Instagram opens up to more than just square images and videos! Here’s everything you need to know.
Well after years of only square images and videos, Instagram has finally opened up to allowing portrait and landscape orientations. This is a huge deal!
While most users won’t think it’s earth-shattering, for those of us using Social Media to grow our business or brand, this makes repurposing content a lot easier. On top of that, the added variety will make Instagram a lot more interesting.
So like usual, as soon as this Instagram change was live, I went to work dissecting it to make sure I understand all the angles. Here’s what I found…
The New Instagram Sizes
Just like my social media image templates, Instagram now has 3 image orientations:
- Landscape (horizontal)
- Portrait (vertical)
This allows for greater versatility in your image creation. That’s always a good thing. But it also means that you have to understand the constraints that are given.
As I’ve done in the past with my social media image templates, I’ve gone ahead and created a template for those of us looking to create custom graphics for Instagram. Just add your email below and you can download my templates for free!
Once you confirm that you are a real person the download link will be sent straight to your inbox. 100% spam free!
The templates include all sizes noted in the infographic at the bottom of this post. Use them as a starting point (like a blueprint) for all your custom Instagram graphics.
The square image on Instagram remains to be shown at a maximum of 600×600 (pixels). No change in this whatsoever.
It should be noted though that Instagram will store a version as large as 1080×1080 but even on the largest of screens it seems they still display a maximum of 600×600.
My highest recommendation though is to create images that are a minimum of 1080×1080 as they will give you the highest resolution asset for reuse on other platforms. Additionally, as more and more screens become higher in their pixel density, you will be future-proofing your images from being too small.
For landscape images, the smallest I’ve tested on was at 1920×1080 which Instagram then displayed at 600×337. As it turns out, though, Instagram ended up storing a version that is 1080×607.
So the trend here is that no matter what size image you upload, Instagram is resizing it to a maximum width of 1080px and displaying a version with a maximum width of 600px.
Landscape videos also have a maximum display size of 600×336.5 (or 1200×673 in full view or retina display). This is very close to a typical 16:9 ratio that we see as the current cinematic standard in film & television.
Vertical (or portrait) images will display at a maximum of 480×600 (or 920×1200 for retina display). However it looks like Instagram is storing the photos at a maximum of 1080×1350 on it’s servers.
Vertical videos are, well… complicated. They will display at a maximum of 481×599.484, making this a nightmare for graphic designers to mock-up (you can’t do fractions of pixels).
Now, why in the world does Instagram want to make such odd calculations? I have no idea. But, it’s what we’ve got to work with.
Instagram’s Stories feature has been a wild success. Although it’s basically a Snapchat clone, people have taken to it like wildfire.
As such, once Instagram released the ability to upload images to your Stories, people started getting very creative with the graphics they used in them. Now, the problem with this is that the dimensions are dependent on the device that the Story is being viewed on. So this makes it rather difficult to standardize.
However, my highest recommendation is to take a landscape 16:9 ratio approach, or in pixels that would mean 1080×1920. As long as you give enough whitespace around the edges, you should be fine.
What does this mean for Instagram?
Personally, I think you’re going to see two kinds of users: the traditional and the people who like new things.
The traditional users will stick to their squares and be fine with that. They have gotten used to it and want to maintain their purist culture.
The people who like new things will embrace these new dimensions and create a more diverse stream of visual content. Things will definitely be a bit more interesting.
If I were to bet, I would say that much like Pinterest we will see the taller images (portrait) getting much more love than the square or (especially) landscape photos. The reason for this is that Instagram is still a mobile network, by a long shot.
Being a mobile dominated network this means that people’s habit of holding their phone in portrait will give the portrait images/videos a much better viewing experience. They will naturally cover more screen real estate garnering more attention.
So don’t be surprised if you see me update my Social Media Image Templates soon to include a new template or two. Be sure you’re subscribed to my Insiders list to make sure you’re notified when they’re updated.
Bonus: Instagram Sizes Infographic & Templates
For reading all the way to the end of the post, I wanted to thank you by giving you this easy reference infographic of all the Instagram sizes. Use it as a guide for when you’re creating images for Instagram from outside of Instagram so you can pull them in without worrying about cropping.
And FYI, you can easily save this in Pinterest by hitting the Pin button floating on this page. 😉
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<a href="https://dustn.tv/instagram-sizes/"><img src="https://dustn.tv/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/instagram-sizes-infographic-1.jpg" alt="Instagram Images Sizes" width="600px" border="0" /></a><br />Image courtesy of <a href="https://dustn.tv" title="dustn.tv | Social Media and Creativity Collide">dustn.tv</a>
So what are your thoughts about Instagram breaking out of the box? You can leave a comment by clicking here.