Now that we're back in the swing of things, lets tackle something that is split between photographers. Some pros will never need to consider it, others live by it. Specific formats.

We'll cover several different formats that you need to present, and it will factor into your photography!

This week we're going to tackle Instagram. You're not required to make an account, but you will have to make sure your image fits their format. The Instagram photo size is 640x640 pixels. Originally it was 612x612, but through the magic of updating and the internet, they've grown a few, and you need to bring in a photo that is 640x640.

Why is this important? When you're shooting off the camera, you've got many many megapixels to work with, and you're shooting in some combination of RAW, JPEG or RAW+JPEG. These full sized images are effectively useless. The photo size is pretty large, and in the case of RAW, it's pretty useless to upload.


In the midst of post processing, you touch up the photo as needed, and then you submit within certain guidelines. For many corporate companies, the email clients may only support up to 2mb attachments. For GMail and many other individual ones, it can be as high as 25mb. The fact of the matter is, however, that you need to fit certain guidelines, or you have an end result in mind. Shooting at full resolutions gives you something to start with, which is great.

Think of the absolutely massive posters that hang from large museums or off hotel buildings. Those posters have specific guidelines for minimum resolution in order to print correctly. Since Instagram is such a widely used format, we'll start with that.


You may wonder at first why Instagram is so specific, and while I couldn't tell you the exact reason for sure, I suspect it has to do with bandwidth. In order for Instagram to be able to store such a massive amount of images without charging for an account, they need to #1 have great advertising partners and #2 have immense storage capabilities. Or do they need immense storage? The typical JPEG off of say a Galaxy S5 smartphone is actually nearly 5mb. Shrink a picture down to 640x640 and the file size goes down significantly, into the KB range. That massive difference in file size allows Instagram to store many more times as many photos in a smaller format compared to a larger one. Additionally, since their target is mobile devices, it reduces bandwidth needs for the end user, you and I.

So what is your mission? Over the next few days, take a picture as you would if you were going to put it on Instagram.


Being 640x640 means you're going to be taking a square picture. Keep this in mind, as your camera most likely doesn't take square pictures. You're allowed to crop the photo how you want, but the end result must be 640x640.

Additionally, Instagram has it's own filter set. Now, you don't have to run out and make an account for this, but the only settings you need to worry about are for keeping proper exposure. In your post processing, do not apply any filters that would alter the photo, because you would otherwise be applying those effects in Instagram.


You have your mission, should you choose to accept it. All submissions need to be posted in a reply here by Saturday at 11:59PM Eastern Time, and all of the results will be posted on Sunday afternoon.