Do you long to show off your photos on social media… but trying to figure out how to resize and export social images from Lightroom has you stumped?
Oh, it’s not only you!
Lightroom’s export options aren’t that intuitive or user-friendly.
And to make things worse, the social media sites change their recommended image sizes all the time.
Why? I’m not sure. I guess it’s just one more way Zuckerberg holds power over us (joking!)
Resizing your photos for social media is easy once you know where to look in Lightroom to make these adjustments. Besides showing you how to resize your photos, I’ll cover the current recommended image sizes for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter too.
But before I do, let’s look at recommendations for file format, resolution and color space.
What Resolution Should I Use for Social Media Images?
To be truthful, there is conflicting information out there about what resolution you need for exporting your images for social media.
Many experts recommend that we set the quality slider at a minimum of 76. They also recommend a minimum resolution of 144ppi to accommodate for Retina screens. But I’ve seen others that claim resolution doesn’t matter for screens!
So to be on the safe size, use 144ppi.
What File Format Should I Export My Images in?
Export your photos in JPG format, because JPG provides a smaller file size.
To avoid your photo being compressed after upload (which is just one of the many annoying things Facebook does) keep your file size to 100KB or less.
What About the Color Space? sRGB or Adobe RGB?
Use the sRGB color profile. Adobe RGB retains more information, but it gets lost when you upload your photos. It's a color space meant for print.
Facebook Tip: Set Your Photo Uploads to HD
To avoid Facebook applying compression to your images, upload your photos to Facebook in HD format. Compression makes your ‘Wow!' images lose a lot of detail, so take this proactive step to avoid it!
This option is “off” by default, so you must turn it on.
You’ll find the HD option under ‘Settings’ > ‘Videos and Photos’ > ‘Photo Settings’ > ‘Upload HD.’ This helps ensure you upload the best quality photo possible, while avoiding compression.
Now let’s look at recommended image sizes for the various platforms.
2019 Image Sizes for Facebook
As I mentioned earlier, Facebook changes images sizes for profile photos, timeline covers and posts as often as the wind changes direction (i.e. often!)
So know that although I’ve tried my best to provide current information, it's likely to become outdated. (I will update this post with any changes as I notice them.)
Here are Facebook’s 2019 image size recommendations:
Cover photos: 820 x 360 px
Profile photo: 180 x 180 px
Shared link thumbnail: 500 x 261 px
Timeline photo thumbnail: 500 x 750 px
Event header image: 1920 x 1080 px
Image Post: 1200 x 900 px
Next up: Instagram.
2019 Instagram Image Sizes
If you haven’t visited Instagram for a while, you'll find that it isn’t just for squares anymore. (As in square photos, that is!)
Instagram now allows photos in both portrait and landscape formats, along with its traditional square photo format. With Lightroom, trying out these different formats to see how they'll look on mobile is a breeze. (I have a tip for this in a later section.)
Here are Instagram’s current photo sizing recommendations:
Landscapes are best sized at least 1080px x 566px or a 1.91: proportion.
Portrait photos: a minimum of 1080px x 1350 px.
Profile photos: a minimum size of 110px x 110 px
Stories: 1080 x 920
Last, we’ll look at the problem child of the social media world for photographers: Twitter. (And not because of all those inflammatory tweets either!)
Twitter: What the Heck Do They Want???
Here is why Twitter is such a pain…
No one seems to know what the right sizes for Twitter images are. I don’t understand why they have to make it so hard.
But I hunted around and discovered the image sizes Twitter wants right now. It was like finding a needle in a haystack, but here ya go!
2019 Twitter Image Sizes
Twitter Header: 1500 px x 500 px or a 3:1 aspect ratio
Profile: 400px x 400 px or a 1:1 aspect ratio
Tweeted Image Size: 1200 px x 675 or a 16:9 aspect ratio
Twitter Card: 1200 px x 628 px or 1:91:1 aspect ratio
Now that we’ve covered Twitter, here are the current image size recommendations for LinkedIn, the social network for shameless self-promotion!
LinkedIn 2019 Image Sizes
LinkedIn Cover size: 1584 x 396 px. Note: this is a perfect 4:1 proportion.
Profile: any size between 400 x 400 and 20,000 x 20,000 px
Link shares: 1200 x 628 px
Cover photo: 1536 x 768 px
Logo: 300 x 300 px
Crop and add filters to your images after upload if you desire.
Now let’s get to the juicy part – how to resize your photos in Lightroom!
Lightroom Classic Image Resizing Instructions
In the Develop module, click “File,” then scroll down to “Export.”
Once the Export box has opened, scroll down to “File Settings.”
Set the Quality slider to at least 76.
Choose ‘sRGB’ for your color space and JPG for your image format.
Since these images are for social media, I’d check the box that says “Limit file size to [blank] k” and enter 100 in the box, since most social networks limit your file size to 100kb and under.
Next, scroll down to the next section ‘Image Sizing.’
Check the ‘Resize to Fit’ box. Leave the ‘Don’t enlarge’ box unchecked.
Now, you’ll see your resizing options under the drop-down arrow:
Width & Height
To resize to any of the recommended sizes I listed above, choose ‘Width & Height.”
Type in the correct dimensions for the image type as listed in the first section.
Make sure you choose ‘Pixels’ for your unit of measure instead of inches or centimeters.
If you make this mistake, you’ll see the warning “Some export operations were not performed – could not create an image that exceeded your maximum file size of 100k.” Go back and change the width & height scale back to pixels – then everything will work properly again.
Easy Facebook Resizing
Want a quick and easy way to resize for Facebook? Try this!
Follow the instructions above, but instead of choosing “Width & Height,’ choose ‘Long Edge.” Enter ‘2048’ into the box. Or if you’d like a smaller image, use ‘960’ as the long edge.
Sizing and optimizing your images this way stops Facebook from applying their horrible compression to your images (their compression makes even the best images look bad!)
Do you export your images to social media often?
Then why not save your export settings as a Lightroom Preset? That way you can just apply the Preset settings with a single click whenever you want to export your photos to social media.
And it’s so easy!
In the top left-hand side of the export dialogue box, you’ll see Lightroom Presets, and right under that, ‘User Presets.’
After you’ve adjusted your settings for a specific social platform as shown above, click on ‘User Presets.’ Name your Preset appropriately (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) to find it the next time you need it.
The next time you want to export to a specific social platform, simply click on that saved user preset.
It couldn't be more simple!
Easy Resizing & Publishing for Instagram on iPhone
Instagram is for mobile, not for the desktop. This means that images must be saved to your phone before you upload them to Instagram. And that means extra steps, like saving from Lightroom Classic to your computer, then sending that file to your phone via email, Air Drop, Dropbox, etc.
So I prefer to use the Lightroom Mobile app to share photos to Instagram, since it lets you skip a few of these steps.
If you’re not using the Lightroom Mobile app yet, it’s a free app that syncs with the web-based version of Lightroom. So when you sync edited photos from Lightroom Classic to the web-based version of Lightroom, your images sync to the mobile app too.
Edit your photos as normal in Lightroom Classic and save the ones you’d like to share to Instagram as a Collection. (If you're unsure how to do this, check out these instructions from Adobe.)
When you create your collection, check the ‘Sync to Lightroom’ box. Now these photos will also appear in the web-based version of Lightroom – and by extension to the mobile app.
Open up your Lightroom Mobile app. Select the photo you’d like to share to Instagram, then click on the Crop Tool.
Next, click on the icon that says ‘3 x 2.'
There you’ll see an option to crop your images as 1 x 1 square images (or upload them in landscape or portrait mode if desired.)
From there, click the share icon at the top of your screen (it looks like a box with an arrow pointing up.) It will ask what image size you want to share. Choose ‘Small – 2048px.’
Now you’ll see a list of your places to share your image. Choose Instagram, add your tags and you’re done! Your formatted photo exports from Lightroom to Instagram with no extra steps.
You can do this same trick to share images to any social network from your iPhone or iPad, keeping in mind the correct aspect ratio for the individual platforms.
And There You Have It!
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