. This is a shortcut that simply opens the client Options window and goes directly to the My Picture section.
- If not already enabled select the Show my picture option and then click on the Edit or Remove Picture button.
This action will open the photo page on the user’s Account Information page in the Exchange Control Panel (ECP) website. This is a slightly different page then what was used in the previous section but will work just the same.
- Sign into Outlook Web Access if prompted and then select the desired photo and click Save.
Alternatively to import photos for other Skype for Business users an administrator can use the following set of commands on the server, as outlined in this TechNet article.
- Using the Exchange Server Management Console run the following two commands to import a file of the same size and format requirements as used above into the desired user account.
$photo = ([Byte] $(Get-Content -Path "C:\temp\photo2.jpg" -Encoding Byte -ReadCount 0))
Set-UserPhoto -Identity "JDSKYPE\steve" -PictureData $photo -Confirm:$False
Note that the official documentation shows utilizing three separate cmdlets to store, import, and then save the photo. But when using on Exchange Server 2013 CU3 or newer it appears that the third command to save the change is no longer applicable. Attempting to execute it as shown in the documentation will result in the error “No photo with class ‘IPM.UserPhoto.Preview’ exists.” The photo is already applied and saved with the second command so the third appears to have been made redundant.
- To validate that the image was successfully imported go to the following URL in a web browser and the photo should appear in the window. Enter the SMTP address of the desired user account in the URL where indicated in red.
Now that Exchange Server has been successfully integrated with Skype for Business Server then additional features beyond this can be deployed. More articles covering other Exchange Server integration steps can be found here.
While the small contact photos used throughout Skype for Business clearly do not seem to take advantage of the higher resolution image, there is place where the quality (or lack there of) of a photo can be clearly evident.
- From a different Skype for Business client place a call to the user with the new photo and then maximize the call window. The called user’s photo will occupy the majority of the window by default.
The edited image above shows the difference in a low resolution and high resolution photo. On the right side is a 48×48 pixel photo stored in in the user’s Active Directory object which was been upscaled by the Skype for Business client. The left portion shows the same call in the same window size but with the 648×648 pixel photo as provided by Exchange Server.
Additional articles in this series focusing on Exchange Server 2013 integration capabilities with Skype for Business 2015 can be found here.