How To Make Facebook Photos Look Their Best
By Ryan Kelly
August 1, 2016
So you’ve taken the shot, made it look just the way you want and uploaded it to Facebook for all your adorning family/friends, only to see that the image quality has taken a huge hit now that Mr.Zuckerburg has had his way with it. It’s not as sharp and there’s compression artifacts all over the place (areas of the image look blocked up). Fortunately there are a couple of things you can do to fix these problems. Read on!
Here are the three steps to better looking Facebook photos:
Step One: Choose the right size
The Facebook image uploader only plays nicely with three specific image sizes. When exporting your photos from your photo processor of choice (Lightroom, Capture One, Photoshop, etc) make sure that your photo is sized at either 720 pixels, 960 pixels or 2048 pixels on the longest edge of the photo.
Have a look at the image slider to the right (or below on mobile). Scroll the preview bar side to side and pay close attention to the “R” where you’ll see some funky compression artifacts on the Facebook compressed image. You’ll also see some over-sharpening on the skiers chin. This photo was sized at 3000 pixels on the long side, which Facebook clearly doesn’t prefer.
Sizing this photo at 720 pixels, 960 pixels or 2048 pixels goes a long way towards getting rid of the issues seen in the comparison.
But how do you choose the exact image size that your photos are exported at? Thankfully it’s pretty straight forward and it only takes a couple of seconds to make sure your photos are sized perfectly for the big FB. Check out the screen shots below for a quick overview of how to size your images in Photoshop and Capture One (other programs like Lightroom work in a very similar way).
There are a couple of different ways to resize your image in Photoshop, but here’s one of the more straight forward methods. Go to Image > Image Size, then enter the size you’d like in the Width field for horizontal photos or the Height field for vertical photos. Be sure that the little chain link between the two values is selected so the proportions of your photos will stay the same.
Capture One Pro
For Capture One, go to File > Export Images > Variants, then in the recipe portion of the export window, choose the “Long Edge” option from the Scale drop-down menu. From there, just enter the pixel sizing you’d like and hit export.
Step Two: Choose the right file type
Facebook compresses every single image that you upload, no matter what. There are hundreds of millions of Facebook photo uploads every day, so you can’t blame them for wanting to keep file sizes to a minimum! When an image is compressed, it loses a bit of information, which degrades the quality, which is also the case when we export our photos in the usual Jpeg format. So by exporting a jpeg, then uploading it to Facebook, we’re actually compressing our image twice. The best way to save your photos from that extra round of harmful compression is to export the images bound for Facebook in PNG format instead of Jpeg format. When you export your photos from whatever photo processor you’re using, you’ll be able to select which format to export to within the export window.
Step Three: Pick the right FB options
When uploading your photos to Facebook, upload them to an album and check the “High Quality” box in the album options area.
Follow these three steps and your Facebook images will look better than they ever have before. I should also mention that for your Facebook cover photo (the big horizontal image at the top of your profile page), size it at 851x315 pixels for best results.
Do you have any other Facebook image quality tips? Let us know in the comments section below!
Ryan Kelly is a professional photographer and educator. You can find out more about his flagship class The Beginner Photography Starter Pack by clicking here.
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