Avid Instagram users are likely familiar with the platform's tricky photo sizing algorithm. You may try to upload the perfect photo only to find that it needs to be completely cropped, cropped or resized.
There's no way to avoid Instagram's default compression algorithm, but you can optimize your images to make them shine after the fact. This article focuses on the ideal dimensions, ways to upload and "trick" Instagram to showcase your images in full quality.
What are Instagram's photo sizing requirements?
If you want a seamless experience posting photos to Instagram, you might want to familiarize yourself with Instagram's photo sizing requirements. Although the question is simple, it can actually get quite complicated.
First, Instagram has different sizing requirements for photos depending on their orientation. For example, what would work for a portrait will not work for a landscape photo.
Instagram won't force you to edit a photo whose width is between 320px à 1080px.
Here are the sizing requirements for Instagram photos based on orientation:
- Square Photo – 1080px X 1080px
- Portrait – 1080px X 1350px
- Landscape – 1080px X 608px
How Instagram Resizes Photos
Instagram scales most images to 2048px x 2048px (for images larger than 2K), and smaller ones are usually stretched to 1080x1080 to fit the minimum standard. This is why shooting your photos in 4K (3×840) is a must, to preserve quality/detail in compression.
Luckily, most resolutions for smartphone cameras are 4K or 3×840. That's why editing for Instagram starts the moment you shoot: You need to set your phone BEFORE to take high quality photos!
The ideal Instagram photo size is 3 × 840
When you post images in 4K (3×840), Instagram downgrades them to the highest compression size available (2K – 160px x 2px). It also prepares your images for the future in case Instagram decides to set the compression setting to 2048K as the default.
Take 4K portrait mode photos
Instagram is a “vertical” scrolling application where users consume content from top to bottom, so portrait photos are preferred as they are presented vertically. This means your photo can take up more space and be seen by more people in the timeline.
For this demo we took a picture of a shower kit in portrait mode. We'll show you a post trick that lets you get more space with a base 4K image of 3×840 in portrait mode. Here is the image we took:
- Take a photo with your native camera app.
- Upload your image to the Instagram gallery. You'll notice that Instagram zooms in on the image in a square and won't display full portrait mode:
- Now PINCH with your fingers and Instagram will display the whole portrait image with white borders on the side
Notes: These borders WILL NOT will be displayed when you post the image, but the full image will be displayed in the timeline:
As you see, Instagram uploaded the image in FULL resolution vertically and this image takes up the whole screen.
Meanwhile, landscape images would barely take up half the screen. This is why portrait photos are superior when it comes to grabbing attention on social media and you should make sure to shoot in portrait mode to avoid having to edit landscape photos. later to make a portrait.
Download in full PNG quality
When saving images to upload for Instagram, make sure they are saved in .PNG format. This format increases file size and is inconvenient for Instagrammers who need to upload hundreds of images, but is perfect for people who want the best quality.
PNG preserves 100% of the original quality while JPG can be scaled down and may come out lower quality than you expect. If you edit your photos in Photoshop, you should save them in .PNG format because this format preserves quality better.
Making your Instagram photos as beautiful as possible is quite easy. Shooting in portrait mode and as high a resolution as possible originally, along with some editing tricks, allows everyone to download high-quality content. Do you have any experience, advice or questions regarding the ideal Instagram photo size? Leave a comment in the section below!