When posting to social media, one essential part of making the photos we upload look their best is the image size and resolution. We often don’t think about it enough, especially since Instagram comes with built-in access to the camera, cropping and sizing tools. While we can get away with using what Instagram provides us when it comes to posting straight to our feeds and profile (usually a square crop or the original photo size) that changes a little when we shift gears and post to Stories.
Instagram Stories, like its spiritual predecessor Snapchat, fully embraces the mobile phone experience and uses a vertical orientation for photos and videos. They’re short, too, lasting for 15 seconds at most for each one you post. This means that the first couple of frames in your story are essential. Your audience needs to see something that looks good from the get-go, with the highest exits from any Story happening in the first frame. It’s here that sizing your images and videos becomes important. You don’t want to lose viewers just because your Stories don’t look right!
Instagram Stories Size
SproutSocial has made a handy guide to sizing for various posts on Instagram. Despite their article focusing on ads, this works for regular posts too! Here’s what they found.
The ideal image and video dimensions for your Instagram Stories is 1080 x 1920 pixels, and the same is true for image ads on Stories. Translating this into aspect ratio, images should be 9:16.
If you’re uploading photos from outside your mobile phone, perhaps from editing and design on a laptop or desktop computer, the image should be in either .JPG or .PNG file format. Maximum image size should not exceed 30MB. The latter’s especially important for videos, so you’ll need to cut length and compress resolution accordingly.
Keep note of these if you’re a digital marketer. According to Digiday, Instagram ads have been given a whole new life by Stories, with ad spend shooting up, cost per impression staying low, and engagement booming due to audiences viewing Stories all the way through. With this much competition and such a lucrative space, putting in your best effort is integral to success.
How to Stick to Sizing (and Put Your Own Spin on It)
You can always open up some image editing software to adjust sizes how you want, but often you can’t spare the time, or sometimes you want to share what you have. There are also more creative ways to adhere to the ideal Stories size and format while showing off fresh, visually appealing content that otherwise might not have found a place there.
- Use the built-in camera
The easiest way to make sure what you post is the right size: post to Stories directly from the camera. This is best for capturing events in the moment. Whether you’re an avid user or a marketer by trade, just use the built in camera to liveblog, decorate the result with stickers and your text of choice, and post. It’s easy and effective!
- Make collages to fit multiple photos
One way to bend the rules a little when it comes to Stories size is to make a collage. If you have photos you want to share to stories but they’re in a variety of dimensions that don’t fit the template, open up any handy photo editor available to you and collage them instead. You’ll want to adjust the canvas’ size to the prescribed aspect ratio (9:16).
- Add minimalist-inspired style using white space and blank spots in your canvas
One caveat that comes with recording straight from your camera is that, more than likely, a bustling background can take the focus away from your subject. If you’ve committed to an aesthetic for your feed, why not take it all the way into your Stories? Using the same idea as you would when making a collage—sizing a canvas in a photo editor to the ideal dimensions or aspect ratio—you can then insert one or two photos while leaving the rest of the image blank. Using Stories to add accompanying text in a smaller font amps up the classy, restrained look. Those swiping through your Stories can have an experience similar to flipping through a photobook or magazine!
Stories are now a popular and essential part of the whole Instagram experience, and if you want to up your game and gain more views from yours, sizing is just one part of the whole equation. Don’t forget the core strategies of making effective Instagram Stories. Show off who you are, make use of all the tools available to you (highlights, stickers, polls, questions, etc), engage with your audience, and go live every once in a while.