Photo Sizes and Cropping Tips for Social Media

Decide which platforms need photos and which can use the "auto-populate" feature with "link previews".

In June 2021, ECOM started using auto-populate for images in LinkedIn and Facebook, and sizing our own photos for Twitter and Instagram. This is to try to improve our results in the Facebook algorithm. Read:

Facebook’s Link Previews: What You Need to Know About Creating Your Own (Although this information is from 2018, we've noticed more and more accounts are using link previews.)

How the Facebook Algorithm Works in 2021 and How to Make it Work for You

We're currently testing this feature to see if it improves our analytics. 

Size your photos properly for each platform 

  • Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter Post - 1200x628
  • Facebook Profile - 320x320
  • Facebook Cover Photo - 815x312
  • Instagram Post - 1080x1080
  • Instagram Story 1920x1080

Download the Adobe Photoshop Template for all Optimal Photo Sizes - We've simplified this to have 1 rectangular size for LI/FB/TW and 1 square size for IG. [INSERT SIMPLIFIED VERSION of template - w/o banner, digital signage, etc.]

Sprout Social's Always Up-to-Date Guide to Social Media Image Sizes

Your visuals should help tell your story


LI = LinkedIn; FB = Facebook; TW = Twitter; IG = Instagram

You should size your photos properly for each platform. Otherwise, you may cut out important information or direct attention to inappropriate parts of the photo or frustrate your viewers. Experiment to see what looks best, and always check your posts afterward.

DON'T post flyers or schedules - they're vertical, you'll lose information or they have too much information.


 Photo of 4 flyers Photo of 1 vertical schedule

Photo of vertical schedule


Create the main info or use a related graphic - and link to the schedule in your text.

DON'T post square (IG) photos or vertical photos to horizontal formats (LI/FB/TW) - it'll look weird or you may emphasize things you didn't mean to.


Photo of badly cropped vertical facePhoto of badly cropped chest

Photo of bad 4-square cartoon  


Don't post portrait photos that are vertically rectangular - they don't work well in a horizontal rectangular format like LI/FB/TW. Try PhotoShopping them to make them into horizontal rectangular photos that will work.

1)  This won't work for all vertical photos because it depends on the subject and information in the photo, but if there's high enough resolution and enough extra space around the subject, enlarge it to fill the horizontal space:

Photo of researcher (vertical) Photo of researcher cropped horizontally

2) If there's not enough extra space to crop a vertical photo horizontally, then put it on the left or right (in PhotoShop) and add something else on the other side - some kind of text information like the name of the award or event, or 2 or 3 photos and/or a related logo:

photo of Isakowitz Scholarship winner

3) Or put it in the center (in PhotoShop) of the horizontal template, and add a background behind it made from an enlarged and blurred layer of the same portrait:

Photo of James L. Stewart

4) Or make a composite (in PhotoShop) of 2-3 vertical photos to fill the horizontal space, or post 4 vertical photos (if they'll fit):

Photos of 3 new Black Engineering professors

DO post combinations of photos - Sometimes 4 horizontal photos look good on LI/FB/TW, but sometimes they don't. If you use more than one photo in a post, the key is to see which combination works best in each case for the images that best tells your story. Try these combinations:

  • LinkedIn - try 1 horizontal (FB/TW/LI-sized) + 3 square (IG-sized), because 2 or 4 squares may look odd:

Photo of 4 LinkedIn photos


  • Facebook - use 4 squares (IG-sized) - or 2 squares - or 2 verticals (it'll depend on which photos look best). Try 4 squares:

Photo of Facebook research recap photos

2 squares or 2 verticals:  

Photo of 2 squares

A composite of 2 vertical portrait photos may work:

Photo of 2 vertical composite in FB


  • Twitter - using 2 horizontal photos together doesn't work, but 3 or 4 horizontals together may look good.

BAD - 2 horizontal photos - visuals are squashed and information is missing:

Photo of 2 rectangular weather photos

GOOD - 4 horizontal photos:

Photo of 4 rectangular photos

GOOD - 1 vertical (or square) + 2 horizontal photos:

Photo of 1 vertical + 2 rectangles TW

A composite of 3 vertical photos may work:

Photo of Big 10 post w/3 verticals TW  

It depends upon your photos! Experiment & check.


  • Instagram - ALWAYS use square photos (1040x1040px) - NO EXCEPTIONS! You may post multiple photos for one IG post, but be sure to include captions for each in your IG text.

Crop it square - or if it's too wide, add some space at top and bottom and some relevant text. (The 1st example shows the "multiple photos" icon in the upper right corner, and all 4 of them are cropped square.)

Photo of square IG  Photo of IG horizontal photo with added text

ALWAYS CHECK before posting if possible, or immediately after when you can easily change it to improve the look.