Photo and video content has taken over social media – some of the biggest and fastest-growing social platforms are dedicated to photo and video alone! But each network has a different purpose (some have several) and requires you to optimize your photo and video content in a particular way.
I’m going to go over a bunch of popular platforms (Facebook, Instagram, IGTV, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, Reddit, YouTube) and tell you how to achieve the optimal photo and video dimensions for your content!
Then, I’ll show you how to customize and adjust the dimensions of your photos and videos for each of these platforms. I’m going to use a free, web-based editing tool called Kapwing, which you can use on your computer, phone, or tablet without needing to download any programs. Let's get started!
Facebook provides so many ways to share content, so there are no easy rules for all posts. But there are a few important things to keep in mind! If you’re posting something to your page, for example, there are a few limits to work with. Facebook supports vertical photos, but if your photo is taller than 9:16, the bottom will be cropped. It’s safest to use photos between 16:9 and 9:16.
Videos, on the other hand, are supported in your main feed from 16:9 to 1:1. Anything taller will have automatic blur padding added to the sides, so your whole video will be visible. In Facebook Watch, though, all videos are padded to fit a 16:9 frame. The blur padding isn’t too distracting, but your videos will look much better if they’re between 16:9 and 1:1! And if you’d prefer solid-color padding, you can add your own and avoid the blurred bars that Facebook uses.
Instagram started supporting photos and videos between 1.91:1 (a bit wider than 16:9) and 9:16 in 2015, but there are still some things you should keep in mind when posting your content! If you want to post something that was filmed horizontally and is wider than 1:1, it will be smaller on the screen than square or tall content. It can be a good idea to crop your wide content as much as possible, so it draws more attention! It might also help to add some top & bottom padding with a custom color or special design! If you can’t crop any of your content, this can be a good way to make your horizontal pictures and videos draw more attention.
If you want to post several videos at once, but they have different dimensions, you’ll have to go through a few more steps, since Instagram crops them all to a default 1:1 ratio. Check out our article on creating a gallery of videos with different dimensions!
Instagram Stories present completely new issues. Your stories should take up the entire screen, since they can only be viewed in full screen. But if you have any important information on the top or bottom of your story, you might want to crop it! Instagram stories are covered on the top and bottom by semi-transparent comment and timeline/account bars. So if you have any writing or other important info, you’ll want to add some space above or below it!
For IGTV, you’ll mostly need to keep the same things in mind that you did for IG stories. There are, however, some other things to consider. You might, for example, want the first section of your video to have a descriptive banner a bit under the top of the screen, since IGTV is often shown in a square form when it’s presented on the Explore page. And with some text, or an eye-catching frame, more people will watch your IGTV content!
The main rule for posting videos on Twitter is that its dimensions should not be taller than a square. In the desktop website, twitter will add black bars to the sides of your video to make it a square, and in the mobile app, your video will be cropped to a square in the Twitter feed, so your followers will not see the top or bottom of your videos unless they click on them. So unless you're making a meme that requires some parts of a video to be hidden (like a "click for a surprise" meme), try to keep your Twitter videos between 16:9 and 1:1!
For photos, your dimensions are even more important! Every image taller than 16:9 is cropped to that ratio. So if you want to post images that are 5:4, square, or vertical, you might want to crop them or add visual padding to the sides!
Feeds in Pinterest are generally optimized for a 2:3 aspect ratio, and any pins taller than this may get cut off in people’s feeds. However, in the desktop website, images are only cut off if they’re taller than 1:2, so you can still optimize extra-tall content for desktop users.
Always keep in mind that the width of Pins is locked, regardless of app or platform, so it’s always best to use the tallest possible dimensions. The closer you are to 2:3 (or 1:2 on desktop), the more space your pin will take up!
TikTok is the simplest of the major video sharing platforms, so the guidelines for optimizing your videos for TikTok couldn’t be easier. You should only use 9:16 videos (vertical phone recording size) to post on TikTok. Any other dimensions waste space!
I would, however, recommend that you avoid keeping any important information or content on the very top or very bottom or right edge of your video. When viewed, videos have captions and comment boxes at the bottom and interaction options on the right side. And video thumbnails (like the ones you see on the trending hashtags page) are shown as 4:5 images, so if you want something to grab viewers’ attention, keep it away from both the top and bottom edges.
There are no dimension limits on Reddit, but there are some guidelines to keep in mind! In “Card” view, if your pictures are a bit taller than a square, Reddit will add side padding, up to a ratio of 16:9. If they’re taller than that, Reddit will add a “See Full Image” button and crop the bottom portion of your picture. So if you are using an extra tall picture, be sure to keep the most important and attention-grabbing parts near the top of your images.
For people using Reddit’s “classic” view, though, all images are cropped to 5:4. So it may be a good idea to make sure that all the most important parts of your picture are visible in a 5:4 frame!
YouTube makes things fairly easy for uploading videos of different dimensions, but there are still a few things you should keep in mind. The most important thing to remember is that all YouTube thumbnails are 16:9 images. Since you’re able to choose or upload any file you want for your thumbnail, make sure you’ve chosen a 16:9 picture, even if your video has completely different dimensions.
If you’re using an especially narrow or tall video, YouTube will generally add black padding to the sides! However, if you’re using a vertical 9:16 video (a typical vertical phone recording), you should keep in mind that YouTube will crop it on the top and bottom to 4:5 when viewed regularly in the mobile app. So if your 9:16 video contains anything especially important or eye-catching on the very top or bottom, make sure you add some padding around your video.
How to Change Your Photo and Video Dimensions
Once you’ve found what you need to do to optimize your photo or video to share in social media, head over to Kapwing.com and click “Get Started.” This will take you to the Kapwing Studio, where you can make all your edits in one place! To upload your content, either paste a link to your photo or video, or click “Upload” and find it in your file browser! Once it’s uploaded to the Studio, resizing it is simple.
You can start in two ways. With the image or video not selected, start by choosing the aspect ratio you want from the menu on the right side of the Studio. This will allow you to automatically crop your photo or video to the most common aspect ratios. If you want to resize your content to custom dimensions, use the “Expand Padding” tools just below the aspect ratios.
Or, with the image or video selected, you can click “crop” from the menu. This will allow you to choose among the most useful aspect ratios, just like the resizer (but with a few more options!). If you want more customization, you can click & drag in the cropping window until your content looks perfect! Once you click “done,” you can continue to adjust the dimensions of your image or video by clicking and dragging any corner.
You can always add or remove your background padding by deselecting all layers and using the tools in the menu on the right-hand side of your screen! You can also change the color of your background padding to anything you’d like. Black and white are the most common options, but a custom color can make your content stand out!
Once you’re done adjusting the dimensions of your content, click the “Publish” button in the top right corner of the screen! Kapwing will automatically start processing your content, which should be ready to download in just a few moments. When it’s finished processing, choose “Download” from the right side of the screen. Now your content is ready to share on social media!
*Note: If you’re using an iPhone, you won’t be able to download your content to your device directly from your browser. Instead, you’ll need to download the very small, free Kapwing mobile app. The app requires no login – it’s only there to allow you to download content to your iPhone! Once your content is processed, just copy the download page’s URL and paste it in the Kapwing app. Your content will download immediately to your Photos or file browser!
Remember to tag us @KapwingApp whenever you share your content on social media– we love to see what our creators are passionate about! And be sure to subscribe to the Kapwing Resources blog – we’re constantly writing new tutorial and features to help you make the most out of Kapwing.