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Social media pixel cheat sheet helps keep your shared images sharp

What size should your socially shared photos be? A new infographic offers answers.

The cautious photographer is always conscious of what's happening to their images when they're being shared online — whether they're being resized, recompressed or otherwise modified from the original. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter all treat their images differently, and to get the most of them, one must plan ahead to accommodate their various sizes and processes.

It'd be a huge pain to collect and track all that information yourself — but luckily, LunaMetrics has done it for you! Their new massively useful cheat sheet shows the pixel dimensions of just about every component on the major social networking sites. If you want your photos to look their best on your LinkedIn page or when reposting to Twitter, you might want to print this out and keep it by your desk.

For instance, a super-basic tip for people setting up a Facebook page for their photo business would be to make sure their cover photos are exactly 851 by 315 pixels — but for their LinkedIn page, the "Careers" category photo should be 974 by 238. Otherwise, you run the risk of having the photo cropped in an unflattering way, or worse, automatically resized — and who knows what filter and jpeg quality level they're using?

You don't have to remember everything by heart, though. Try setting up a simple script through Automator or another batch processing program that takes a source photo and outputs five or six different versions, each optimized for a different service. Square it off for Instagram, make sure it's a nice multiple of 222 pixels wide for Pinterest, and so on.

It's up to date now, but little tweaks to layouts and sizes on the social networks may happen without warning, so be on the lookout. The graphical version of the cheat sheet can be downloaded at LunaMetrics, and there's a text one you can copy or search as well.


Total comments: 11
By micahmedia (Jul 30, 2013)

This doesn't guarantee sharpness, since the compression schemes and levels vary, even within the same site. Pictures that are very red are destroyed by whatever facebook is using for compression. Causes major macro blocking and destroys detail.

1 upvote
By CIASpook (Jul 30, 2013)

That's all fine and dandy for the cover photo on Facebook. However, what if you want it larger for those with larger/more resolution monitors? e.g., I have a 1920 x 1200 resolution 24-inch monitor. If I want an image to fill more of the screen, I need to provide more resolution. At the recommended resolution, the image, while nice looking, will be small.

Lately I've been uploaded 2400x1600 or 1800x1200. Poor compression artifacting which is annoying, however, if you click on the image, it will fill much more of the screen space and looks pretty good.

Don Wiss
By Don Wiss (Jul 30, 2013)

"make sure it's a nice multiple of 222 pixels wide for Pinterest"

They used to be a multiple of 192. I set my site up for that. I just went to Pinterest. I find them today to be about 236 wide. A moving target!

By boomerek (Jul 30, 2013)

When it comes to facebook cover i have two more tips for interested in improving quality:
1. It's possible to upload tifs as Facebook cover and it helps a lot!
2. Another tip would be uploading double length oversized files. 1702 insted of 851 for fb cover.

Here is my page design where proper sizing where extremely important:

Steve Balcombe
By Steve Balcombe (Jul 30, 2013)

I recently made some optimised images for a friend's Facebook page - the pixel sizes are on their help pages.

G Davidson
By G Davidson (Jul 30, 2013)

Interesting findings, but as they are going to resize it for various platforms anyway, maybe the old logic of giving the biggest and the best (compression quality) you can still holds true.

By ConanFuji (Jul 29, 2013)

How about the dpr challenges?

1 upvote
By joe6pack (Jul 29, 2013)

"and who knows what filter and jpeg quality level they're using"

- You don't have much control over that. Even if you upload a picture with the exact resolution. The websites will likely re-compress it and/or strip off any metadata.

By DanielFjall (Jul 29, 2013)

Come on! Cameras!

By jvkelley (Jul 29, 2013)

Here are a couple reasons you might want to take this article with a grain of salt.

1. The display sizes are different depending on what platform the images are viewed in. For example, on my iPhone, the cover photo is displayed at 640 x 524. The profile picture is 188 x 188.

2. Facebook's compression algorithm doesn't handle small pictures well. It can ruin all the detail in your carefully recropped and resized image. You're usually better off uploading a full size picture and letting them resize it. (I haven't tried this in a while though, they may have fixed it).

By JAMIE DIERKER (Jul 29, 2013)

a good thing to know.

1 upvote
Total comments: 11
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