We have to admit we’re living in the best Instagram content era, with formats like Stories, Reels, IGTV, video, feed posts. From square, to portrait, to landscape orientation, you name it.
With all of the different options to choose from, it’s tough to suck at the Instagram content game.
However, things can go south if we miss planning our content formats with specific Instagram image size guidelines in mind.
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That’s why we’ve decided to break down all different image sizes you’ll ever need for a killer Instagram layout. Plus, additional info on all the different photo resolutions for the best possible quality.
Let’s get started.
Instagram size guide #1: Feed posts
As the oldest in the group, feed posts came a long way from being strictly square-shaped to now allowing a full range of sizes and orientation.
Still, the most popular choice, square posts with a 1:1 aspect ratio, are an obvious choice, especially when we consider that Instagram automatically crops content to fit this ratio.
Note: Aspect ratio shows the relation between the width and height of a picture. The first number of the ratio shows width, while the second shows height. Size, on the other hand, shows the image resolution expressed in pixels. As with the aspect ratio, the first number represents the width and the second height.
It’s essential to follow Instagram aspect ratio and size guidelines to avoid losing parts of your image. Another thing is compromising image quality due to Instagram’s automatic crop and compression.
To get the best quality in square, it’s best you use 1080px by 1080px size photos. Even with the Instagram compression, you’ll still preserve great clarity and quality.
For horizontal feed posts, you can take it up to 16:9 when it comes to aspect ratio. Instagram suggests 1.91:1, though, but 16:9 will look just fine.
As far as the size of your horizontal feed post, you’ll get the best results with a minimum height of 1080px with the compression factor in play.
Ideally, you should optimize for a 4:5 ratio for vertical feed posts to avoid weird cropped scenarios.
Size-wise, best practice is 1080px by 1350px to preserve nice quality after compression.
Here’s the low-down on Instagram in-feed Video posts:
Aspect ratio: from 16:9 to 4:5
Frame rate: 30 frames per second
Max file size: 4GB.
Instagram size guide #2: Carousel posts
As with regular in-feed posts, Instagram carousel posts support all format photos and videos.
There’s one catch, though. It has to do with the uniform look of all the photos and/or videos you post to a carousel. The first one in line determines the aspect ratio of the rest. Meaning, if you don’t optimize all photos with the same ratio, Instagram will do it for you.
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Instagram size guide #3: Instagram Stories
We’ve already discussed the importance of Story size in a post on our blog called, well, Why Instagram story size… matters? So you can check it out for more in-depth analysis.
Here, we’re going to provide a quick guide on the best and most commonly used Instagram Story Size and aspect ratio options.
As a relatively versatile and relaxed format, Instagram Stories allow pretty much any size photo with an aspect ratio from 1.91:1 to 9:16. That being said, we would suggest using the latter ratio with a size of 1080px by 1920px for full screen. Of course, you can always go smaller when you need extra screen space to highlight some additional text or stickers.
Instagram size guide #4: IGTV videos
IGTV videos come in vertical and horizontal orientations.
For vertical, aspect ratio is 9:16 with a size of 1080px by 1920px.
Horizontal IGTV videos work best on 16:9 aspect ratio and a size of 1920px by 1080px.
The length of an IGTV video can be anything from one to ten minutes, while verified accounts can have up to one hour of IGTV footage.
When it comes to IGTV cover photos, you’d also want it to be the absolute best quality. And since it can’t be edited after publishing, it’s important to make it right the first time. Instagram suggests using an aspect ratio of 1:1.55 and a size of 420px by 654px.
Another thing to consider here is to optimize your IGTV cover photo to show perfectly when previewed in your Instagram feed. And in the cropped version for your Instagram profile grid. Remember that IG feed shows a 1.91:1-4:5 ratio, while Instagram crops profile grid photos to 1:1.
The way to go about this is to place your title graphics and text at the cover image’s center square. This is something you’ll notice on best brands’ Instagram’s such as @Revolve that doesn’t leave anything to chance when it comes to their visual game.
Instagram size guide #5: Reels
Looking to add some new, fun content to your Instagram plan with IG Reels? But you’re not sure how to execute orientation-wise for best results?
We’ve got you covered.
With Reels, it’s best to go with what Instagram almighty intended. This means optimizing for vertical, full screen, mobile experience.
Aspect ratio: 9:16
Film and edit on mobile for best results
Length: Up to 30 seconds
Remember to reserve the bottom part of the Reel screen for comments. Plan your shots so that the primary visual elements are in the upper part.
Instagram size guide #6: Instagram Live
It’s pretty straightforward when it comes to Instagram Live videos. Meaning it doesn’t require any input on your part.
Live videos are recorded in vertical mode and streamed live from your mobile. In most cases, the ratio is 9:16, which is ideal.
And this pretty much sums up all you need to know about the Instagram size guide.
In the next chapter, we’ll be sure to answer some of the most common questions related to the sizing and ratio of your Instagram images, so stay tuned.
Instagram size guide #7: Most commonly asked questions
If you’re still puzzled with how Instagram sizing works and need more answers, here are some of the most common questions regarding the topic users are struggling with.
Why are my photos blurry when I post them on Instagram?
Bad news – this can happen.
Good news – there’s a solution.
The main reason your photos are losing quality when uploaded to Instagram is the wrong size. As we mentioned earlier, Instagram will automatically compress the images to fit the display size. And that’s why the distortion happens.
So, if you upload an image that’s larger than 1080px, you’ll get the blurry, compressed version displayed. The same goes for images smaller than 320px by 320px. Suppose you try to upload a smaller image. In that case, Instagram will enlarge it to fit the display mode, and the quality will be largely compromised.
To avoid these ugly scenarios, it’s best to stick to the suggested size and ratio guides.
For best feed photo quality, go for square images, 1080px by 1080px in size. That way, when Instagram compresses your photo to 600px by 600px, you’ll still get great clarity and quality. For other best practice Instagram image sizes, return to previous chapters.
Pro tip: Another great way to keep your image quality is to upload from a desktop. Instagram’s web app works better than the mobile version when it comes to this issue.
How to edit photos to fit Instagram guidelines?
Now that you are in on the best image size measurements for Instagram, it’s best to try and keep your photos in line with the guidelines. However, there are a number of apps, tools, and software you can use to resize your images to perfectly fit Instagram’s display guides. Some of the best and most commonly used include Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Still, you can always do additional research and maybe even find some cool, free options.
How to add a full photo to Instagram without losing quality?
Say you have a portrait photo you want to upload to Instagram without cropping to square orientation.
First, you’d want to make sure your photo is about 1080px by 1350px, so you avoid quality loss due to compression.
Then, you can go ahead and upload your photo. The trick to making it fit perfectly is to use the full-size button, which will fit any orientation photo to the maximum aspect ratio available. It’s as simple as tapping the expand arrows available at the bottom left corner of your image. And, voila, you’ve got your entire gorgeous photo up in seconds.
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Understanding the Instagram image size guide is essential for any business, influencer, or regular Joe trying to take their marketing game to the next level. Let’s face it, Instagram is a pretty visual platform, and if you don’t play by the standard aesthetic rules, your chances are slim to none.
So, to ensure utmost quality, cohesiveness, and smooth visual style on Instagram, be sure to use our guide as your secret weapon cheat sheet you can save and revisit each time you need a quick reminder. We admit it can be a bit overwhelming to keep up with all the different formats, sizes, and whatnot.