It’s 2020 and – whether we like it or not – we spend a lot (and we mean A LOT!) of time in social networks, including Instagram. We can enjoy so many beautiful options this app has to offer, uploading our photos and videos, sharing our passions and ideas, even turning them into successful businesses.
Whether you’re an experienced Instagram blogger or just a beginner, you may find this guide very useful.
We’re going to talk about Instagram photo and video sizes. If you want to know which ones you should use and in what case, in order not to lose quality and for more appealing look of your content, our guide is what you need
IMAGE POST SIZES
When you upload photos in Instagram, there are two main words you should remember: aspect ratio and size.
Aspect ratio is the width of an image in relation to its height. For example, 9:16 ratio, where 9 means width and 16 means height.
Size is the number of pixels that make up the width and height of your photo or video. For example, 1080px by 1350px means that the width of the photo is 1080px and the height is 1350px.
Instagram first launched in 2012 and at that time it allowed us to post only square photos in a 1:1 aspect ratio. Bummer, right? Yeah, we all remember that sad time when we had to crop our beautiful photos to fit into the Instagram size requirements. Very frustrating! But the users unsatisfied with that issue gave a lot of feedback to the company, so Instagram upgraded it, and since 2015 we can post our photos also in portraits and landscape mode without cropping them!
The only thing – you have to make sure that the shortest side of your photo is up to 1080px. And don’t upload photos that exceed the aspect ratios, because then you’ll have to crop these photos.
RESOLUTION IN INSTAGRAM
By default, the Instagram uploads your photos at the best resolution possible up to a width of 1080px.
Always keep the width of your photo between 320px and 1080px and make sure the photo’s aspect ratio is correct: this way the resolution won’t be affected. On the other hand, if the aspect ratio of your photo is not supported, it will be automatically cropped, which may cause deterioration of the resolution.
Our advice – always resize your photo to the appropriate size and aspect ratio BEFORE uploading it to Instagram. It will help you to avoid quality loss caused by automatic resizing or compression. For these purposes you can use any app, desktop software or web photo editor.
Now let’s find out what are the best image sizes for different types of photos in Instagram: Square, Portrait and Landscape.
PERFECT SIZE: 1080PX BY 1080PX
PERFECT ASPECT RATIO: 1:1
It’s a standard (and still very popular) photo size which has an aspect ratio of 1:1. It’s very easy to upload when you’re a beginner, especially considering that Instagram and most of photo editing apps already have the auto-cropping function, and iOS cameras even allow you to shoot square pictures.
If you want the best results, dimensions of your photo should be between 320px by 320px and 1080px by 1080px, no more, no less. Otherwise you’ll lose quality of the image, sometimes drastically. It happens because Instagram automatically compresses or expands the image to fit the display. If you upload an image larger than 1080px, Instagram will compress it. If you upload an image smaller than 320px, Instagram will expand the picture which will result in pixelation and fuzziness.
The more extreme is compression or expansion, the worse image quality you get.
If you want the best quality possible on your Instagram, try to upload 1080px by 1080px photos. After the compression the dimensions will be approximately 600px by 600px, and your image will look perfect on your mobile and desktop display, resolution intact.
By the way, Instagram’s web application preserves image quality much better than mobile version, so you can also upload images from your laptop and get a great result.
PORTRAIT PHOTO (VERTICAL)
PERFECT SIZE: 1080PX BY 1350PX
PERFECT ASPECT RATIO: 4:5
The perfect aspect ratio for portrait photos is 4:5. Keep in mind that if you upload a portrait of a larger aspect ratio, like 4:6, a part of the photo will be cropped to fit within the Instagram dimensions. And we definitely don’t want that.
It is very easy to post any portrait photo in Instagram without cropping it. Just use a full-size button when uploading your photo (tap the expand arrows in the bottom left corner of your photo). It will automatically adjust your portrait size photo to the maximum aspect ratio available.
And if you want to get the best resolution of your vertical photo (and we bet you do), remember that your image should be the 1080px by 1350px size to avoid automatic compression or expansion.
LANDSCAPE PHOTO (HORIZONTAL)
PERFECT SIZE: 1080PX BY 1350PX
PERFECT ASPECT RATIO: 1.91:1
If you love taking pictures of nature, for example, this piece of information is just for you.
The rules for posting landscape pictures on your Instagram page are simple. With the dimensions stated above you can upload your horizontal photos on Instagram with the best quality without a border. You can also upload landscape pictures at aspect ratio of 16:9, but in this case a black border will automatically appear around the photo. Make sure that the height of your photo is at least 1080px to keep the quality perfect on your mobile and desktop display.
When uploading your photo tap the full-size button (the expand arrows at the bottom left corner of the photo display). This way the image will be adjusted into the right landscape ratio. Adjust the cropping of the photo if you need and then click Next. Done! Easy peasy!
Little advice: if you post landscape pictures quite often, try to set the same aspect ratio for each one. It will look more appealing on your feed. Your followers will thank you.
INSTAGRAM CAROUSEL POSTS
Instagram carousel posts can be of square, horizontal or vertical format, and can include both photos and videos.
One thing you need to remember: all the photos or videos you’ve selected for your Carousel will be cropped to the same aspect ratio as the first one!
So, if the first photo you select is square, all of your following photos will be also cropped to a 1:1 aspect ratio.
So, let’s sum up all of the above (which is a lot of information to process) before we move further.
ASPECT RATIOS AND POST SIZES FOR YOUR INSTAGRAM PHOTOS
|Type of Post||Aspect Ratio||Post Size|
|Square photos||1:1||1080px by 1080px|
|Portrait photos||4:5||1080px by 1350px|
|Landscape photos||1.91:1||1080px by 608px|
And don’t worry that your Instagram feed will look a bit chaotic if you use a mix of landscape, square and portrait images! All your photos will automatically appear on your feed in square mode and a grid will look very structured. So, when someone wants to see what’s inside your preview image, he’ll open a post and see all the portrait and landscape photos you got there.
Recommendation for further reading: Instagram Video Size & Length Upload Requirements in 2020.