Add white borders to your images and make them square, so
you can upload them to Instagram without cropping.
Accepted file types: PNG, JPG
Hint: You can upload multiple images
Most modern cameras take images with an aspect
ratio of 4:3. This ratio has been used since the era of 35 mm film
cameras. We compose our images in 4:3, but social media platforms
like Instagram do not allow photographers to upload images in this
classic format. Instapadder padds images with landscape and portrait
Why and how Instagram is cropping our photos?
According to an interview with Business Insider
Instagram Co-Founder Kevin Systrom said, that Instagram incorporated
square format photos from day one.
"Square photos displayed really well in a feed format and frankly we
just liked the aspect ratio better. It wasn't much more complex than
to the interview
Since then Instagram grew to become one of the
biggest Social Media Apps worldwide, so from a financial point of
view, this was probably a good decision. To be fair, most people
probably will not even care if their photos get cropped a little.
Oftentimes hand one of my cameras to a non photographer friend, he
or her places the subject in the middle, so cropping away the sides
does not harm the image afterwards. The problem is, that since
Instagram became so important and big, using it became mandatory for
a lot of persons, including artists and photographers.
For our main feed Instagram gives us three
optional aspect ratios
When talking about Instagram cropping our
photos we have to differentiate between photos that are shot in
landscape and portrait orientation and we have to make clear if we
are viewing those photos embedded in the feed or separately. In
total there are three options:
a) Square (1:1 Aspect Ratio)
If you are shooting medium format 6x6 film, you
obviously will not have any problems. But most cameras take images
in a 4:3 aspect ratio and here it becomes problematic.
b) Horizontal (up to 1.91 : 1 Aspect
Most of the photos taken are in the standard
4:3 landscape format. Since some years Instagram allows the upload
of images with 4:3 format. The only problem is, that those images
will be shown cropped in the feed.
c) Vertical (up to 4:5 Aspect Ratio)
Some photos are taken in a 3:4 portrait format.
Those are most problematic. A common 3:4 portrait photo obviously
will not fit inside a 4:5 rectangle, so you will have to crop some
portion of your photo away on top and/or bottom. Either in your post
processing software or inside the Instagram App.
Why you should not crop your photos
When building Instapadder we mostly had
photographers and artists as potential users in mind. A lot of
photographers tend to crop their photos after shooting, but you
normally would not crop a standard 4:3 landscape or 3:4 portrait
shot to square without weighty reasons. In Fact, there are several
reasons why you would not want to let Instagram crop your photos to
square format for you.
a) Tidy Instagram Feed
Instagram is a visual medium and your feed is
like your business card. A tidy feed can make you stand out from the
crowd and looks professional. Most people arriving at your page will
quickly scroll through your feed and decide whether to stay on your
site or leave. Thats why a tidy looking feed is key to success in
For example take a look at the feed of
Screenshot: Feed @gabriel.melhado
I really like how he padded his photos and
arranged them in a way, so that landscape oriented photos follow
after photos that are oriented in portrait. In addition to that, all
photos somehow fit together and are black and white. They
thematically and aesthetically fit together, which makes it a
pleasure to scroll through Gabriels feed.
b) A lot of good photographers are
already doing it
Of course it is not just about following the
mass, but when a lot of professional photographers incorporate some
praxis in their work flow, then maybe you should think about copying
For example the renown SPI award
(@streetphotographyinternational) only takes photos that are not
cropped to square format:
c) Importance of white space
Illustration 1: View on the Alex, Berlin
(Vladislav Shenker, 2018)
White space is not only important in photography. White space or
negative space is an important concept when it comes to aesthetics
altogether. According to designers
there are several advantages of using white space when presenting
any kind of information (and in our case it is about presenting our
work). The usage of white space increases legibility, makes your
feed look tidy and separates your images from each other. White
space is probably the best frame for your shot. All these advantages
are also effective in the real world. If you have ever been to a
photography exhibition or museum, you will have noticed that the
pictures are always hung far apart. The scenario in a gallery can be
compared to your Instagram Feed. The viewer needs the distance
between the pictures in order to perceive them as separate
creations. Just try to think of an exhibition, where all the
pictures are cramped together and hang side by side without any
white space around them.
d) It's a whole different image
Illustration 2: Igor Stravinsky, New York
(Arnold Newman, 1946)
If you crop your photo, it'll turn into a whole
different one. To illustrate this simple fact, let's look at this
famous portrait that Arnold Newman took of Igor Stravinsky in 1946.
It is often used in composition handbooks. Newman decided to trim
the picture to the inner rectangle, creating one of the most
influential portraits of modern times. Just think what would happen
if he posted his photo on Instagram and the feed would only show a
1:1 detail. Stravinsky wouldn't even be in the frame.
e) Show that you care for your images
I mostly shoot film and as a film photographer
I do care for every single shot I take. Developing and printing film
is a tedious but rewarding process. Probably that is why I care for
my photos and the way they are presented on the web. When I visit
someone else's feed and see, that she did not let Instagram crop her
photos, I intuitively feel that this person is carrying for her
photos as much as I do. As much as real photographers do.
Safe your art, use Instapadder
Although there are often good reasons for
cropping photos, it doesn't always make sense. I hope that with this
little article I was able to convince you not to let Instagram crop
your photos any longer. Of course you can also use one of the many
Apps to "pad" your pictures instead of Instapadder. For example No
crop and square for Android or Whitagram and NoCrop for iOS. But
remember that you can also use Instapadder on your Smartphone.
Ausgeknipst Vladislav Shenker Scherenbergstrasse
13 97082 Wuerzburg Deutschland
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Glacier National Park Canada Photo by Pavel Brodsky