The Perfect Aspect Ratio for Your Instagram Photos

What if I told you a simple crop on your Instagram photos could increase engagement by over 67%.

On AdWeek, Jason Stein, founder, and CEO of Laundry Service found that “…view-through rate and engagement rate are much higher on square than landscape videos. This is likely due to the larger amount of real estate that a square video gets in feed.”

In Laundry Service’s data, view rates for square videos are 28 percent higher than horizontal content. When looking specifically at view-through rates for the first 10 seconds of a video, 1:1 videos outperform 16:9 clips by 54 percent. And people are 67 percent more likely to watch the full length of a square-oriented video than they are to watch a horizontal one.”

Though the study was done only on video, expect similar results with Instagram photos as the same benefits apply: the larger amount of space a photo takes up, the more likely the user will double tap or engage with the content.

Before we get started, let’s learn a little more about aspect ratios. The aspect ratio is defined as an images relationship between the width and the height. For the longest time, Instagram has limited you to the 1:1 aspect ratio, which means the width of the image is the same as the height. The square posts have now been expanded to a variety of aspect ratios.

What Does Instagram Allow

As Instagram states, “When you share a photo that has a width between 320 and 1080 pixels, we keep that photo at its original resolution as long as the photo’s aspect ratio is between 1.91:1 and 4:5 (a height between 566 and 1350 pixels with a width of 1080 pixels).

If the aspect ratio of your photo isn’t supported, it will be cropped to fit a supported ratio. If you share a photo at a lower resolution, we enlarge it to a width of 320 pixels. If you share a photo at a higher resolution, we size it down to a width of 1080 pixels.

If you want to make sure that your photo is shared with a width of 1080 pixels:

– Download the most recent version of the Instagram app.
– Upload a photo with a width of at least 1080 pixels with an aspect ratio between 1.91:1 and 4:5.”

Instagram accepts JPEG and PNG files. Animated GIFs are not supported.

Aspect Ratios of Smartphone Cameras

One thing to note is that most smartphones today takes photos at a 4:3 aspect ratio, which is not supported by Instagram. That’s why when you post your iPhone photos on Instagram, you might notice your picture is cropped to a 1:1 aspect ratio.

If you’re looking to post photos at a specific aspect ratio every time, there are two ways of doing it.

Edit your Aspect Ratio on your iPhone

1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.

2. Find and tap on the photo you’d like to edit.

3. Click edit on the top right

4. Tap on the rotate icon on the far left in the bottom menu.

5. Tap on the aspect ratio button on the lower right of the screen.

6. Tap on the ratio you’d like to use

7. Tap on Done in the bottom right-hand corner when you’re happy with the image.

Download a 3rd Party Camera App

Camera app such as Camera+ on the App store allows you to take photos in 16:9 aspect ratio. On top of that, there are lots of other features including, but not limited to:

Touch Exposure & Focus
Set exposure separately from focus. You can now easily control how light or dark your shots come out.

Shooting Modes
Use the Stabilizer to steady your iPhone and get the sharpest photos you can. There are countless uses for the Timer including taking the highest-quality self-portraits. Capture all the action by using Burst to take rapid streams of shots.

Digital Zoom
Up to 6× zoom with advanced digital processing provides you with quality that simply blows away the competition.

Front Flash
How many times have you wanted to take a pic of yourself in a dark room but couldn’t? Well, now you can!

Horizon Level
Use the Horizon Level to eliminate taking crooked shots.

Clarity
Clarity analyzes your photos and makes several intelligent adjustments that magically bring out details and breathe life into dull photos… and many more.

Common Aspect Ratios for Instagram

Though Instagram allows you any aspect ratio between 1.91:1 to 4:5, there are four standard aspect ratios that most influencers use for Instagram photos.

1. The Square

Aspect Ratio 1:1 (Square)
2048 x 2048 pixels at 96 ppi

2. Horizontal (Wide)

Aspect Ratio 1.8:1 (or 16:9)
1920 x 1080 pixels at 96 ppi

3. Horizontal (Tall)

Aspect Ratio 1.91 : 1 (Wide)
1800 x 945 pixels at 96 ppi

4. Vertical

Aspect Ratio 0.8:1 (or 4:5)
1080 pixels by 1350 pixels at 96 ppi

And The Perfect Aspect Ratio is …

1:1 (Square). We conducted a study on 3,000 influencers and looked at what are the most common aspect ratios used for their posts, and the average number of likes and comments per post.

Usage

Posts with 1:1 aspect ratios account for 66% of all the posts in our sample. The 2nd most popular aspect ratio at 16% is 0.8:1.

The study aligns with our thinking because when you post a photo on Instagram, the default aspect ratio is 1:1. To keep consistent, most users will typically adjust their photos to fit in the 1:1 square rather than changing it to another aspect ratio.

Engagement

Posts with aspect ratios 0.9:1 receives the most likes on average at 24 likes per post. A close second is photos with aspect ratios 1.2:1 at 22 likes per post.

The more interesting finding is that the wider the photo is, the less engagement it receives. Our assumption is that because wider photos are smaller and harder to double tap, it’ll receive less engagement than aspect ratios 0.8:1 and 1:1 that will fill your entire phone screen.

If you are willing to put in the work and edit the aspect ratios of your photos, you can’t go wrong with any ratio between 0.9:1 to 1.2:1. But if time is limited, you can’t go wrong with just the standard 1:1 (Square) aspect ratio.