If you have ever uploaded a photo to Facebook, you know that it does not always come out looking as great as it did before you uploaded it! Sometimes your photos end up looking over-sharpened, or they are turned into a pixelated disaster, or some other horrible outcome. You just spent so much time editing it to perfection, so why does it look like this the second you try to upload it to Facebook to share it with other people? Facebook unfortunately cannot handle the high resolution photos that your camera captures and that you edit in Lightroom. Thankfully though, there is a way to avoid having your photos ruined when you upload them!
In order to keep your photos looking great after they are uploaded, you will need to resize them while exporting and make sure your export settings are optimized for upload. Follow the steps below to learn how to export your photos in a way that ensures they look great on Facebook!
How to Resize Photos for Facebook Timeline in Lightroom
Making sure your photos appear as gorgeous on Facebook as they did on your computer is simple, as long as you have the right export settings applied.
1. Begin Export
The first step is to simply begin exporting your photo from Lightroom like you normally would! Click “Export” in the bottom left corner of the Library module screen, or go to “File” in the top menu bar, and select “Export” from there.
2. Decide File Location and Name
Determine where your photo will be exported to, and what the file name will be. Since you are exporting a smaller size and lower resolution version of the photo specifically for Facebook, it can be a good idea to have a folder named “For Facebook”, or something similar so you always know where to find your Facebook photos!
3. Change the File Settings
This is where you begin to apply the Facebook-specific settings. Apply the following file settings:
Image Format: JPEG
Colour Space: sRGB (This defines how many (and which) colours can be accurately stored. The smaller a colour profile is, the less colour information it contains, but the smaller the file size will be, which is crucial for Facebook. In general, sRGB is the best option for all images that are meant to be displayed on an electronic screen, whether it is a large desktop monitor, or a mobile phone.)
Limit File Size To: Make sure this box is unchecked
4. Change the Image Sizing
The next section in the Export box is for image sizing, so apply the following settings to your photo:
Resize to Fit: Check this box, and choose “Long Edge”
Don’t Enlarge: Make sure this box is unchecked
Pixels: 2048 (This is the largest number of pixels Facebook will accept on the wide side of a photo. If you try to upload a photo that is larger than this, Facebook will automatically scale it down, which will create issues with the quality of your photo, and that is exactly what we are trying to avoid!)
Resolution: 72 (and make sure it says “Pixels Per Inch”)
5. Apply Output Sharpening
In this section, check the box that says “Sharpen for Screen”, and under “Amount”, select “Standard”. Please note: this setting can be optional! Lightroom does tend to apply some sharpening on export, so try different levels and different settings until you find something that you are happy with!
If you would like to include a watermark that you have already saved in Lightroom, simply check the box next to “Watermark”. Next, select the watermark you want to use from the dropdown menu that appears beside it.
7. Save Your Settings as an Export Preset
Now that you have gone through all that work to make sure the settings are correct, you can save the settings as an export preset. To do this, simply click “Add” in the bottom right corner of the Export box. You will be able to name the preset as well, making it easy to find. Now you don’t have to go through these steps every time, you can simply select the preset and have all the settings applied for you!
This is what will appear once you click “Add”, so simply name your preset, and click “Create”, and then you are all set!
Now that all the settings have been applied and you have saved your preset, your photo is ready to export! Simply click “Export”, and your photo will be saved in the location you specified at the beginning and is all set to be uploaded to Facebook.
The settings and image size found here are perfect for uploading to be posted on your Facebook timeline, but if you want to upload a photo to use as your Facebook Cover Photo or your Profile Photo, you will need slightly different sizing settings!
Resizing Photos to Use as a Facebook Cover Photo
When resizing a photo to use as your Facebook Cover Photo, you can use the same Export settings you used with the Timeline photos, except for the size. If you want to upload a photo for your Cover Photo, the photo should be sized as 851×315 pixels in order to achieve the best results.
Resizing Photos to Use as a Facebook Profile Photo
Just like with the Cover Photo, you can use all the same Export settings here, except for the size. In order to get the best results with your Profile Photo, the image should be sized to 360×360 pixels.
NOTE: These sizes are optimized for desktop viewing. Your header images may be cropped slightly differently on mobile. The best size to upload for mobile devices is 1920×1080 pixels, but if you upload this size, then the photos may be cropped differently on desktop. If you want to try to optimize your image size for both desktop and mobile, the best strategy is to size for mobile, and just make sure there are no heads of other important parts of the photo that are close to the top and bottom edge, putting them at risk of getting cut off.
Here’s a full list of Facebook photo sizes.