Social Media Recommended Photo Guide 2020: Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (Cropping, Pixels, Dimensions, Aspect Ratio, Zoom, Size, Blurry, Distortion, Image Too Large)
As a professional photographer based in San Francisco, I realize how hard it is for people to capture good, natural photos for their profiles. Once you capture that perfect shot, the worst thing to happen is to have it be distorted or cropped awkwardly when trying to apply it to other platforms. I created this social media photo cheat sheet for you when planning on hiring a photographer, things to discuss with your web designer and things to consider to get the most out of your investment with photos.
Most social media platforms have their own unique set of recommended sizes, aspect ratios (length to width ratios), maximum sizes, pixel minimums – those I will get into this later on in this post. Your photos should be clear enough so that when you upload them to any app they will not become distorted, cropped too tight or unnecessarily blurred because it is too small.
For those that have managed to get good photos for their profile, the last thing you want to do is let these good photos go to waste because you uploaded a photo that was too small or did not add an appropriate border to prevent unwanted cropping or tried to stretch out a photo to meet minimum requirements for outlets used.
Most platforms prefer a square image for profile photos but it is always good practice to keep full size (uncropped) around in case you need photos for new unforeseen reasons.
For additional tips on LinkedIn headshots, which photos to avoid, what to wear and more, read this post: https://eddie-hernandez.com/linkedin-headshots/
LinkedIn Photo Dimensions, Aspect Ratios, Minimum Sizes, Recommended Sizes
Aspect Ratio: 1:1
Minimum Recommended Pixels: 400×400
Maximum Size: 7680 (w) x 4320 (l) and 8MB.
Zoom Recommendations: Most people suggest cropping around the 2nd button of a shirt (upper chest) with about your face and shoulders taking up 60-75% of the frame. Anything above 85% of the frame is generally too close.
Recommended Pixels: ~600 to 800pixels. This is really dependent on how much space you have around your face/body frame and how much you wish to keep. The more space you have the larger the photo can be. If you upload photos larger that this then you run the risk of photos taking up too much space on a screen if someone clicks on your photo to zoom in.
Just because it fits in the cropped area doesn’t mean people can access the full size photo!
A circular crop is applied to photos. With that in mind, if you take portrait style photos, you may run the risk of not having enough space for a crop (which is why I prefer landscape headshots and capture both orientations for most versatility). Make sure you hire a photographer who will maintain extra space for your final shots as crops and other needs for photos (press, blogs etc. usually require additional space in photos).
Pro-tip: LinkedIn Profile Tips: https://eddie-hernandez.com/linkedin-profile-photo-tips/
LinkedIn Background Cover Photos Dimensions, Aspect Ratios, Minimum Sizes, Recommended Sizes
Aspect Ratio: 1.1 up to 1.9 to 1 (circular crop to 1:1)
File Type: JPG, PNG
Recommended Pixels: 1584×396. If you have a photo that is larger, generally that is fine as long as the ratio is relatively similar. If your photo is taller than the recommended ratio, it will be cropped if uploaded.
Maximum Size: 8MB
Pro-tip: Additional Info on LinkedIn Photo Sizes
Twitter Profile & Header Photo Dimensions, Aspect Ratios, Minimum Sizes, Recommended Sizes
Aspect Ratio: 1.1 up to 1.9 to 1 (circular crop to 1:1)
Recommended Profile Photo Pixels: 400×400 pixels
Recommended Header Photo Pixels: 1500 x 500 pixels
Maximum Size: 2MB
File Type: JPG, PNG, GIF
Pro-tip: Additional info on Twitter photo sizes.
Pinterest Photo Dimensions, Aspect Ratios, Minimum Sizes, Recommended Sizes
Aspect Ratio for Pinned Photos: 2:3
Profile Cover Photo Aspect: 16:9
Recommended Profile Photo Pixels: 180×180 to 600×600
Recommended Header Photo Size: 10MB
File Type: JPG, PNG, GIF
Pro-tip: Pinterest is pushing for larger photo sizes so 1,000px minimums are being suggested.
Instagram Photo Dimensions, Aspect Ratios, Minimum Sizes, Recommended Sizes
Recommended Aspect Ratio: 1.91:1 and 4:5.
Recommended Photo Pixels: 1080 pixels wide
Minimum Pixel Sizes: 566 x 320 (h x w) up to 1350 x 1080 (h x w)
Facebook Photo Dimensions, Aspect Ratios, Minimum Sizes, Recommended Sizes
Recommended Aspect Ratio: Cropped to 1:1.
Recommended Photo Pixels Minimum: 170 x 170 minimum
Recommended Page Cover Photo: 820 x 312 but will be displayed at 640 x 360 for smartphones.
Pro-tip: Loads fastest as an sRGB JPG file that’s 851 pixels wide, 315 pixels tall and less than 100 kilobytes.
For profile pictures and cover photos with your logo or text, you may get a better result by using a PNG file.
Facebook Photo Size Help Page: https://www.facebook.com/help/125379114252045
Website Photo Dimensions, Aspect Ratios, Minimum Sizes, Recommended Sizes
Recommended Aspect Ratio: 1.91 to 1 and 1 to 1.91 or 1:1 depending on design of the website
Recommended Photo Pixels: 400 x 400 to 600 x 600.
Website photos will vary but most designers and marketers will ask for highest resolution possible (easier for editing, adding space if needed) but ultimately will be shrunk for optimization (page speed). Page speed is a significant factor in SERP’s (search engine results pages). Depending on other items on your page, css/js, other photos, graphics etc. you may want to keep the images as small as possible without resolution lost. Most people use Photoshop which has a feature to save images for web (better than just a regular jpg file saved with MSPaint).
Emailing and Texting Photos
If your friend took a photo on their phone and you are looking to get a photo from them to use for your dating profile, ask them to email it to you vs texting it to you because texting photos will reduce photo size and quality greatly to speed up send time. Don’t rely on screenshots either as that will constrict the size of the photos even more.
Reducing Photo Sizes That Are Too Large
Most DSLR cameras will provide photos larger than this anywhere from 6mb to 15mb or more. In order to use high quality photos, you need to use a photo-editing tool to reduce the size of your photos. MSPaint and Adobe Photoshop are great options on your laptop. I recommend desktop software tools vs. mobile apps mainly for privacy and security reasons (especially as of late).
Getting Full Size Photos / Backing Up Original Photos
With many photo-sharing, photo-editing, camera apps out there, it can be difficult to manage all your photos. I like using the Google Photos auto backup feature because you can back up original photos or at least photos at a large enough size that you can use later. These photos are sorted by output i.e. Facebook, Instagram etc.
If you try to download a photo from Facebook it will likely be done so at a reduced size and resolution quality. Keeping a backup of the original photo will be helpful if you decide to print photos, or use them later on.
Make sure you keep full size photos from a photoshoot as the recommendations and requirements can change over time. Most people will need a couple different versions of logos, background images, cover photos and profile photos to optimize against all social media platforms and websites.
Zooming in / Cropping Photos
For standard photos, most profile photos are standard headshots (from the upper chest up) and as such, your face and frame should not comprise more than 60-75% of the frame. Too often people will take photos that are cropped and are way to close (90-95% of the frame). You want enough space so the photo doesn’t seem to in your face.
For photos that are half-body and full-body photos, there will obviously be more empty space in the frame but you don’t want too much. You should aim for 40-60% of the frame in these photos.
When it comes to taking photos, be sure to use your back camera of your phone instead of the front facing one. The back cameras on mobile phones often come with 2 different cameras and the one in front is usually a lower quality camera. Using the back camera is recommended to preserve the best size and quality for your photos.
Check your camera app settings to make sure your photos are being taken/saved at the highest resolution. There are usually several options for photos on your phone depending on the amount of space you have so be sure to do a quick check to make sure you are taking and saving photos with the highest quality dimensions.
Recommended Compression, Resizing Tool
Related reading: Online Dating Photo Guide – Sizing, Cropping, Aspect Ratios
About Eddie Hernandez
San Francisco Photographer: Professional Headshots, People Portraits, LinkedIn Photos, Corporate + Business Headshots, Company Culture + People Photography for non-profits, startups, small business owners, professional firms and local organizations.
Specialties include: casual employee headshots, work style corporate headshots, LinkedIn headshots, business headshots, executive portraits, professional headshots, office headshots, creative branding portraits, CEO portraits, modern company culture and environmental office head shots. I primarily shoot outdoors, public spaces and client sites (on location, before work, after work, lunch breaks) and specialize in location scouting and creative direction. Assistance with wardrobe and styling is available.
My ability to put people at ease, guide poses, provide unique backgrounds and create a fun photoshoot filled is what separates me from others. If you hate taking photos or are camera shy, you have come to the right person for your pictures.
Whether you are a medical / healthcare professional, marketing consultant, accountant, writer, investor, attorney, engineer, scientist, psychologist, designer, executive, founder or work in finance, residency, healthcare, startups, banking, technology, education, therapy, government, non-profits or own your business, I can work with you to create a unique, personable, creative, professional headshot look to suit your needs whether for a website, press, LinkedIn, social media or company website.
Serving the greater SF Bay Area including Sausalito, Mill Valley, Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin County, Petaluma, Sonoma, Napa, Palo Alto, San Jose, Stanford, Silicon Valley, Fremont, Hayward, Concord, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Larkspur, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Menlo Park. Will travel to Los Angeles, New York City, Montreal, Mexico City, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Philadelphia, Chicago, internationally and client sites.
Contact me today for your professional headshot session: https://eddie-hernandez.com/contact/