Size Matters

Why Instagram Story Size… Matters?

Instagram stories have been around since August 2016. They were introduced after Snapchat’s “revolutionary” 24h long snaps.

The reception was a bit controversial in the beginning. People on almost all social media platforms were accusing them of ripping off Snapchat’s idea – which is so (un)true. 

Snapchat rejected Zuckerberg’s billion-dollar offers more than once – so he was forced to initiate Plan B.

colorful paper and measuring ruler

Over the years, people have accepted and even applaud the differences. The innovation that Instagram has brought with this new feature is definitely here to stay!

Users can interact with their Instagram followers on a daily basis – without having to post 3+ photos a day directly on their profile. 

This has helped Instagram businesses even more. It’s a great way to showcase what you do without spamming your audience. Stories are an awesome way for brands to show the people behind the product.

We are currently in 2020. Instagram users have been uploading stories for almost 4 years now. It’s a whole internet science now. 

Today we’ll be covering how you can improve your Instagram Story dimensions game with our simple tips

The learning curve is not that steep. You definitely don’t need a Ph.D. in photography to get this right (if there even is such a thing 🤔)!

So, what’s the size of an Instagram Story? Here are the main points: 

  1. Dimensions and Aspect Ratio
  2. Different Resolutions for Photos and Videos
  3. The Right File Formats to Use
  4. Fine-tuning Your Stories

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Dimensions and Aspect Ratio

The Right Instagram Story Dimensions

What size is an Instagram Story? Some of them look like they have been cropped or a part of them is missing.

With over 100 million stories uploaded to Instagram every single day, some are bound to look subpar. The correct size always saves the day when it comes to content! Whatever fits, stays!

We’re here to make sure that this never happens to your stories.

Instagram Story dimensions are 1080 pixels wide and 1920 pixels high. This is especially important if you’re working with a professional camera! 

These are the recommended dimensions that just look good. With these specs, Instagram won’t cut out any parts of your photo or video.

What about other devices? Not everyone is using the same size phone or they might be on a tablet. Using 1080×1920 is a great way to work around this problem. As long as you use those Instagram Story size dimensions, your stories will look the same on any device.

If you’re not sure if photos taken by your phone are in these dimensions, you can always rely on the Instagram app. 

When you take photos or videos directly through the app, the Instagram Story resolution is always 1080×1920.

blurry instagram story photo

perfectly taken instagram story photo

Side to side comparison: The photo on the left was cropped automatically by Instagram and a whole lot of it is lost. The right one shows the full picture. You should avoid uploading them like the first example

Aspect Ratio

An aspect ratio is the proportion of height and width. The aspect ratio of Instagram Stories is 9:16. Knowing this means that your content doesn’t always have to be 1080×1920.

two arrows and their length

The 9:16 Ratio

If your content has a ratio of 9:16, it doesn’t really matter which resolution you are using. This means that you can play around with the size of your image. That’s the best Instagram Story template size.

The aspect ratio of 9:16 has several resolutions:

1024×576, 1152×648, 1280×720, 1366×768, 1600×900, 1080×1920, 2560×1440 (1440p), 3840×2160 (2K), and 7680 x 4320 (4K).

For example, let’s say you’re uploading a standard HD video with the 1280×720 resolution. It’s gonna work fine with Instagram since it still retains that 9:16 aspect ratio.

Options aside, you should stick to the 1080×1920 resolution when it comes to the 9:16 ratio. It’s not a coincidence that this is the preferred size. 

If your images/videos are smaller it may affect the quality. (you can’t zoom in to see all those details that the larger Instagram Story format allows).


Different Resolutions for Photos and Videos

Instagram Story Image Size Limit

The maximum size of an image that can be uploaded to an Instagram Story is 30MB. You can kind of guess the Instagram Story pixel size here. This means that anything above that 30MB mark is a no-go.

This is more than enough for an image. Image sizes are usually around 10MB unless we’re talking about raw ones. 

Of course, raw images take a lot more space since they are uncompressed and have a greater focus on detail for editing purposes – but you probably don’t need to worry about that 😆

In case you want to go into geek mode here’s a bit more info on RAW. Let’s take a run-of-the-mill Nikon camera. 

The size of its raw images can range from 30MB to up to 70+MB. Professional photographers always use the raw format as a baseline since it gives them more room to play with while editing. 

If this is the case with you, you’ll have to convert these images into JPGs so they can be uploaded to your Instagram Story.

resolutions needed for image sizes

Raw vs JPG files

Video Size Limit

The maximum size of a video being uploaded is 4GB. This is more than enough for a 15-second video.

Professionally recorded videos are generally larger in data than supported. This means that you will need to reduce the size of the videos which we’ll cover below.

There are 2 main ways:

  • Using a professional video editing tool – Software like Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro can do the trick
  • Using an online video converter – You can use a free tool like FreeConvert. It’s as simple as dragging and dropping the file.

The Right File Format to Use

Photos – JPG and PNG

The supported formats for images are PNG and JPG. This means you can’t upload images in other formats. Since these formats don’t occupy a lot of space, you really won’t have to worry about the 30MB size limit.

The main difference between these two formats is that PNGs can have a transparent background and are recommended for static graphics, while the JPGs are more suited for photographs. 

PNG files are also larger than JPG files so they take a little bit longer to upload.

We recommend you use the format which suits your situation the best.

jpg vs png photo of cherryComparison between JPG and PNG

Videos – MP4 and MOV

Instagram Stories support only 2 video formats: MP4 and MOV. If you are using these formats then the 4GB limit will seem pretty excessive. 

MOV video format takes a lot more space than a regular MP4, but the latter should be your first choice. MOV files are larger because they are of higher quality compared to a standard MP4.

You can always convert these MOV files into MP4s by using either editing software or a free online converter like previously mentioned.

If you prefer to keep your video in the MOV format, you can use a compressor instead. The Instagram Story video size will be smaller, without having to sacrifice the quality. The tool that we recommend is called FreeConvert.

video compressor imageExample of a free online video converter


Fine-tuning Your Stories

Keep It Vertical

You don’t have to worry about the orientation if you’re taking photos/videos over Instagram since it will automatically take care of it.

It’s different when you’re uploading from your phone directly. You need to ensure that they are vertical.

People tend to use their smartphones vertically. Naturally, Instagram UI is designed to work best with verticality in mind. 

It’s a lot more appealing to view content on Instagram in your natural hand position rather than having to turn your phone every time.

If you want to showcase a photo that’s, let’s say a landscape, it is best to upload it like this. Those are the best Instagram Story dimensions! 

landscape and portrait differences in photoDon’t be afraid to change the orientation of your uploads

Videos Should Be 15 Seconds or Less

Instagram supports 15-second videos. If the video that you are trying to upload is longer than 15 seconds, it will be cut into several 15-second segments. 

This means you can create a sequence of video stories to boost engagement.

However, this won’t happen if your video is longer than 60 seconds. Instagram will segment the first minute of your video and simply will not upload the rest of it.

Spice Up Your Story With GIFs

Adding GIFs to your Instagram Stories makes them feel more alive. What’s even better is if you have your own branded GIF stickers. But don’t put them all over the screen, as you’ll worsen the Instagram Story size pixels. 

Being original and creative can be hard, but creating Story stickers is a must!

We have a lot more tips on how you can get the most out of your Instagram experience so feel free to sign up.

Now that you know how to create the perfect Instagram Story, it’s time to get even more followers to see them. 


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We often like to say that it’s better to focus on quality rather than quantity and it’s more than true here. Your followers will notice when your Story is misshapen or misaligned – details are always vital.


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