You’ve probably all experienced the frustrations of uploading a great photo to your Instagram and then seeing that in the grid it’s not quite sitting right?  Or popped something on Facebook only to see the quality isn’t quite as clear as you thought it was.

Annoying isn’t it!

I’m going to help you out here and give you some really quick details on best sizes for each of the most used social media platforms for your business.  

In this blog I’ll  concentrate on Instagram.

I will start of by saying you can definitely work with whatever size photo you have when uploading but what’s in this blog will help maximise your businesses chance of being seen well – and for longer too. Getting your grids & feed to work best for you is important as potential customers only hang around for a few seconds as they scroll through their day.

Instagram as it’s a very visual platform, unlike some of the others, and probably the best place to get your business seen.  With over a billion accounts and more than 500 million of them in use each day, it’s a great place to be featured, but let’s give you a great chance by using the optimum sizes available!

Gone are the days when Instagram only supported the square photo look.  They had a bit of an overhaul in 2015 that lifted the optimum resolution to 1080 pixels wide by 1080 pixels tall.

The ever popular square is still a big draw and can be incredibly impactful, but you’ve got to really consider what you are photographing and compose your shot always with the square in mind in order to make the best use of it.

Today you basically have three shape options to work with.  The original Square and now Landscape or Portrait orientations are fully supported.

Portrait images are 1080px wide by 1350px tall.  If you aren’t familiar with pixels then the ratio is 8:10, also known as 4:5.  Either way it’s essentially the same ratio as a 8″ x 10″ photo.

Landscape images are 1080px wide by 608px tall.  The ratio here is 1.91 to 1.  Without getting overly technical in this blog (that’s a whole other story) then be really aware of the original size of your photo when considering using it for Instagram.

Instagram works with any photo that’s between 320px wide and 1080px wide.  Anything uploaded that fits within that range will be

uploaded at it’s original size, so you don’t need to worry over those ones.  HOWEVER if you have a photo that’s below 320px and you upload it Instagram will automatically increase it’s size to the minimum 320px.  The likely result in that case is a blurry image that doesn’t do anyone any favours and will turn your clients away from you and your products or services quicker than anything. On the flip side if you have a photo bigger than 1080px then don’t worry, IG will automatically adjust this to it’s maximum of 1080px.  So you can see that downsizing is a much better situation to find yourself in that trying to make a poor photo fit.

So how do you get them to the right size?

Well you can either sort the crop/ratio out before you export it from your picture editing software program you use.  If you don’t use one then there are plenty to check out.  Alternatively you can let Instagram sort it out for you directly within the platform through their own tools.

A good point to note is that photos that are in Portrait orientation will usually deliver you a much better engagement.  If you think about it it takes you longer to scroll past these photos than the Landscape orientation photos.  So that’s always worth bearing in mind when making your selections.

Pick one shape or mix them all up, that’s entirely up to you, your style and how you wish your brand to be viewed I guess.  Whichever you pick it’s worth noting that within the grid itself you’ll only see them in squares.

I personally currently use all 3 but the square option is only ever used in Info Slides like the ones in this blog.  I want my actual photos to be either Landscape or Portrait.

OK, let’s now look at sizes for Instagram Stories.

The optimum fit for these is 1080px by 1920px, or the 9:16 ratio.

If you use this size you’ll not have a coloured background or border appearing.

Go for a smaller size, and you can work with a photo that’s anywhere between 1.91:1 and 9:16 ratio, it will be completely fine and work for you, but you will have the border appearing.

The best thing to do is to only work with the portrait style photos you have for stories as this is how this area of the platform has been designed.

When you share a photo from your feed, or someone else’s feed, to your Stories be aware that if they aren’t vertical you’ll see the borders appearing.  They work, but the opinion maybe that they don’t look as professional.

I personally don’t think there is a right or wrong way to this, it’s what you like and what you think best reflects you and your business and what you are hoping to achieve through the use of Stories with your business.  For me I only upload vertical photos of my own here (or vertically created infographics etc) but you will see shared images from other accounts appearing in Landscape form too.

I quite like the blend of ‘me’ and ‘you’.

So there you go, hopefully that was some pretty quick and helpful details on sizing your photos for Instagram together with some considerations to make when selecting the photos you’d like to use, or take.

If you want help with sizing the photos you do have then drop me a message.  Oh and guess what… Each business package I offer has the option to supply you with Social Media sized/ratio images as part of the service.  Whether you need images for your website, for an Instagram post or your Facebook page, then I’ve got you covered if you want it.

No more re-sizing issues.  Now doesn’t that sound appealing…

Rachel x

I offer a range of options for business looking for product or service based photography.  Why not remove the doubt from whether an image can be used or not  and if the image truly suits your own business by gaining your own authentic stock library.  Don’t forget the options to have your business images sent through ready sized for social media use!

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