Instagram allows you to make many different types of posts now: you can make a reel or an IGTV video, post stories, or you can go with the traditional image + caption post for your followers’ feed.
But with the increase in the number of Instagram post types, the difficulty of optimizing them for the platform has increased as well.
If the image is too small, it loses quality; if the video is too high resolution, it takes forever to upload.
If you have been facing these difficulties, it's time you go through them no more. And for that, we have come up with this excellent Instagram post size guide so you can nail it every single time in 2021!
Instagram Feed #1: Photo Post Size Guide
One of the oldest types of posts on Instagram is the feed post where you pair an image with a caption, and it appears in front of your followers while they are scrolling.
Instagram feed today is entirely different from what it looked in 2012 when Facebook purchased it. Not just the design and the layout, but also the photo sizes it allows.
The Instagram you know today is filled with square, portrait and even landscape photos!
Let's look at the optimized Instagram photo post sizes for all of these:
Square Photo Size:
Instagram started with square feed photos, and they are still quite popular today.
The ideal dimensions for such a post is 1080px by 1080px. Why?
Every time you post an image on Instagram, it compresses it: 1080x1080, for example, becomes 600x600 pixels.
That means having a low-resolution image is going to lead to blurry or sometimes even grainy posts. And nobody likes that.
On the other hand, if you use an ultra-high resolution image, Instagram will over-compress it. Resultantly, you will end up with an unpleasant fuzzy/blurry feed.
The recommended aspect ratio for a square image is, of course, 1:1. Anything different, and Instagram will crop it.
Vertical Photo Size:
For the vertical photos, it’s best to keep the resolution to 1080 x 1350 pixels.
You already know that Instagram will compress it, and when it does so, you will end up with 480x600 pixels on your timeline.
If you want Instagram to post your entire photo, you need to make the aspect ratio 4:5.
Horizontal Photo Size:
Instagram recommends an aspect ratio of 1.91:1 for horizontal images but guess what?
You can go up to 16:9, and it doesn't crop.
Our recommendation is that you should go all the way up to 16:9 if you plan to post horizontal images. Otherwise, portraits are the way to go!
As for resolution, a horizontal image with 1350x1080 pixels gives the best results.
Want no resizing and no borders when you post?
You might be able to post an uncropped version of your image without having to go through the painful steps of getting the exact aspect ratio required.
In order to do that, go through the following steps:
- Go to Instagram and then use the symbol that looks like a plus button inside a square border right at the bottom-middle.
- Choose any image from your gallery.
- On the bottom left, use the circular button consisting of two opposite arrows.
- Your image will automatically get resized to fit the Instagram grid.
- Go ahead and post it!
If this doesn’t work, there’s no option other than resizing it.
Instagram Feed #2: Video Post Size Guide
Another popular thing that appears on the Instagram feed is videos.
Video content is huge on Instagram, especially with accounts based on makeup, fashion and lifestyle. Marketers are not far behind either when it comes to indulging themselves in videos because they work better with the Instagram Algorithm.
Although very popular, videos are not easy to make.
Imagine spending a good deal of time making, editing and tweaking your video only to find that it does not fit or that the posted version is not the one you perfected.
To preserve the quality and size of your videos on Instagram, you again need to take care of the dimensions and the aspect ratio.
Ideal Dimensions of Instagram Videos:
The videos that go on to your feed can also be square, horizontal or vertical.
For square videos, the ideal dimensions would be 1080px by 1080px (This is how we went with the feed images too!).
However, if you plan to post a vertical video on your feed, go with 1080px by 1350px.
Landscapes are a little different from the two above, and they require 1080px by 608px for Instagram to not downgrade them in some way.
You can choose any dimension in between but bear in mind, Instagram might compress it to the point that it looks horrible.
Ideal Aspect Ratio for the Instagram Videos:
Just as for photos, you need to set the right aspect ratio for the videos to make them appear intact on your feed.
The ideal aspect ratio for square videos, in this case, is again 1:1, 4:5 for vertical videos and 16:9 for horizontal ones.
However, anything between 16:9 and 4:5 should work well.
At this point, we should probably mention that posting horizontal videos is not a good practice. The reason is that they do not fill up the viewers' screens as vertical videos do. Thus, they lead to lesser engagements.
If you want your videos to have some solid visual impact, go with the 4:5 and 1080px by 1350px vertical videos. Same goes for photos as well.
Here are a few other optimizations you should do before posting your Instagram video on your feed:
- Your video should have a maximum of 30 frames per second.
- Your video should be a maximum of 60 seconds in length.
- The file size should be maximum 4GB.
Instagram Feed #3: Carousel Post Size
Instagram carousel posts allow us to showcase our collections at once and provide us with the flexibility of posting photo and video content together. But there's a catch!
Instagram only considers the aspect ratio of your first photo/video in a slideshow post. Resultantly, it crops everything that comes ahead according to that.
Let's say that the first photo that you chose for a carousel post was a vertical one. And the second one is a horizontal photo. Once you post, your entire carousel post will have a 4:5 aspect ratio which means that it will be a mess!
We recommend just going square with all of your photos and videos if you are doing a carousel post.
Instagram Post Size: IGTV Videos
IGTV videos do not appear on the feed unless you decide to post a preview, so let’s do them here separately.
IGTV is Instagram’s way of saying YouTube! That is why the videos allowed are much longer than your usual Instagram content, and there are many features that resemble YouTube.
However, when it comes to size, Instagram has its own policies.
In order to ensure that your IGTV post is as excellent as you wanted it to be, you need to take care of:
- The size of an IGTV video post
- The size of the thumbnail/ cover photo
The size of an IGTV Video Post:
The traditional vertical IGTV video needs to have an aspect ratio of 9:16, and the dimensions should be 1080px by 1920px. However, these videos are not always the easiest to make that is why Instagram was forced to introduce horizontal IGTV videos.
If you are trying to post a horizontal IGTV video, the aspect ratio required is 16:9, and the dimensions you need are the exact opposite of the vertical IGTV video, that is 1920px by 1080px.
If you are a large business owner, you should be uploading those videos from your computer. In this way, not only does your video retain most of its original resolution and charm, but you can also post videos as long as 60 minutes.
In addition to these things, your IGTV videos:
- Should be in MP4 Format
- Should have 30 frames per second
- Should have a resolution no less than 720 pixels
- Should have a maximum file size of 650MB and 3.6GB for a 10 minutes long video and a 60 minutes long video respectively.
The size of the IGTV cover photo:
IGTV cover photos (video stills or uploads) are equivalent to YouTube's thumbnails. They are especially tricky because for the time being there's no way to edit them once you have them posted.
If you go to Instagram help, you will see that Instagram recommends 420px by 654px dimensions or 1:1.55 aspect ratio.
But if you create a preview of your IGTV video, you’ll be seeing anything between 1.91:1 and 4:5, and the Instagram profile view is even different: 1:1 only!
So, what should you do?
The best way to counter this problem is by ensuring that your cover photo has all the happenings right in the middle. And by happenings, we mean text, product images or the final look of your dish at the end of your IGTV video.
Instagram Post Size: Stories
Some people believe that Instagram took stories from Snapchat, but we all know IG stories are a lot more fun and hence, a much bigger success!
Instagram stories are supposed to be the raw content you post to engage with your followers frequently. They don’t require hours of retouching or editing to get that perfect quality.
However, there are some ways you can size your Instagram stories for a better visual appeal.
Although you can use your fingers to resize photos and videos for Instagram stories, full-sized stories tend to perform better. And for that, you need a resolution of 1080px by 1920px, which means an aspect ratio of 9:16 for best results.
But if you don't want that, anything between 1.91:1 and 9:16 works well.
Also, the video story length is 15 seconds at maximum. It means that posting a 60-second long video on a story means that Instagram will cut it into four 15 seconds long segments. These stories are visible for 5 seconds before they get replaced by the one ahead.
While uploading a story, you also need to ensure that the size is no bigger than 30MB for photos and 4GB for videos.
Instagram Post Size: Reels
Instagram reels are the newest addition to the Instagram posts. Instagram created IG reels to give its users what you can call the Instagram TikTok. And just like TikTok, the best way to make a reel is by doing it directly on Instagram.
However, if you are not doing that, the best dimensions are to go vertical (9:16) and full screen, with a resolution of 1080px by 1920px.
Instagram is telling us that reels can be 15 seconds in length. But if you want, make them anywhere up to 30 seconds, and it works fine.
Another thing you need to be careful about while making Reels is the thumbnail. Just like the IGTV cover photos, a Reel cover photo or thumbnail is also 1:1, which means that the text or stickers on your thumbnail should be in the very centre.
Also, if the text is too close to the bottom, it might overlap with the caption of your Reel. It does not hide your text, but it does make your Reel appear less appealing and more distracting.
Now You Know the Optimal Instagram Post Sizes!
If you have read the guide up to this point, congratulations, you are now ready to start making high-quality, un-cropped and appealing Instagram posts. The right size and quality of your Instagram posts can help boost the engagements on them. Nobody likes haphazard, messed up content, and the size you choose determines how your posts are shown to the viewers. So, no compromise there!
Apart from the Instagram post size, there are many other things you need to take care of for higher engagements, namely story optimizations, Instagram algorithm, etc. Find all that and much more on our blog!