How to Upload the Best Looking Instagram Images

Instagram is probably our favorite social network here on How-To Geek. We always want our photos to look their best, so I did the research. Here's how to make your images as beautiful as possible on Instagram.

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Instagram like Facebook, resize and compress your images to match their guidelines. Although the algorithms seem less aggressive than with Facebook (which makes sense since Instagram is primarily a photo sharing network), it's still best to do as much resizing and cropping yourself as possible – the algorithms blunt tend to be a bit heavy.

Instagram supports images up to 1080px wide and between 566px and 1350px high. That is, crop ratios between 1.91: 1 (a wide landscape culture) and 4: 5 (a square portrait culture).

Instagram landscape imageInstagram portrait image

Anything between these two ratios is also good – these are just the maximum values. If your image is wider, it will be resized to fit a resolution of 1080px. Similarly, if the cropping is outside the accepted ratios, such as a 2: 3 portrait image, you are forced to crop it to 4: 5.

Instagram doesn't publish any file size guidelines, but after playing, I found that most of my photos were compressed in JPEG between 150 KB and 190 KB. Again, that kind of sense: less than 200 KB is a fairly standard file size for web use.

File size

With that in mind, let's talk about making your Instagram images look their best.

Edit your photos

Before you even think about file sizes and crop ratios, you should edit any image you plan to post on Instagram. This doesn't have to be heavy image manipulation, but, at least, you should consider:

RELATED: How to (almost) improve any digital photo without automatic enhancement

Instagram editing tools are now pretty solid therefore, if you wish, you can use them. There is also lots of great photography apps out there and, of course, if you're using your computer, there's always Lightroom and Photoshop – really, the best options.

Crop and resize your images

Once you've prepared your photo, it's time to prepare it for Instagram. As we talked about earlier, you need to crop and resize your photo to 1080px wide and between 566px and 1350px high. You also want to try to get a file size less than 200KB.

With Photoshop, Lightroom or any other computer editor, it's simple. Just set the save or export settings to the right dimensions. You can use the quality setting to control the size of the file.

Resizing in Photoshop

On smartphones, things are a little more annoying because you have to use a separate app. J & # 39; Love Image size for iOS and Photo & Picture Resizer for Android. Open the photo in the app you are using, then crop and resize it to the correct dimensions. You can also use the quality settings to control the file size as you would with a desktop application.

Resizing on iOSResizing on iOS

One last thing to note is that Instagram will convert your images to JPEG. If you upload a screenshot, logo file, or anything else in PNG format, you may notice an artifact. This is a problem with JPEGs in general.

Post your photos

With your images edited and properly sized, go ahead and post them on your Instagram account. If you've followed the instructions above, Instagram's algorithms shouldn't do too much for them, so what you download is what everyone will see.

If you leave things in the hands of Instagram, your photos will probably be correct, but it's good to know that you've done everything you can to maximize the quality of the image. Why make the effort to take great photos just to leave a social media company to decide how they will look?

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