Why Does Instagram Crop Photos?

Way back when Instagram was first launched, users could only upload photos in a square format – owing to Instagram’s…

Way back when Instagram was first launched, users could only upload photos in a square format – owing to Instagram’s layout and the limitations within the app.

Now, users can share photos in a portrait or landscape configuration or stick to the original square shaped layout – as per the app’s constant rollout of updates which give users more control over what they share and how it looks.

But you may have noticed that despite the ability to share photos in your chosen configuration, photos are still presented in a square format on your grid – and need to be opened in full for the entire image to be visible.

In this article, we ask why this happens.

Why Are Photos Cropped to a Square Shape?

In the simplest terms, Instagram crops photos to a square shape for the presentation of your post grid.

The preview of every post is a square to fit with the neat structure of the post grid – and can then be opened to present the image in full, whether that be portrait or landscape mode.

NOTE: When uploading a photo to a new post, you can use the corners icon in the bottom left hand corner of the photo to crop it to a square shape or restore it to its full screen shape. This allows you to see how the image will look when converted into a square, and move the photo up or down to centralise the focal point of your image.

The other thing that you may have noticed about photo uploading on Instagram is that every image you share in a carousel is adjusted or cropped to mimic the configuration and shape of the first photo selected.

This is all to do with the continuity, as a carousel post with multiple photos can only use one shape and layout. So, the first photo that you select (which marks the cover photo for your post) must have the configuration that you want every other photo in the post to follow.

In short, Instagram is continually updating the app and making changes which are designed to give users more control over how their images are presented. Having said that, the square shaped grid remains one of the hallmarks of an Instagram profile, with photos being cropped to fit with that layout regardless of their size. So, whenever you upload a new post, consider how it will look in a square shape and what you can do to make it look as good as it can!