Resizing Product Photography For Social Media (Instructional Guide)

by Leah Diviney November 25th, 2021

The reality of social media marketing is that online shoppers need to see your product. Whether you’re selling a physical item or something intangible like software or service, social media is (mostly) visual media.

You need some sort of visual representation for anything you plan to promote on social media. Creating quality product photos, and resizing your product photography for social media posts and ads, is a crucial part of your success.

No matter how you get your product images, they have to be the right size for each social media platform, both in terms of pixels and megabytes. But believe it or not, resizing product photography for social media goes further than just making your images look good. 

Here’s what’s going on and how to resize product photos for social media. Plus, we’ve included image size specs for each social platform and a list of free tools for resizing your photos.

How to resize product photos for social media

Social Media

Image source: Pexels

There are actually two aspects to creating product photos for social media: image resolution and image dimensions.

You need to get these two properties right because your product photos need to fit on people’s screens, both mobile and desktop. Product photos also need to load very quickly so people don’t scroll away before your images even show up on their screens.

However, image resolution and image dimensions are disconnected and must be adjusted separately.

Image resolution

The resolution of an image is the number of pixels per area of space. Resolution is measured in pixels-per-square inch or pixels-per-square millimeter.

Image resolution is what directly impacts image size and loading times. The more pixels there are in an image, the more data must be loaded to display that image. However, more pixels also means the image will be clearer and sharper.

Long story short: images with a higher resolution take longer to load but they look better.

The goal of changing the resolution of your product photos is to achieve the right balance of image quality and load time.

You may not need to change your image resolution at all. It depends on the camera you used to take the photos. High end cameras usually produce images with a higher resolution, while less professional equipment like smartphone cameras often produces images that have an appropriate resolution for social media.

In most cases, it’s best to set your image resolution at 72 pixels per inch or 2.8 pixels per millimeter. This gives you good image quality with fast enough load times for social media.

Image dimensions

Image dimensions are simpler than image resolution. The dimensions are the literal size of an image.

Where things get tricky is that images often automatically get resized to fit the display you’re looking at. An image can end up looking strange if it has to be resized too much. It’s not great if your image has to be made several hundred times smaller. It’s even worse if it must be enlarged a whole lot.

That’s why each social media platform has image size specifications. These specifications ensure that your image doesn’t need to be resized too much to display properly in social media apps.

It’s especially important to get the image dimensions adjusted if you use screenshots to show a software product. Screenshots are frequently very large or have strange proportions. It’s common for screenshots to get badly distorted if they’re not sized properly for social media. 

Image size specs for social media

Image specs for social media

Image source: Pexels

Each social media platform has its own image specifications. So does each social media ad type. But image specs are relatively consistent across all the social media platforms.

This is mainly because social media platforms set their image size specifications based on what fits best in their user interface. And they all have relatively similar user interfaces.

Unfortunately, even though the image sizes are similar, you should create separate images for each social media platform you use. Otherwise it’s kind of like trying to fit an oval peg into a round hole: it sort of fits, but not really.

Facebook

Profile photos: 170 x 170 pixels

Cover photos: 851 x 312 pixels (recommended)

Desktop: 820 x 312 pixels (desktop)

Mobile: 640 x 360 pixels

Minimum size: 400 x 150 pixels

Timeline photos and posts: 1200 x 630 (recommended)

Minimum size: 600 x 315 pixels

Facebook stories: 1080 x 1920 (recommended)

Feed ads: 1080 x 1080 pixels

Minimum size: 600 x 600 pixels

Right column ads: 1080 x 1080 pixels

Instant articles: 1080 x 1080 pixels

Marketplace ads: 1080 x 1080 pixels

Search ads: 1080 x 1080 pixels

Minimum size: 600 x 600 pixels

Sponsored messages: 1080 x 1080 pixels

Messenger inbox ads: 1080 x 1080 pixels

Messenger stories ads: 1080 x 1080 pixels

Instagram

Profile photo: 320 x 320 pixels

Feed photos: 

Landscape: 1080 x 566 pixels

Portrait: 1080 x 1350 pixels

Square: 1080 x 1080 pixels

Thumbnails: 1080 x 1080 pixels

Stories: 1080 x 1920 pixels

Carousel ads:

Landscape: 1080 x 566 pixels

Portrait: 1080 x 1350 pixels

Square: 1080 x 1080 pixels

Instagram TV: 1080 x 1920 pixels

Cover photo: 420 x 654 pixels

Instagram ads:

Landscape: 1080 x 566 pixels

Square: 1080 x 1080 pixels

Stories ads: 1080 x 1920 pixels

Twitter

Profile photos: 400 x 400 pixels

Header photos: 1500 x 500 pixels

In-stream photos: 1600 x 1900 pixels (recommended)

Minimum size: 600 x 335 pixels

Card images: 120 x 120 pixels

Fleets: 1080 x 1920 pixels

Single and multi-image tweet ads: 600 x 335 pixels

Website card image ads: 800 x 418 or 800 x 800 pixels

App card image ads: 800 x 418 or 800 x 800 pixels

Carousel ads: 800 x 418 or 800 x 800 pixels

Direct message card ads: 800 x 418 pixels

Conversation card ads: 800 x 418 pixels

YouTube

Profile photos: 800 x 800 pixels

Banner photos: 2048 x 1152 pixels

Video thumbnails: 1280 x 720 pixels

TikTok

Profile photos: 20 x 20 pixels

LinkedIn

Profile photos: 400 x 400 pixels

Profile cover photos: 1584 x 396 pixels (recommended)

Blog post link images: 1200 x 627 pixels (recommended)

Shared link images: 1200 x 627 pixels (recommended)

LinkedIn stories: 1080 x 1920 pixels

Company logo in ads: 100 x 100 pixels

Logo in spotlight ads: 100 x 100 pixels

Custom background images in spotlight ads: 300 x 250 pixels

Images in sponsored content: 1200 x 627 pixels

Carousel images in sponsored content: 1080 x 1080 pixels

Company page logo: 300 x 300 pixels

Company page cover photos: 1128 x 191 pixels

Main image in life tab: 1128 x 376 pixels

Custom modules in life tab: 502 x 282 pixels

Company photos in life tab: 900 x 600 pixels

Square logo photos: 60 x 60 pixels

Pinterest

Profile photos: 165 x 165 pixels

Profile cover photos: 800 x 450 pixels

Pin photos: 1000 x 1000 or 1000 x 1500 pixels

Story pins: 1080 x 1920 pixels (recommended)

Fleet images: 1080 x 1920 pixels

Collection pin photos: 1000 x 1000 or 1000 x 1500 pixels

App install ads: 1000 x 1500 pixels (recommended)

Carousel pin and ad photos: 1000 x 1000 or 1000 x 1500 pixels

Shopping ads: 1000 x 1500 pixels (recommended)

Snapchat

Snapchat ads: 1080 x 1920 pixels

Geofilter images: 120 x 120 pixels

Free tools for resizing product photos

The default image editor on iPhones and many other smartphones is pretty good, but it doesn’t give you much power to fine-tune the specs of your images.

Because of this, it’s best to use more capable tools for resizing product photos. That way, you can precisely set the image dimensions and adjust the resolution if need be.

Fortunately, you don’t need something as powerful (or expensive) as Photoshop to resize and adjust the resolution of your images. A simple free image resizer will do.

Fotor

Fotor

Source: Fotor

Fotor is a great option because you can edit and resize images in your browser. And the free version is perfectly capable of resizing and changing image resolution.

It also has some filters and photo effects. But for resizing product photos, this one does the trick quickly.

Photo Commander

Photo Commander

Source: Ashampoo

Photo Commander is an impressively powerful image editor. It’s perfectly capable of resizing product images. But if you’d like to play around with some other photo editing techniques, this image resizer gives you quite a few options for producing creative imagery.

It’s a little more complex to use because you have to download the software. But it’s relatively simple and easy to learn.

GNU Image Manipulation Program

GNU Image Manipulation Program

Source: Gimp

The GNU Image Manipulation Program is incredibly powerful. It’s also open source and will be free forever.

This photo editor gives you the most image editing power. It was originally designed to be a Photoshop alternative. So you can create very cool product photos and even fix some lighting issues if you have a limited camera setup.

The main downside is that this image resizer takes a bit of time and effort to learn. It enables you to do so much image editing that it takes some patience to learn your way around.

How to choose the right product photos for social media

Choosing products for social media

Image source: Pexels

Choosing high-quality product photos for social media is an important process. You’re limited on space, and people will often be viewing your product photos on their phone, which can make it hard to see fine details.

That means you’ll have to be a bit strategic about which images you use, so that potential buyers can get the information they need from your product photos.

You probably already know the basics like showing all the different aspects of the user interface or showing your product from multiple angles.

Here are a few additional strategic tips to get the most out of your social media product photos.

Show your product in action

Most of us implicitly know this, but if you’ve ever browsed products on Amazon, you’ll see a lot of listings with nothing but static images. And it might seem a little bit silly, but even something as simple as a screwdriver will benefit from a picture of that screwdriver turning a screw.

This is even more beneficial for products that have a less obvious use than a screwdriver, such as software. And it’s especially important for products like mountain bikes and clothing, because action photos with different angles enable people to imagine themselves using your product.

It can be tricky to show software in action, since you’ll often be using screenshots and it’s difficult to make it clear that something is happening. Sequential photos are the most tried and true method for showing a software product doing something.

Obviously, sequential photos of everything your software does would be too many product photos. But if you’re slinging software, make sure you have at least a few sequential images that show the primary functionality.

Answer common questions with your product photos

It’s incredibly common for people to be looking for a specific feature, attribute, or function as they’re sifting through similar products. People even have precise preferences when it comes to choosing unique products.

You’ve probably had the experience of trying to get a better view of a product yourself. If you’ve ever found yourself trying to find a better picture of the quick-release mechanism on a cool belt or a picture of the backside of a product, you know what we’re talking about here.

And believe it or not, people even use product images to verify that software does what they want it to.

The best place to start is to make sure you have pictures that illustrate everything you point out in the product description. That way, customers can match what they’re reading to what they’re seeing.

After that, you can assess common questions from customers and do your best to answer those questions with your product images. That way people feel like they’re informed enough to buy.

Make any product fit on social media

Most of us are familiar with using social media. It’s natural to feel like it should be simple to promote products and advertise on social media.

That makes it all the more frustrating when things don’t look the way they should. Properly sizing your product photos for social media will save you from that frustration and get you the best ROI from your social media efforts.

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