Best Lightroom Export Settings for Instagram 2020

No, you don’t need to get your eyes checked, uploading to Instagram may be causing your photos to look desaturated or blurry. 

It’s no secret that Instagram has become most of the world’s go-to platform for photo sharing. From amateur photographers to professional photographers, Instagram has become the place to show off all kinds of shots. But the question remains, why are your photos becoming desaturated and grainy? Let’s fix that with these Lightroom export settings.

What is Instagram doing to your photos?

Instagram will automatically compress your photos and be optimized to load faster. The platform was made for mobile devices, large file sizes would take much longer to load and internet speeds can vary for everyone. Instagram’s way of cutting down file sizes is through cropping and compressing your photos. 

No matter what you set your export settings to, Instagram will compress your images. By tweaking your settings in Lightroom, you will be able to minimize, and in some cases avoid Instagram’s automatic compression. 

The Best Lightroom Export Settings for Instagram

The primary things to account for when exporting your photos for Instagram are the crop, image quality, sharpening, file size, resolution, and color space. 

The Crop

Instagram may support uploads of all different sizes and aspect ratios, the best crop size when uploading photos to Instagram is 4:5

A 4:5 ratio will give your photos Instagram’s maximum pixel size at 1200px. 

To set your aspect ratio, open the crop menu, and click on the dropdown and select 4×5.

Image Quality

Instagram will compress your photos so it is best to leave the export quality at 100% and the best format for exporting to Instagram is JPEG/JPG

export quality for Instagram

There is no difference between .jpeg files and .jpg files. The advantage of exporting your photos in this format is that jpg/jpeg files have a much smaller file size compared to other formats.

Sharpening

Sharpening can depend on your personal preference but in general setting your export sharpness to high will provide the best image quality when uploading to Instagram because of Instagram’s compression. 

If you are unfamiliar with what sharpening is and how it is used, think of sharpening as the amount of detailing in every photo. Setting your sharpening amount to high will account for Instagram’s compression and make finer details in your photos stand out. 

The Best File Size for Instagram

When uploading photos online, PPI does not matter as much as it does for print. Because PPI does not matter for digital photos, it is safe to leave this setting at its default value of 72. This will help in cutting down file size.

Limiting your file size to 1600kb or lower seems to be the sweet spot for uploading photos to Instagram for many photographers. 

Image Resolution

It is safe to set your PPI value to 72. By using a 4:5 aspect ratio the ideal image size to when exporting to Instagram is 1080px x 1350px

Instagram will always display images in its feed at 1080px and will skip the automatic resizing process if images are uploaded at this resolution.

Color Space

The final thing to account for when exporting to Instagram is color space. When uploading photos online, the best color space to use is sRGB

color space for exporting to Instagram

Like most other digital platforms, Instagram displays all of its images in the sRGB color space. If you export your images using any other color space, when it is shown on Instagram the color values will change to sRGB. To avoid any headaches you should be editing and exporting all of your Lightroom photos in the sRGB color space.

What about Metadata?

When you upload an image to Instagram, all of your metadata will be stripped from your image. To help keep your file size down when exporting to Instagram, it will be best to export your photos without any metadata. 

Lets Recap the Best Lightroom Export Settings for Instagram

  • Crop your photos to an aspect ratio of 4:5.
  • Set your image quality to 100% and export it in the JPG/JPEG format.
  • Set your output sharpening to high.
  • Set your PPI to 72 and your image size should be 1080px x 1350px.
  • Be sure to be editing and exporting in the sRGB color space. 

With these export settings, your Instagram photos will look much better and won’t have you wondering why your photos are blurry or whether or not something is wrong with your phone. In no time your Instagram profile will look amazing!

Now that you know the best Lightroom export settings for Instagram, why not learn the best Lightroom export settings for Facebook.

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