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How To Post Portrait or Vertical Photos on Instagram without cropping

Posted by Jamie on December 2, 2019

I have always wondered why Instagram didn’t like portrait orientation despite being predominantly an app for phones with portrait screens. While landscapes and action shots are my main hobby, the occasional portrait-oriented image happens and I want to post about it on Instagram.

So how can you post portrait photos on Instagram without cropping?

Instagram always said they only allowed square images to provide a consistent experience when browsing. As more professional photographers began using the app, this approach fell short. It was then that Instagram responded by adding these new orientation features.

The vast majority of Instagram images are squared off. That’s fine for the most part but does tend to impact the composition of a photo, especially if it’s a portrait or landscape subject.

When you upload an image or load it into Instagram, the image is automatically cropped to 4:5. That’s okay for the random picture or selfie that makes up the majority of Instagram posts, but when we want to showcase something special, it’s not so good. No one wants to put a lot of time and effort into capturing the perfect photo only for Instagram to ruin it by cropping the image.

Instagram did add different orientations not long ago but images still take a little tweaking to get right. Now, you can post images at a maximum size of 600 x 600 for square images, 1080 × 607 for landscapes and 480 × 600 for portraits. The actual stored size differs slightly but when you measure images within Instagram, these are what typically come up.

Instagram

So, if you’re one of the many Instagram users that’s tired of having their photos cropped, let’s take a look at how you can post portrait or vertical photos on Instagram without cropping.

Post Portrait Photos on Instagram

Depending on the size of your image, you may now be able to post a portrait image on Instagram without having to crop it.

Here’s how you can check:

  1. Open Instagram and create a new post.
  2. Select the image from your collection.
  3. Select the small crop icon in the bottom left of the main image screen.
  4. Adjust the image within the grid until it’s how you like it.

Using the crop icon shifts the shape from the usual square to either landscape or portrait, depending on the size of the image. You can then post the image in its original orientation without having to edit or crop.

Post Landscape Images on Instagram

What if you want to post a landscape picture without cropping?

Well, fortunately, the same process above works in landscape orientation too. Since the two sizes were added to Instagram, it will pick up the shape and size of the image and let you post the most suitable size.

I won’t repeat the instructions again, but suffice to say, use the above steps and select a landscape image and you can post it as landscape.

Manually Cropping Instagram Images

Sometimes, the image just doesn’t look right with the new setup in Instagram and you need to do a little bit of manual editing first. The new orientation feature is good but not perfect, and if it won’t show your image off at its best, it may be better to manually edit the image and upload it as a square — even if it means sacrificing the composition.

I use Paint.Net for cropping but you can do it with most photo editors. Just follow these simple steps to get started:

  1. Download the image to your computer and load it into your image editor.
  2. Crop your image to 5:4 using the image editor and edit until the subject is front and center.
  3. Upload the image to Instagram and post as normal.

If that doesn’t quite work or leaves the image subject hanging out to dry, you can add a white border to either side of the image to create the 5:4 ratio.

This can often make the image look better. It has the advantage of leaving your image in its original form but will be viewed slightly smaller than usual.

This method works great if you aren’t happy with the way your image looks when you upload it straight to Instagram without editing.

Use an App to Prepare an Image for Instagram

There are a number of third-party apps that can help prepare images for Instagram and help you resize an image with or without cropping. Even though you can now post portrait and landscape, these apps still make life a little easier when preparing something for publishing.

Two I used were No Crop & Square for Instagram for Android and Whitagram for iPhone. Both achieve the same goal as my manual editing method and will resize your images ready for posting or add a black or white border on either side to make them fit better. If you want to keep everything on your phone and not download it to your computer, these and other apps like it are well worth a try.

Final Thoughts

I’m far from a professional photographer but even I know that, sometimes, squaring off an image takes something away from the effect. Adding portrait and landscape orientation gives the professional photographers and those enthusiastic amateurs more options when composing their shots, and our experience as Instagram users is also enhanced. Everyone’s a winner!

Want to find more apps to help you create eye-catching Instagram posts?

Check out our article on the Most Popular Instagram Apps.

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