23 min read
Fast forward a decade, and the ‘Gram has become one of the most popular social media platforms around the world. Now, it’s far more than just a channel to share funny videos of your cat or photos of what you made for dinner—it’s grown into a top platform for online creators to attract attention, show off their brand, and grow their community.
For online creators and business owners, the 130 million Instagram users who tap on shopping posts each month (read: making purchases from Instagram) pose a significant opportunity to market your brand, services, or physical or digital products.
For online creators and business owners, the 130 million Instagram users who tap on shopping posts each month (read: making purchases from Instagram) pose a great opportunity to market your brand, services, or physical or digital products.
For online creators and business owners, the 130 million Instagram users who tap on shopping posts each month (read: making purchases directly from Instagram) pose a great opportunity to market your brand, services, or physical or digital products.
The problem? Polishing your feed to Insta-perfection feels daunting when you’re just starting out. Photos, videos, IGTV, Stories—there are tons of post types and image dimensions to wrap your head around.
So to help you wrap your head around your grid, we’ve put together the most comprehensive guide on Instagram image sizes, along with recommended resolutions and aspect ratios for each post type.
We'll make sure we always keep the guide up-to-date, so drop the link in your bookmarks and come back anytime you need to create the most stellar content for your feed.
Are you Insta-ready? Let's dive in!
Unlike other social platforms, Instagram is built around sharing photos and videos.
With such a visual platform, the size of any images and videos you upload to Instagram matters more than other social networks.
Filling your feed with great photos, videos and graphics—all of which are top-quality, not cropped, and not pixelated or blurry—can be the key to growing your audience on the platform.
The right size images can help you:
Choosing a more unique image size can help you attract attention in a crowded feed. Image via Anthropologie
Instagram dimensions are important, but it won’t matter unless you use the correct aspect ratio and resolution. If that sounds complicated, don’t worry—we’re breaking it down in the next section.
Instagram posts come in all shapes and sizes. Some images work well for one post type but could be a flop with another. Along with image size, the two other important components of creating high-quality Instagram content are aspect ratio and resolution.
To help you get your head around it, here’s a quick refresher on the relationship between aspect ratio and resolution.
Aspect ratio refers to the width of an image as a proportion to its height. We commonly express this as a ratio, like 4:3 or 16:9. The first number represents the width, and the second represents the height.
When thinking about aspect ratio in terms of the type of photo, here’s a quick cheat sheet for you:
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Season 1, Episode 2 of I Am A Creator: a documentary series on why the future belongs to creators. What does it mean to be an optimist on the worst day of your life? Can you feel pessimistic and still choose optimism? And how do you make art again after seeing so much of it turn to ash? Watch to see how muralist @efdot chose optimism even on one of the worst days of his life. #IAmACreator For more visit https://convertkit.com/stories. Series produced by ConvertKit and filmed by @henryzw. Musicbed SyncID: MB01QGCDBTI8NJY
An example portrait video post on Instagram. Image via ConvertKit on Instagram
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As a creator, do you ever stop and think, “What is my why? How did I get here?” — So much of what we create is from our passion for life, art, connection, and the need to do meaningful work. Our biggest passion at ConvertKit is to help creators (like you) earn a living. What’s yours? Comment below 👇🏼 #convertkit #createeveryday
An example landscape photo post on Instagram. Image via ConvertKit on Instagram
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One of our core values is to Create Every Day. What does this really mean? — To us, it means creating even when you don’t want to, even when you feel uninspired, and even when you might not be making any money yet. It means showing up every single day to work on your craft because you’re committed. You’re dedicated the community you serve and the vision in your soul. Why do you Create Every Day? What does it mean to you? Comment below 👇🏼 — We are tagging a few of our favorite creators to share in a post or on their stories – Why do you create every day? @clickitupanotch @julssolomon @patflynn @james.clear @chasewreeves
An example square photo post on Instagram. Image via ConvertKit on Instagram
So why is aspect ratio so important? If you’re creating, say, a square post on Instagram, and you upload a photo that's formatted for landscape, Instagram will crop your post awkwardly. By choosing the right aspect ratio, you'll ensure your posts look great every time.
Resolution represents the number of pixels that make up the images you post on Instagram. It's typically expressed as two numbers, representing the width and height of your image in pixels, like, 1600 x 900 pixels or 4000 x 3000 pixels.
So why is resolution important? Instagram only allows photos and videos with a minimum resolution of 320px wide, and a maximum resolution of 1080px wide. This means Instagram will scale down any posts with a higher resolution, and scale up anything with a higher resolution—both of which impact the quality.
It's always best to match the original image resolution you upload to the ideal resolution of the post type you're creating, to ensure you don't lose any image quality when Instagram compresses your images.
Now we've covered the essentials, let's dive into the best image sizes and aspect ratios for each different Instagram post type.
When Instagram first launched, you could only upload images that were square. But back in 2015, Instagram updated their app to support portrait and landscape images as well—although with a few important limitations, which I'll explain below.
With several sizes to choose from, what's the best size for engagement? It turns out there isn’t one image post size that will always yield great engagement on Instagram. Mixing up which sizes you use for your photos is good for breaking things up in your feed—and keeping users scrolling.
The classic square photo is still the most popular, despite the new formats. Since the Instagram grid crops all images to a square aspect ratio, square images give users the best experience. You know precisely what your audience will see, no matter if they come across your post in their feed, on your grid, or elsewhere.
The square Instagram picture size is perfect for framing products and creating a cohesive grid, like ConvertKit creator Nicole of Hue Loco does in her feed.
An example of a square photo post on Instagram. Image via Hue Loco
Square images should have an aspect ratio of 1:1, of course, and should have a resolution of 1080px x 1080px to avoid quality loss. Keep in mind, the final displayed image will be shown close to 600px x 600px.
As I mentioned earlier, changing up your Instagram photo size is a brilliant way to catch followers' eyes while they're scrolling. Having various image sizes to choose from also comes in handy when you have an exceptional photo you want to share, but a simple square just won’t cut it.
The landscape image size is best for wide images, like ones you’d snap while traveling, while at a concert, or to document a career milestone, like this post from musician Kayla Steen:
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An example of a landscape photo post on Instagram. Image via Kayla Steen
For landscape images, Instagram recommends an aspect ratio of 1.91:1, which, coincidentally, is the same resolution as a Facebook link preview image (so you can use the same image size for your Instagram and Facebook ads). You can use a maximum aspect ratio of 16:9. The ideal image resolution to reduce quality loss is 1080px x 566px.
Most users browse their Instagram feeds on their phone—and Instagram’s portrait image size is prime for mobile. In a feed full of square images, a portrait image can be super eye-catching. With new smartphones squeezing as much screen space onto a device as possible, it’s even more crucial to make the most of that extra screen real estate.
Remember, though, Instagram will crop your image to a square in your grid, so place any important elements—like text—in the middle. Take this image from Calvin Ross Carl, for example:
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Today, a man in Portland threatened to commit suicide by leaping from a crane across the street from my work. People stood everywhere in the streets, watching. Some yelled, “We love you!” and others screamed, “Jump!” It was heartbreaking. Thankfully he climbed down to safety and I hope he gets the help he needs and not handcuffs. A few years ago, I made this painting just as my whole life began unraveling. Everything I had worked for in life was wiped out. I was to blame and so were others. It felt so very bleak and desolate, and there were moments where suicide seemed easier. Thankfully, I had friends and therapists who stepped up and pulled me out. I was lucky, but others aren’t. Please, reach out to your friends who you think might need help. They might be like me, where they see vulnerability as weakness and pretend everything is fine, but you reaching out truly means everything to them. And it can change the course of their lives, just like it did for me. Thank you.
An example of a portrait photo post. Image via Calvin Ross Carl
Here’s that same image but in Calvin’s grid. Notice the slight crop at the top and bottom?
For portrait images, Instagram recommends an aspect ratio of 4:5. Instagram will automatically crop anything taller than that at the top and bottom. The ideal image resolution for avoiding quality loss is 1080px x 1350px.
There are a few additional things to consider before uploading images to your Instagram feed:
Now that we have a good grasp on the best Instagram images sizes, let’s look at the best video sizes.
As with photo posts, you can share videos on Instagram either as square, landscape or portrait orientation. Video is a great opportunity to get even more imaginative with your content, so it’s worth playing with a few different Instagram post sizes.
Just like with square photos, square videos are an Instagram staple. This classic size is great for all types of video content—product updates, educational videos, or sharing behind-the-scenes footage of your online business.
This video from ConvertKit creator Michelle Carlton is short and sweet—a perfect job for the square video format.
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Sweet tea lover, Pinterest strategizer, wild boy mom tamer, mom to a brand new baby girl, and lover of all things design related. . . So happy to see all the new faces that I would pop on real quick. This is the life of a work from home mom, juggling allll the things 😆 but I wouldn’t have it any other way, I get to help build empires with my community one business/brand at a time while staying home with all three of my kids, I would say I’m one lucky #mompreneur
An example of a square video post on Instagram. Video via Michelle Carlton
The same rules apply for square videos as with square photos—stick to a 1:1 aspect ratio and a 1080px x 1080px resolution to give followers the best experience.
Landscape video is super-versatile—great for capturing long angles, drone footage, and more. Harold Williams is a writer, producer and ConvertKit creator who chose the landscape video format to depict the trailer of his upcoming film:
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I wanted to tell a story about a black man deciding to change his toxic life and face his childhood trauma by attending group therapy. We haven't seen this on film and I'm excited to tell the story of real brothas. No supermen, security guards or thugs. Just humans tryna make it. I hope it sparks an internal discussion amongst every man and our circles. I hope that it encourages us to do the work. Its about that time! So here's the trailer. Film drops 2020 DP @kofistew Lead @tenisidavis Kerrie @ash.awusie @demoneseraphin @imotivate_success @actresscheriedanielle @iammrmg Production Designer @baziledesigns AD @jobity4life Gaffer @bennygotthejuice Sound @stuart_gardiner AP @infamous_leslie AP @nariyahope AP @mpireles Music Supervisor @tysonjoseph4 Hair @mrhandsome215 BTS Photographer @larry_2k @ifpfilm @ghettofilmschool @blacktvfilmcollective @citizenscommittee #Filmmaking #film #indiefilm #art #brooklyn #NEWYORKCITY #mentalhealth
An example landscape video post on Instagram. Video via Harold Williams
Just like landscape photos, Instagram landscape videos can have an aspect ratio between 1.91:1 and 16:9. Based on the measurements of the landscape video size, the ideal resolution is around 1080px x 607px.
Most video editing software will let you export videos at this custom resolution, but for the most part, you can get close by recording your video in 720p. Most phones and cameras will record natively in the 16:9 aspect ratio, so it's often best to keep things simple and stick to a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Surprise, surprise—the same rules apply here again as with portrait photos. Stick to a maximum aspect ratio of 4:5, and a video resolution of 1080px x 1350px.
Remember, if your vertical videos are too large, Instagram will automatically crop them to scale. Take this portrait video from wedding designer Jess, owner of Weddings By Jess:
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Hands up who’s absolutely THRILLED that it’s raining today! 🙌🏻 Our beautiful bride and groom Monica and Jack got married today, and even though they’d planned an outdoor wedding they were simply thrilled to see some rain for our beautiful country. So good. We need so much more! Keep coming please rain! ☔️✨ #grateful #rainywedding #letitrain
An example portrait video post on Instagram. Video via Weddings By Jess
When you tap on the actual video, you see the full-size, uncropped version. But when you scroll through her grid, you’ll notice Instagram cropped her video on the top and bottom. Here, the video looks properly formatted no matter which way you view it, but had it been even bigger, it could have resulted in some awkward cropping.
Instagram has developed quite a bit over the years, with one of the biggest changes being the introduction of Instagram Stories. Stories give businesses the opportunity to entertain, engage, and promote in ways that differ from traditional photo and video content. Plus, with 500 million people (yes, you read that right) using Instagram Stories every day, there’s a lot of opportunity to reach new customers and grow your audience.
Just a few of the ways we've seen online creators using Instagram Stories:
Unlike videos in your Instagram feed, Instagram Stories give you more room to experiment with aspect ratios. Just about any aspect ratio will work for your Instagram Stories, as long as it’s between 1.91:1 and 9:16.
So what size should you use? Well, since most your audience will view Instagram Stories on their phones, using an aspect ratio of 9:16 (which corresponds to a resolution of 1080px x 1920px) ensures the video fills the entire phone screen, like this Story from online business coach Mariah Coz:
As if video content couldn’t get more powerful on Instagram, IGTV launched in 2018 and it’s been another great avenue for creators to engage with their audience.
Unlike Instagram Stories, IGTV allows creators to upload videos that you would find on platforms like YouTube and Facebook. IGTV videos can be portrait or landscape. Portrait IGTV videos can have a maximum aspect ratio of 9:16 and landscape IGTV videos can have a maximum aspect ratio of 16:9.
Check out this example of how brand strategist DK Jonah uses IGTV to promote her content:
It’s important to note that the Instagram app crops IGTV videos in your audience’s feeds and grid. Portrait-size videos are cropped to a 4:5 aspect ratio in your followers’ feeds. In other words, a bit will be cut off from the top and bottom of the video. Last, both portrait and landscape IGTV videos will be cropped to a 1:1 square when viewed in your grid.
With IGTV, you also have the option of adding a cover photo to your videos. The IGTV cover photo appears on both your channel page and in the IGTV categories list, so it can’t be edited after you’ve uploaded it. Instagram recommends using images with a 420px x 654px resolution for your cover photos.
Instagram Live videos are another marvelous way to reach your audience in the moment. Unlike Instagram Stories (which are shown at the top of the feed), Instagram Live videos place your stream at the front of the Stories reel with a “live” icon that shows to users you're broadcasting live.
IG Live streams are an excellent opportunity to engage with users in real-time or make an exciting announcement. Plus, after your live stream has ended, you can post it to your Instagram Story, where users can view it for 24 hours after the live stream is over.
Because Instagram Live videos are meant to be broadcast from your phone, the aspect ratio you’re looking for here is 9:16. Since your Stories will be limited to the screen width of your phone, don’t worry about changing the resolution or aspect ratio of the video. Just roll with what your phone uses natively.
It may be tiny, but your Instagram profile picture has an enormous responsibility. Your profile picture is often one of the first things visitors will see when landing on your profile and it’s visible on nearly every other screen in the Instagram app, so it’s worth spending time creating the perfect image.
For profile pictures, Instagram recommends 110px x 110px as the best resolution for your profile picture, though a maximum resolution of 180px x 180px is supported. Take travel and lifestyle blogger Angelica Talan of Clarendon Moms, for example. Her profile photo is not only sized so it can be clearly viewed on a desktop—or more importantly, mobile—but it’s also consistent with her branding.
Remember, Instagram crops your profile picture to a circle, so always keep the contents of your photo or logo centered.
Instagram has become a powerhouse of marketing opportunities for online creators and brands across every industry and niche. With enough post types, tools, and features to leverage your content in just the right way that resonates the most with your audience, Instagram is a social media platform that packs a punch (in the best way).
Don't forget: browsing Instagram is fun, but did you know that you can add your Instagram photos right into your landing pages? Sign up for your free ConvertKit account and start growing your audience today.