The Ideal Instagram Photo Size

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 cut, cropped, or resized completely.

The Ideal Instagram Photo Size

There isn’t a way to avoid Instagram’s default compression algorithm, but you can optimize your images in a way that will make them shine after the fact. This article focuses on the ideal dimensions, ways to upload and “trick” Instagram into showcasing your images at full quality.

What are Instagram’s Photo Sizing Requirements?

If you want a seamless experience posting photos on Instagram, you may want to familiarize yourself with Instagram’s photo sizing requirements. While the question is a simple one, it can actually get quite complicated.

First, Instagram has varying sizing requirements for photos depending on their orientation. For example, what would work for a portrait won’t work for a landscape photo.

Instagram will not force you to change a photo with a width anywhere between 320px to 1080px.

Here are the sizing requirements for Instagram photos in based on orientation:

  • Square Photo – 1080px X 1080px
  • Portrait – 1080px X 1350px
  • Landscape – 1080px X 608px

How Instagram Resizes Photos

Instagram resizes most images to 2048px x 2048px (for pics larger than 2K), and smaller ones are usually stretched up to 1080×1080 in order to fit the minimum standard. This is why taking your pictures in 4K (3,840 × 2,160) is a must, in order to preserve quality/detail in compression.

Fortunately, most resolutions for smartphone cameras are 4K or 3,840 × 2,160. This is why editing for Instagram starts at the very act of taking the picture: You have to adjust your phone PRIOR to take high quality pictures!

The Ideal Instagram Photo Size Is 3,840 × 2,160

When you publish images in 4K (3,840 × 2,160), Instagram downgrades them to the highest compression size availalbe (2K – 2048px x 2048px). This also prepares your images for the future in case Instagram decides to make the default compression setting 4K.

Take Photos In 4K Portrait Mode

Instagram is a “vertical” scrolling app where users consume content from the top down, hence portrait photos are preferred because they are showcased vertically. This means that your picture can take up more space & be seen by more people in the timeline.

For this demo we took a picture of a shower kit in portrait mode. We’re going to show you a publishing trick that allows you to get more space with a basic 4K picture of 3,840 × 2,160 portrait mode. This is the image we took:

  1. Take a photo with your native camera app.

  2. Load up your image in Instagram gallery. You’ll notice Instagram zooms in on the image in a square and won’t display the full portrait mode:

  3. Now PINCH OUT with your fingers and Instagram will pull up the entire portrait image with white borders on the side

Note: Those borders WILL NOT show up when you publish the image, but the full image will be displayed within the timeline:

As you see, Instagram uploaded the FULL resolution image vertically and this image takes up the entire screen.

Meanwhile, landscape images would barely take up half the screen. This is why portrait pictures are superior when it comes to getting attention on social media and you should make sure you to take pictures in portrait mode to save yourself the trouble of having to edit landscape pictures later to make them portrait.

Upload At Full PNG Quality

When you save images to upload for Instagram, make sure they’re saved in .PNG format. This format increase the file size and it’s not practical for Instagrammers that have to upload hundreds of pictures, but it’s perfect for people who want to obtain the highest quality.

PNG preserves the 100% of the original quality while JPG can be downscaled and might come out lower-quality than you expect. If you edit your photos in Photoshop, you should save them as .PNG’s because this format preserves the quality best.

Wrapping Up

Making your Instagram photos look as good as possible is fairly easy. Shooting in portrait mode and as high a resolution as originally possible, along with some editing tricks, make it so that anyone can upload high quality content. Do you have any experience, tips, or questions regarding the ideal Instagram photo size? Leave a comment in the section below!

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