With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is one of the top platforms to visually engage with your target audience. However, with the continual introduction of new layouts and features, Instagram‘s guidelines for image sizes are always evolving.
In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll explore the latest recommendations for visually optimizing your content across Instagram in 2023.
Why Properly Sized Images Matter on Instagram
Before we dive into the key image dimensions for every Instagram format, it‘s important to understand why size matters when it comes to visual content on the platform.
As a social media marketing expert with over 5 years of experience growing brands on Instagram, I‘ve seen firsthand the impact image sizes have on performance.
Here are 3 key reasons you should care about properly sizing your Instagram images:
1. Prevent Image Distortion
Images that don‘t fit Instagram‘s recommended dimensions often get cropped or stretched to fit the layout. This can make your visuals appear warped, pixelated, or blurred.
By resizing to exact dimensions, you guarantee crisp, clear images across all devices.
2. Improve Your Instagram Aesthetic
The right image sizes also lend to creating a cohesive, professional aesthetic on Instagram. With uniformity in your visual dimensions and aspect ratios, your profile has a more polished, consistent look.
This strengthens your visual brand identity.
3. Boost Engagement Rates
Properly sized images better capture attention and interest to improve impression rates. In fact, according to Sprout Social, Instagram posts under 1080 pixels tall see 35% less engagement.
Following size guidelines means your images pop in feeds and stories, leading to higher engagement.
So by taking the time to resize visuals correctly before uploading, you‘ll enjoy sharper images, improved brand consistency, and increased engagement rates.
The Evolution of Instagram Image Size Guidelines
Since first launching in 2010, Instagram has gone through its fair share of changes in terms of visual guidelines and sizes.
Staying on top of these updates is crucial for keeping up with new formats and layouts over time. Let‘s briefly explore how sizes have evolved historically:
Launched in 2010:
- 640 pixel fixed width images
- 1:1 aspect ratio
- Image resolution expanded to 1080 pixels wide
- Introduction of landscape images
- Ability to zoom images
- Landscape images switched to fixed 1080 x 566 pixels
- Portrait images fixed at 1080 by 1350 pixels
- Stories increased to 1080 by 1920 pixels
- IGTV launched with 1080 by 1920 pixels
- Continual expansion into video, stories, reels
- Aspect ratios diversify beyond just square 1:1
As you can see, Instagram has come a very long way from just fixed width square images in the beginning!
The range of visual content has grown exponentially across feed posts, stories, IGTV, reels, and live videos.
Next let‘s get into the latest size specifics you need to know when creating visual content across Instagram‘s key formats in 2023.
Instagram Image Sizes Cheat Sheet for 2023
Here is a handy cheat sheet summarizing the ideal image dimensions across all major Instagram visual formats this year:
As you can see, while 1080 x 1080 pixels is still the recommendation for square feed posts, other formats call for different dimensions customized to their layouts.
Let‘s explore specifics for each format:
Feed Post Sizes
The Instagram feed is arguably the most pivotal visual touchpoint between your brand and audience. That‘s why fine-tuning feed posts for the feed is so vital for engagement.
You have flexibility in terms of posting single images or multi-image carousels.
Single Feed Images
Square images remain the gold standard at 1080 x 1080 pixels for the feed. This allows focus on a single visual while fitting natively in the feed.
However, you also have the option to post wider rectangular images at:
- 1080 pixels wide x 566 pixels tall – Ideal for landscape images
- 1080 pixels wide x 1350 pixels tall – For more portrait-style shots
Just be sure to maintain the proper corresponding aspect ratio.
Carousels are a great way to share multiple images while only taking up one feed post.
The recommendation is crafting each visual at 1080 x 1080 pixels, with most feeds allowing up to 10 images per carousel.
Instagram Story Sizes
Stories have become a massively popular way to offer followers quick visual snippets in a more raw, authentic way.
But the vertical, full screen nature of stories means this format calls for its own specialized dimensions.
The optimum Instagram story size is 1080 x 1920 pixels. This fits perfectly to most mobile devices people use to access stories.
You can play around with different aspects ratios, but keeping that vertical alignment allows proper sightlines as followers swipe.
IGTV and Reels Dimensions
As Instagram continues evolving into a video-first platform, both IGTV and the newer Reels introduce their own best practices for dimensions.
IGTV offers vertical video similar to stories, but for much longer-form video content.
For the video itself, maintain 1080 x 1920 pixels or a 9:16 vertical aspect ratio.
Your IGTV video cover image should stick to a 1:1.55 aspect ratio at 420 x 654 pixels.
Instagram‘s TikTok competitor, Reels, also thrives on vertical short-form video content.
Like stories and IGTV, Reels shine at 1080 x 1920 pixels or 9:16 ratio. Keep videos at 30 seconds or less.
Other Instagram Image Sizes
Beyond the core formats, profile avatar and live streams have their own best dimensions as well:
- Profile Picture: 320 x 320 pixels
- Live Streams: Vertical 9:16 ratio fitting your mobile screen
Now that you know the ideal specifications across Instagram‘s ever-growing range of content, let‘s get into some pro tips for optimizing your visuals.
5 Pro Tips for Visually Stunning Instagram Content
Executing Instagram‘s size guidelines precisely is an excellent starting point for standout visual content. But there are other best practices worth incorporating too:
1. Maintain High Image Quality
Before even considering resizing, ensure you source high quality images at least 72 dpi. Using subpar quality images that become blurred or grainy defeats the purpose.
2. Mind the Background and Surroundings
Pay attention to the area around your main subject. Try to minimize clutter and make use of negative space to make the subject pop.
3. Seek Unique Perspectives
Put thought into shooting visuals from interesting perspectives or angles that capture attention differently. This adds originality over just straightforward images.
4. Use Strategic Cropping
Carefully cropping images helps hone focus on the most eye-catching or relevant areas of a visual.
5. Take Advantage of Built-In Editing
Leverage Instagram‘s own editing tools like contrast, brightness, saturation etc to make final enhancements before posting images.
By mastering sizes, crafting first-rate images, and incorporating best practices for visually captivating content, you‘re sure to engage followers and achieve success on Instagram.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have some outstanding questions around Instagram visual best practices? Here I‘ve answered some commonly asked questions:
What happens if I don‘t size my images properly?
Images that don‘t fit Instagram‘s recommended dimensions often appear distorted, blurry or inconsistently cropped by the platform. This hurts quality and consistency.
Do I have to stick to just square posts?
No – you have flexibility to post landscape and portrait rectangular images too. Just be sure to adjust the width-to-height ratio accordingly.
Can I upload higher resolution images?
Instagram compresses images above about 1080 pixels. While you can upload larger sizes, there won‘t be any added benefit visible to your audience.
What image file type should I use?
Stick to JPEG images with compression maintained between 70-80%. This retains excellent visual quality without overly large file sizes.
What‘s better – individual images or carousels?
It depends! Carousels allow multiple images while only taking up one post. But single images may fit your content better. Test to see what your audience responds to.
Optimizing Instagram content is crucial to effectively engage your audience. By properly leveraging image sizing and aspect ratios across feed posts, stories, reels and more, you guarantee stellar visuals.
Follow this guide to master sizes for every format, employ pro tips for enhanced images, and incorporate video for Instagram‘s evolving preferences.
What strategies do you use for stunning Instagram visual content? I‘d love to hear your top tips in the comments!