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What’s the best Instagram image size for 2021?

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by David Em
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The optimal Instagram image size is 1080 pixels wide. If your photo is larger, it’ll be sized down. If it’s smaller, it’ll be sized up.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

A phone showing the Instagram logo.

Aspect ratio and dimensions

When you’re sharing images and videos on Instagram, the two most important factors to keep in mind are aspect ratio and dimensions. The two control how your image looks and the quality that appears.

Related: Lightroom export settings for Instagram

The aspect ratio describes the image based on its proportions. It’s the relationship between width and height.

The dimensions are the exact size. For Instagram, this is measured in pixels.

Related: How to give photo credit

Save the following Instagram photo and video size infographic to use as a reference:

Instagram photo size infographic.

Square

There are two Instagram photo size requirements for square images. The first is 180 x 180 pixels, which is used for profile photos. If your profile photo is blurry, it may be due to a low-resolution image.

The second is 1080 x 1080 pixels, which is used for posts on your Instagram feed.

All square images are at a 1:1 aspect ratio. This means that the height and width are the same size and length.

Horizontal and landscape

Horizontal images take up the least amount of space on a screen, which means they can be easily skipped when someone is scrolling.

Instagram recommends a 1.91:1 aspect ratio, which equates to 1080 x 608 pixels. Although 1.91:1 is the recommended aspect ratio, you can upload images that are 16:9.

Vertical and portrait

Vertical photos are great for grabbing the attention of a viewer because it takes up the most space on the screen.

When you upload a photo in portrait orientation, use the 4:5 aspect ratio and make sure the dimensions are 1080 x 1350.

If you try to upload anything longer than 4:5, Instagram will automatically crop your photo to a 4:5 aspect ratio.

Instagram Stories size

Instagram stories are slightly different when it comes to portrait orientation but the landscape orientation is the same.

For vertical stories, the aspect ratio is 9:16 and 1080 x 1920 pixels. Horizontal stories are 1.91:1 and 1080 x 608 pixels.

Instagram Live and IGTV

Instagram Live is recorded vertically. Therefore the aspect ratio and dimensions are the same as an Instagram Story which is 9:16 and 1080 x 1920 pixels.

The cover photo needs to have an aspect ratio of 1:1.55 and the size is 420 x 654 pixels.

Note: IGTV videos are cropped to a 4:5 size when they appear on the feed.

Here are the official specs according to Facebook, who owns Instagram.

Image ads

File type: JPG or PNG

Resolution: No maximum resolution as long as you fit the aspect ratio requirements.

Text: 2 rows of text will be visible.

Minimum width: 500 pixels

IG Stories ad

When you’re creating Instagram Story ads, it’s recommended that you leave 14% or 250 pixels of the top and bottom clear because of the profile icon and call-to-action.

Related: Marketing ideas for photographers

Video ads

The maximum length is 120 seconds and the size is 30MB.

Facebook also recommends H.264 compression, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan, and stereo AAC audio compression at 128kbps+.

How to resize an image

If you haven’t resized an image before, don’t worry. There are many options when it comes to resizing a photo for free.

Use any of the following methods to resize a photo:

Method 1: Mac

  1. Double-click the image.
  2. Click Tools.
  3. Click Adjust Size.
  4. Enter the new dimensions.
  5. Click File.
  6. Click Save.

Method 2: Windows

  1. Open the Paint application.
  2. Click File.
  3. Click Open to select your image.
  4. Use the resize tool to make adjustments.
  5. Click File.
  6. Click Save.

Method 3: Canva

Canva (opens in a new tab) is a design platform that makes it easy to create graphics, illustrations, and presentations.

In Canva, you can create a document using custom dimensions and upload your image to fit the size you’re aiming for.

Websites and software:

  • Lightroom
  • Photoshop
  • Pixlr
  • BeFunky
  • ResizeImage.net
  • Image Size app

Frequently asked questions

How do you fit a full picture on Instagram?

When you upload an image to Instagram, it naturally crops the picture to a square. You can click the expand arrows in the lower left to fit the full picture on Instagram.

Do photos have to be square?

No, the photos you upload can be square, horizontal, or vertical.

How many pixels per inch is Instagram?

Photos online don’t maintain a number of pixels per inch. Therefore, make sure you get the right width in pixels.

Conclusion

Using the right image and video sizes on Instagram will ensure that you post high-quality content. Understanding the guidelines and best-practices is essential.

More resources:

Featured photo by Unsplash.

About David Em

David Em.

David Em is the founder of Portraits Refined. He’s a published portrait photographer dedicated to helping photographers develop skills, capture incredible photos, and build successful businesses.

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