Social Media Image Size Guide
By Emily Garman
It’s hard enough to get the perfect shot to tell your story, but then you upload it, and your cat’s head is cut off! Every social network has different size requirements when it comes to images. If you want to make the most impact, your images need to be sized properly for each platform, and that can take a little extra work. This handy guide will tell you exactly what size images you need to produce for major social networks, and give you a few easy tips, too.
Profile Picture: 180 x 180 pixels
Cover Photo: 820 x 312 pixels
Highlighted Image: 1,200 x 717 pixels
Shared Link: 1,200 x 628 pixels
Shared Image: 1,200 x 630 pixels
Profile Photo: 400 x 400 pixels
Header Photo: 1,500 x 500 pixels
In-Stream Photo (Post): 506 x 253 pixels
Profile Picture: 110 x 110 pixels
Photo Thumbnails: 161 x 161 pixels
Photo Size/Feed: 1080 x 1080 pixels
NOTE: Social networks change their layouts frequently, so these image sizes may change at any time.
HOLDING YOUR CAMERA: Most social media sites use square or horizontal images. However, when we snap photos with our phones, most of us hold the phone vertically. This results in a tall, skinny image, when what we need is a wide, short image. To take photos that will better fit your social media dimensions, simply hold your phone (or camera) sideways (horizontally) when you take a photo. This will help you compose it with social media in mind.
CROPPING PHOTOS: Have you ever gotten a GREAT shot of an animal, but when you look at it, you realize there’s something…unpleasant showing in the background?
You want to crop everything out of the photo to get a nice, tight shot on the face or body of the animal. Most cell phones have software built right into the camera so you can do simple cropping, but if you need more editing or effects, try a program called Fotor.com. It’s a free website for photo editing—simply upload your photo, make your edits and save the new version. It’s also available as a mobile app for free. MANY free and low-cost web-based photo editors and apps are available—just do a web search and read the reviews in the app store for your device to find the best one for your needs.
SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGE GUIDE GLOSSARY
Here are a few handy terms to know when we’re talking about images.
DPI: Dots per inch (really, pixels per inch). Refers to the resolution of an image. High resolution = high-quality images and large file sizes (best for printing). Low-resolution graphics = smaller file sizes, better for the web. 300 dpi/ppi is great for printing; 72 dpi/ppi is great for the web.
DIMENSIONS: The height and width of an image. For the web, we express dimensions in pixels, such as 700 x 300 pixels. For print, dimensions are typically stated in inches, like 8½ x 11 inches. When you see an image size in pixels, the width is always stated first, and the height second. So a 700 x 300 pixel image is 700 pixels wide, and 300 pixels tall.
PIXEL: A unit of measurement for photos and graphic files. It’s basically a really small dot, and a lot of these really small dots make up your image. Abbreviated as px.
RASTER IMAGE: A raster image is made up of pixels. Photographs and web graphics are almost always raster images.
VECTOR IMAGE: A vector image is not made up of pixels, but of mathematical data expressed as curves, points, paths, lines and other shapes. You don’t have to understand the math (thank goodness!), but know that vector images are very high-resolution and can be expanded to large sizes (like for billboards or banners) and still retain a perfect clarity, whereas raster graphics will eventually get fuzzy if they are enlarged too much.
Emily Garman has been a foster mom and animal welfare volunteer for 20 years, and founded TheSocialAnimal.com in 2008 to teach animal advocates how to use social media to raise money, recruit volunteers and save more lives. She presents on next-generation fundraising, social media and internet marketing all over North America.