Everything You Need To Know About Instagram Photo Sizes In 2021

Instagram Photo Sizes: The Complete Guide for 2021

Instagram has come a long way since its release in 2010— oh, what simple times! Now, it’s one of the leading marketing platforms for brands, businesses, creators, and more, with tons of features for creating innovative content. 

Instagram is a visual platform, which means you have to focus on photos and videos to make your content eye-catching. With that comes the need for one important skill: how to size photos for Instagram. 

Using the right photo and video size for Instagram does make a big difference, and if you’re looking to elevate your content and put out quality images that look great on any device, it’s vital that you know about the specs. 

How many of you actively consider Instagram photo and video sizes when you shoot your content? How about when you edit it? Or do you just upload it and hope for the best? 

Your Instagram content is what defines your brand or business; your audience will see it and associate you with it. For that reason, you don’t want sloppy, blurry, or grainy images— that can actually harm your reputation. 

Instagram users are looking for intriguing and enticing photo and video content, so if you want to get more Instagram followers and engagement, the first step is to start with the basics: optimize your image size and dimensions. 

If that seems like something you have no idea about, fear not. We’ve put together this guide as a go-to reference for all things Instagram image sizing so that you don’t have to deal with the headache. 

Let’s get sizing! 

The Best Resolution Possible for Instagram 

Regardless of whether you’re using Instagram on iPhone or Android, Instagram’s help center has clearly laid out the best image sizes for Instagram and recommends that you use the max resolution or something close to it for best results. 

1080 pixels is the max resolution for Instagram, and it’s the best visual that you can upload. This will secure high-quality content on any device that the viewer is using, including desktop. 

Instagram will maintain the original resolution if the width of your shared photo falls between 320 and 1080 pixels; it also must have an aspect ratio between 1.91:1 and 4:5 (height between 566-1350 pixels with a 1080 pixel width). 

If this isn’t the case, due to the unsupported aspect ratio, your content will be cropped to fit within a supported ratio. 

When your photo is lower than 320 pixels, Instagram will enlarge it to a width of 320 pixels; alternatively, if your photo is above 1080, Instagram will lower the size to 1080. To ensure your photo is shared at the 1080 pixel width, you should: 

  1. Check to make sure you have the most recent Instagram app version. 
  2. Work with a high-quality camera (phone or standalone camera); different cameras are of different quality. 
  3. Confirm that the photo you’re going to upload has a width of at least 1080 pixels and an aspect ratio between 1.91:1 and 4:5. 

You can check this directly on your computer or use a photo editing app to confirm that the size is within the correct ranges. 

What Is The Difference Between Aspect Ratio And Photo Size?

Instagram Photo Sizes

If you’re not a photo pro and aren’t sure about this technical jargon, let’s break it down. The aspect ratio of an image describes the relationship between width and height. There are no units involved, but the ratio shows how large the image’s width is when compared to its height. 

This means that it doesn’t matter if the photo is measured in inches, centimeters, or feet— the aspect ratio will be the same every time. The size doesn’t impact the ratio, it’s the height against width that will determine the ratio and the shape of the photo. 

The aspect ratio is also changed based on the device that it’s shown on; an image on a phone won’t have the same aspect ratio on the computer, even though it’s the same image. It’s for this reason that having the right aspect ratio is so important for visual web content. 

Instagram has a variety of different aspect ratios depending on how you want your image to appear: Square aspect ratio (1:1), Horizontal (wide, 1.8:1), Horizontal (tall, 1.91:1), and Vertical (0.8:1 or 4:5). 

When Instagram first launched, the only aspect ratio available was 1:1, but as you can see, now you have a few different options for your images on the platform. 

The aspect ratio refers to the proportional relationship of width and height, so that means that photo size is related to the photo’s actual width and height, measured in pixels. Since photo size measures dimensions, you could use any unit, but for web and digital images, pixels is the unit of measurement most commonly used. 

So, in discussing aspect ratio and image size, it’s important to understand that even though an image has the same aspect ratio, it’s possible that it doesn’t have the same image size. 

For instance, let’s say that your image size is 1280 x 720 pixels with an aspect ratio of 16:9. Another image that is sized at 1920 x 1080 can still have the same aspect ratio of 16:9, even though the size is different. 

Final takeaways: having both the proper image size as well as aspect ratio prevents your photos from being stretched or losing resolution— it helps to make sure your images show up on Instagram just as you’d intended them to. 

Instagram Feed Post Sizes 

If you want to post content that helps to gain more followers and build your brand’s credibility and reputation, knowing the best image size for Instagram posts is a key element. 

Your image will not only upload quickly, it will have the proper dimensions and the highest level of quality. We’re going to discuss the three main types of Instagram posts here to better understand what image size is optimal for each. 

The Square (1:1 Or 1080x1080PX)

1080x1080

As we mentioned, the square photo was the first (and only) photo type that was allowed on Instagram. When it launched in 2010, this was exclusively the type of content that you could post and it has to do with the Instagram grid itself. 

Because the profile grid crops the content to the 1:1 ratio, it’s a popular content type because it is bound to look great on Instagram. After all, it’s the photo size the platform was initially intended for. 

There’s a natural flow that the square photo provides Instagram users when scrolling through their feed since the platform was essentially designed with this photo size in mind. If you use the square ratio, there’s no doubt that your Instagram followers and potential followers will see consistent, high quality images. 

You’ll want to keep in mind a few things when posting in the square 1:1 aspect ratio: 

  • Photos of 1080 x 1080 pixels work best; when Instagram compresses the image file, it will display close to 600 x 600 pixels, keeping your photo at a high quality. 
  • Shoot your photos with the 1:1 ratio in mind; it will make your life easier when it comes to framing your subject and editing your photos. Many smartphones allow you to shoot your photo directly in the 1:1 ratio, so take advantage of that. 
  • Don’t be afraid to toss out the photo. If it doesn’t look good with a 1:1 ratio, perhaps it wasn’t meant for Instagram. When a photo just isn’t working, don’t be afraid to scrap it and find something different. It’s better to toss out a bad photo than post it just for the sake of posting something. Each image represents your brand or business. 

The Portrait (1080x1350PX)

1080x1350PX

People love the addition of portrait dimensions because it gives such freedom in posting longer shots as well as fire selfies. In portrait photos, they showcase images vertically, and this is how your content will appear on Instagram. 

This photo type works based on an app preset; you can also take portrait images directly from your camera. 

Since portrait photos take up a large portion of the screen, make sure they’re impactful— users will probably have to scroll down a bit to see the caption of your photo. 

If you want the highest quality portrait, you’ll need a 1080 x 1350 pixel image size. Instagram will compress this into an image of 600 x 749 pixels. Make sure the aspect ratio is 4:5; if it’s not, you’ll lose some of the image through cropping. 

Landscape (1.91:1 Or 1080 x 608PX)

1080 x 608PX

When we think about landscapes, we often think about nature, sweeping outdoor scenes that are vast and expansive, street photography, group shots, event photography, and wide shots. These subjects are all perfect for landscape orientation. 

If you want to create dramatic and enticing images of something that is more horizontal, use a landscape photo. 

Your landscape photos will appear in your Instagram feed with less image height than the vertical photos, so your caption will likely be seen without the user having to scroll down to see it. 

The ideal height for a landscape image is at a minimum 1080px so that the quality doesn’t get reduced. The exact recommendation for landscape photos on Instagram is 1080 x 566 pixels. 

Even though there are recommended ratios for landscape photos, it can still be a little tricky to add these images to Instagram effectively. Most landscape photos are truly 16:9 aspect ratio, not 1.91:1. This means that you’ll see a black border around the photo to fill in the gap. 

Final Thoughts On Portrait And Landscape Photos

Portrait And Landscape

You have plenty of options these days to curate the perfect Instagram content. If you want to upload a portrait or landscape photo to Instagram without having it cropped into 1:1, there’s a simple button to help. 

In the left-hand corner of your Instagram camera screen, tap the circle button with two arrows and it will make the adjustment for you. The button will send the portrait or landscape photo to the maximum aspect ratio possible. 

It makes things so much easier instead of having to mess around with it yourself! 

Instagram Carousel Post Sizes

Carousel

Another popular photo feature that Instagram has added in the past few years is the carousel post. Carousel posts avoid the need to post tons of photos in a row; you can post a type of “album” of photos and users can scroll through them horizontally. 

This is perfect for those showcasing products, telling a visual story, sharing vacation pictures, and much more. The carousel image format allows you to showcase up to 10 photos in the album; users may not see the first photo in their feed as it will show them randomly. 

The good news about sizing for carousel posts is that they fall in line with the 3 types of Instagram photo sizes that we described in the above section. One key thing to note here is that once you choose the first photo’s dimension, all other photos have to fit into that dimension as well. 

When creating carousel posts, make sure that they’re all the same aspect ratio; don’t try to start with a square photo and then hope to upload a bunch of images fitting the portrait aspect ratio. They’ll be cropped down. 

Carousel posts are highly valuable on Instagram and get the highest level engagement of all posts, which is why they’ve become particularly popular for Instagram ads. If you want to get more followers and engagement on Instagram, definitely start using carousel posts more often. 

For maximum results, engagement is shown to be highest from 1-3 photos and then 8-10 photos, so aim to fall within one of those two ranges. You’ll also see more engagement when you use a mix of photos and videos in the same carousel post. 

If you’re looking for a strategy that can help you to get through all 10 posts and see real results from your carousel, you can follow the AIDA principle. AIDA = Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. 

Here’s how it works: 

  • Photo 1: headline (Attention) 
  • Photo 2: introduction (Attention) 
  • Photo 3-7: build interest— provide a solution, features, or key points in these photos (Interest)
  • Photo 8-9: create desire, letting your followers know why they must have or support whatever your content showcases (Desire) 
  • Photo 10: use the last slide to incorporate a CTA (call-to-action) for your followers (Action). 

This principle puts them through a sort of sales funnel and gives your carousel more purpose and direction. Not only that, don’t forget to keep your photos on brand with your Instagram theme, color palette, visuals, shapes, and captioning/hashtag strategy. 

With carousel posts, you have a real chance to boost your reputation through professional-looking and engaging content. Have fun doing it! 

Instagram Story Sizes 

Instagram Story Sizes

Instagram stories have a unique element to them in that they can technically be uploaded at any size. If you’ve ever posted an Instagram story, you may have experienced the following. 

When you take or choose a photo to be submitted to Instagram stories, it will take up the whole screen. You can then pinch your fingers together and it will make the photo smaller; you can then move it around and put it wherever you want in the story, at any angle. 

Instagram stories allows any post size, with a minimum aspect ratio of 1.91:1 and a maximum aspect ratio of 9:16. 9:16 is the optimal ratio for Instagram stories, and that’s the full-screen size. 

While this flexibility is great, if you don’t take your photos with the intention of Instagram stories in mind, you may find that your photo will be severely cropped to the point that the focus element is cut off or removed completely. 

Anything smaller than a 9:16 ratio will see that a solid color background is applied to the Instagram story. Many people don’t like this and try to avoid it if they can. Therefore, you should stick to an aspect ratio of 9:16 and 1080 by 1920 pixels.  

Instagram stories can also only be a total file size of 30MB, otherwise they won’t be uploaded. If it’s a video, they must be under 4G and be no longer than 15 seconds. If it’s longer than 15 sections, you can still post it— Instagram stories will just break it up into multiple story posts. 

Bonus tip: Instagram story dimensions depend on the device that they’re displayed on, so it’s advisable to leave about 250 pixels (14%) at the top and bottom of your Instagram story free from text and logos. 

That way, they don’t get covered by your profile photo icon and Instagram buttons at the bottom of the page. In addition, be aware that stories with too much text might get reduced delivery. It’s okay to include text, and you can create text-only stories with the create feature, but too much text with photos is a no-no as you can get less reach. 

Instagram Video Dimensions

Instagram Video Dimensions

Instagram video post sizes are pretty similar to that of Instagram photos— they can be in square, vertical, or horizontal orientation. The square videos are exactly the same— 1080 x 1080 pixels and a 1:1 ratio. 

Horizontal, or landscape, videos are also virtually the same: they can have an aspect ratio between 1.91:1 and 16:9. That in mind, it’s much easier to shoot videos in 16:9 aspect ratio, which you can do directly via your iPhone or other camera. 

Stick with the 16:9 aspect ratio and keep your video around 1080 x 607 pixels in size. 

If you’re posting vertical, or portrait, videos, your maximum aspect ratio will be 4:5 or the video will be cropped. In terms of size, go for 1080 x 1350 pixels whenever possible. The video will be compressed quite a bit— to 478 x 597 pixels. 

You can also have carousel videos, and they follow the same rules and carousel posts. You can choose any of the three orientations— square, vertical, or horizontal, but once you choose the first one, all others have to follow the same orientation. 

How You Shoot Your Video Matters

Shoot Your Video Matters

Now that we know a bit more about Instagram post sizes for videos, it makes a lot of sense that you have to keep in mind how you want your video to appear on Instagram and what kind of orientation you’re going to be using. 

When shooting raw video, use these Instagram dimensions as strategically as possible; use all of the pixel space to your advantage. You only have 1 minute in an Instagram video, so every ounce of screen space is important. 

Don’t try to get too much jammed into one video— it will seem rushed and sloppy. You want to keep your video focused on a single goal that’s very specific in its purpose. Do you want to raise brand awareness? Are you aiming for someone to share your video? Is your goal to get the viewer to click buy now? 

If you have no goal for your video, your video won’t do anything for your Instagram account. Set a goal, keep your video focused, and fulfill that through your visuals. 

Last but not least, it’s a best practice to use the highest resolution possible no matter how long your video is. The video will always be compressed by Instagram, so go as high as you can. Here is the quick guide to maximum resolution for Instagram videos: 

  • Square Instagram video max resolution: 1080 x 1080
  • Portrait Instagram video max resolution: 1080 x1350
  • Landscape Instagram video max resolution: 1080 x 608
  • Carousel Instagram video max resolution: 1080 x 1080

IGTV Size Optimization

IGTV was created by Instagram to give its users a space for longer videos that weren’t in line with the 1 minute feed limit. The feature has given brands, businesses, creators, influencers, and more so much potential for taking video content on Instagram to the next level. 

IGTV offers users up to 10 minutes of video time; if you’re a verified user, you can have up to 1 hour of time. You can upload both horizontal (16:9) or vertical (9:16) videos with a minimum resolution of 720 pixels.

You’ll need to choose your IGTV cover photo with purpose— once you upload your IGTV video, you won’t be able to edit the cover photo for the video anymore, so choose wisely. 

IGTV Cover Photos 

IGTV Cover Photos

It’s important to put thought into your IGTV cover photo because this thumbnail is what users will be when they come across your video, kind of like a preview. 

Users will see the title of your video as well as who posted it. Users will find these in feeds and in a scrollable wall of channels, meaning that the IGTV cover photo must be attention-grabbing enough to get viewers to watch. 

The recommended dimensions for IGTV cover photos is 1:1.55 with a size of 420 by 654 pixels. The aspect ratio is 16:9. Keep in mind how it will look on Instagram’s feed as well as on the Instagram profile grid. 

Instagram Live Videos

Another popular way for users to reach their followers, Instagram live lets users connect with their followers and viewers in real time. Instagram live videos must be shot with an aspect ratio of 9:16 and can be no longer than 60 minutes. The minimum resolution is 720 pixels. 

If you want to engage your users with Instagram live, make sure your setup is good to go before you’re ready to go on air and then remain professional and authentic the whole time. They want to see you as a person, not as a persona. 

Users will see your live video pop up in their story feed, so if you do them on a consistent basis and offer content of value, you’ll see your numbers begin to grow. 

Profile Photo Size

Profile Photo Size

An ever-important part of your IG account, you have to ensure that your profile picture is well created. This is the first impression a user will get of your brand or business, so make sure it accurately represents you and who you are. 

In your profile picture, it’s common to see a logo, face, or other item/object/scene related to the brand or business. 

One of the best things you can do for consistency is to use the same profile photo across multiple social media networks. That way, when people search for you on other platforms, they’ll be able to see that it’s you because they recognize the familiar image. 

Because the Instagram profile picture will be quite compressed, you should use at least 1000 x 1000 pixels or higher for the photo size. It will actually be displayed at 110 x 110. For a mobile viewer, this is no problem, but on the desktop version, it may appear grainy or unclear. 

If your photo is square, make sure that the ratio is 1:1. Instagram can then help you get your photo into the circle shape when posting it as your profile photo. 

Instagram Ad Dimensions 

Instagram Ad Dimensions

If you’re really looking to boost your reach, Instagram ads will help to get your profile in front of your target audience. Instagram ads appear in the user’s feed, so they typically look like a normal post. 

The goal is to keep them enticing and not too salesy so that they will organically increase your brand awareness as well as conversion. You can track the ad later to see its different analytics and performance stats. 

Your ad can be created in a few different ways, using either photo, video, or both. You can promote any post that you’ve already posted on Instagram; consider using ones that are already performing well so that they can gain even more traction. 

Here are the guidelines for ads on Instagram: 

  • Landscape ad: size- 1200 x 628 pixels with minimum resolution of 600 x 315; recommended aspect ratio- 1.9:1. 
  • Square ad: 1080 x 1080 with minimum resolution of 600 x 600; aspect ratio 1:1 (same as any photos used in carousel ads). 
  • Vertical ad: size- 1080 x 1350 with minimum resolution of 600 x 750; aspect ratio 4:5. 
  • Instagram stories: ideal resolution: 1080 x 1920, minimum 600 x 1067; aspect ratio: 9:16.

Tools For Perfecting Photo Size for Instagram

Now that we know about all of the best sizes for Instagram photo, video, and ad content, how do you get your photos to the target size? 

There are plenty of tools out there to help you optimize your photos for Instagram as well as edit them to perfection. With tons of third-party photo editing apps, you can take your pick and decide which one works best for you. 

To help you decide, we’re going to tell you about three great options: Canva, Sprout Social, and KapWing. 

Canva 

Canva

Canva is one of the coolest tools that can help you to find templates that truly make your Instagram professional and branded. They have what seems like an infinite number of professionally-designed, ready-to-use Instagram templates that can help you find the graphics you need. 

If you need to create a profile photo, post a story, or publish photos/videos that are square, landscape, or portrait, Canva will help you do it with ease. Most templates and features are free, but they do have a paid option for even more functionality. 

Using Canva, not only will you have perfectly sized photos, you’ll also have a cohesive brand image that can set you apart from the rest in terms of content strategy. Big win! 

Sprout Social 

Sprout Social Landscape

Sprout Social offers a very simple image resizing tool built for content creators, social media marketers, and influencers. It’s called Landscape, and it lets you resize images in a few simple steps. 

You’ll be surprised what these few simple steps will do for your images. The first step is to upload the image. You’ll then select which social platform and format you want to resize your image for (Sprout Social works with other social networks as well). 

Once you make that selection, you crop it, scale it, and export it— it’s then ready to use. Perfect images that are optimized for Instagram in a minute? We love it. 

KapWing

KapWing

With KapWing, you’ll use free templates to resize your image, video, or GIF for Instagram. The size will be auto-set to 1080 x 1080 pixels, which is the optimal photo size for Instagram. 

Your photo doesn’t have to be square to use this tool, though— just upload your image into the frame and you’ll get the image downloaded with the correct dimensions. So easy. You can then take the image right to Instagram and post it without losing any of your photo to cropping. 

Apps To Help You Create Visually Appealing Instagram Stories

Instagram stories aren’t exactly the same as regular photos and videos in your feed— they can be much more interactive, intimate, and engaging for your audience. Extend this possibility through active IG stories using top notch third party apps like StoryArt, Unfold, and Over. 

You can also use Canva to create top-of-the-line Instagram story designs that align with your content in your feed, but we wanted to introduce you to three additional apps that just couldn’t go without mentioning. 

StoryArt

StoryArt

If you’re looking for even more templates, StoryArt will offer up an immense variety of preset templates that are great for Instagram stories. You can then add any design effects, fonts, filters, and themes to get even more viewers and engage those checking out your story. 

Unfold 

Unfold

If you’re more minimalistic and sophisticated, Unfold may be just the tool for you. They have elegant and professional design templates that are more neutral. You can work with both videos and photos, and there are plenty of design options for each template. 

Unfold doesn’t require any account for use— simply download the app and you’ll be off to creating perfectly sized and edited Instagram stories in no time. 

Over

Over

If you are interested in overlaying text and graphics to your Instagram story photos and videos, Over will be a top choice for you. They’ve got tons of fonts, graphics, photos, tools, and templates that will help you to create content that never strays from your brand. 

In addition to more features for your content creation, a benefit of all three of these apps is that they’ll set your content to the optimal dimensions automatically, leaving you less to worry about and more opportunity to focus on your content creation and design. 

Final Thoughts: Instagram Photo Sizes 

It may seem like a lot of information, but you’ll notice that most of the content types have the same image sizes and ratio no matter what feature you use them in— a square photo on Instagram is a square photo in the feed, in carousel posts, in videos, and in ads! 

Once you become familiar with these numbers, it’ll become so easy that it’ll seem like second nature. 

Don’t forget to have fun in the process! Experiment with some new photo techniques, try out some new sizes that you’ve never used before, and test out some of the editing tools we mentioned above for some seriously engaging and professional content. 

Your goal may be to promote your brand, raise brand awareness, boost conversion, increase engagement, educate your audience, or something else; just remember, your content is there to enjoy and provide value to your target audience. 

You have total freedom in creating your content and reflecting your brand— image size on Instagram is just a means to an end. Albeit important, it’s not the only thing that matters, so keep enjoying your content creation! 

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