Social media has become a real madness: it doesn’t matter if you are a designer who creates for a client or if you are the one who has your own brand, standing out from the mass is crucial. In order to bring your images to the next level, it’s necessary to choose the correct dimensions of the image, resolution and color system. Social media platforms are often updated, which means they’re frequently changing their profile and cover photo dimensions, layouts, and requirements for uploaded images, so to keep you updated, we bring you tips how to create high-quality social media images in 2019 for Facebook and Instagram.
Let’s start with the world’s largest social network, Facebook. Have you ever found yourself in a situation that after uploading, your image is grainy and lost its quality? The reason for this is compression. At various sites, you can find many themes about the dimensions, image resolutions and basic settings, but hardly any will answer your question about why your image has lost quality, even though you have correctly set up all settings. The following text will explain how to adjust the settings in Photoshop properly, but even if you use another program settings are the same.
Therefore, as an example, we will take a Facebook post. Open a new document in Photoshop and adjust the dimensions to 1200 x 630 pixels. Make sure your resolution is set to 72 pixels per inch and image mode set to 8 bits/channel. To avoid discoloration in your image, make sure you have selected an sRGB color profile. To make sure that you have set the preset details correctly, see the image below.
All social media platforms use the RGB color system, so everything you can see on your monitor screen is based on the RGB color system. If you choose another color system, for example, CMYK (which is used in the production and printing materials), colors in your image will be displayed differently.
Now we come to the main question – why does Facebook make image compression and how to avoid it? To avoid the compression when you upload your image, make sure the file size is less than 100KB. In order to better understand, let’s take for example that you want to upload an image with a text or logo. If your image is not smaller than 100KB, Facebook will make image compression to 100KB, and your image, so the text and logo on it will become grainy and all your effort to create a high-quality image was wasted. To reduce the document size to 100KB when saving your image, go to file – save as and choose JPEG format. You’ll see a new screen where you will have the ability to adjust the file size. So, when you move the arrow to the left or to the right (shown below), on the right, you can see how the size of the file decreases or increases. Move the arrow to the left to make the size of your image smaller than 100KB and click save.
In summary, set your image to the correct dimensions, check the resolution and image mode, be sure that you choose RGB profile color and keep an eye on the file size. In the image below you can find all image size for Facebook.
For 500 million daily users to be satisfied, the people behind Instagram regularly change the algorithm and rules of our favorite social media platform. For years Instagram had the ability to upload only standard square images but now gives its users the ability to share a multitude of formats and mediums with their audiences. Which is the right dimension for a particular type of content for some people is not the only problem. Most photographers and people who spend hours and hours editing their images in Photoshop or Lightroom, so the colors on their images are perfectly prominent, are faced with the problem after uploading their images – the colors have disappeared or have changed. So, why is this happening and how to solve this problem?
To solve the problem, it is essential that we understood what causes a problem and for that, we need to understand the concept called color space. A color space also called color profile is a defined range of colors that include sRGB, AdobeRGB, ProPhoto RGB and CMYK. However, what makes them so important?
sRGB is the smallest color space, with range only covering a small portion of what our own eyes can see. The Adobe RGB range is larger, particularly in the green and cyan colors. It allows for more saturation (“chroma”) in those areas. ProPhoto RGB is the largest of the three – and possibly the most interesting since it includes “colors” outside of what we can see. ProPhoto RGB only includes those values because it allows the range of real colors to be larger than that of other color spaces, including sRGB and Adobe RGB. If you thought: “Ok, then I will use the ProPhoto RGB color profile for all of my images,” then you just made a mistake. ProPhoto RGB requires expensive equipment, and most of us use monitors that support only sRGB or less often Adobe RGB. So, we need to save the image in a color space that is supported by the place wherever we want to upload our image. For example, if we edit and export our image in ProPhoto RGB or Adobe RGB color profile and then upload on Instagram, colors on the image will disappear or be replaced because Instagram will automatically convert color profile to sRGB. So for now, the only sRGB is important to us because it’s supported by our phones, Instagram, Facebook, websites and anything for the screen.
Let’s make an Instagram post as an example for you to see just how important settings are and how to arrange them. We will create a vertical post in dimensions 1080 x 1350 px (4:5). When we were making a Facebook post, we opened a new document, but this time we will show you how to put the existing image in the right dimensions and set it with the sRGB color profile.
Let’s start with the first step by opening your image in Photoshop. What your image currently uses as the color profile is shown in the lower left corner. If not shown, click the arrow on the right (shown in the image below) and select – document profile.
If you have a photograph in RAW format, your color profile will be ProPhoto RGB as in our example. To change the current color profile to sRGB open edit and choose convert to profile. You will then get a popup window where you will click the arrow on the right in the destination space and select – sRGB profile. Also, don’t forget to check is your image in 8 bit/channel mode by opening the section image – mode.
Now when your image is in the color profile that Instagram supports, your colors will remain unchanged after uploading them. The only thing left is to set the right dimensions and export our image. To do that, first we need to crop the existing image in ratio 4:5. You can use the crop tool, or you can go to image – crop and make sure that ratio is set on 4:5 and press crop.
Then, we need to resize the image by selecting the image – image size. In the popup window that appears, set the dimensions to 1080 x 1350 px and choose Bicubic Sharper (reduction) in Resample field.
The last step is to export, to do that go to file – export as. In right corner choose jpg format and set quality to 73%. Zoom in the image and look if everything is fine; if the image lost quality and doesn’t look good, increase the quality value. Check dimensions one more time, as well as the color space and then press export all and we’re done.
Below you can find all image size for Instagram.