Lightroom Export Settings for Instagram

If you have ever suffered from slightly distorted images on Instagram even after hours of editing, well, you are not alone. The problem does not lie with your editing, but the platform. Let us teach you the best lightroom export settings for Instagram which will keep the photos as crisp as you want them. 

Understand Compression Algorithm

Firstly, it is important to understand the root of the problem. Almost all photo-sharing platforms compress photos. This is done because millions of photos are uploaded each day. In order to help increase the loading times, the algorithm takes a bite out of the image’s original size and compresses it. Also, it is misleading that keeping the settings at a specific value will help you bypass the algorithm. It does not work this way. However, with the help of the following best Lightroom export settings for Instagram, we can keep the effect of that compression to minimal.

File Format

The very first thing to know is the format in which you will upload the image on Instagram. Now, we have already established that no matter what you do, your image will go through the compression algorithm. Therefore, do not worry about the image size yet, just keep the quality at a maximum. For this purpose, you can either chose the JPEG format or even the PNG format. You can change the format in ‘File Settings’ while exporting.
Image formats in Lightroom export settings for Instagram

Photo edited in Lightroom.

Crop - Lightroom Export Settings for Instagram

Next, adjusting the crop size is important because if guidelines are not followed, Instagram will automatically adjust your image. However, you get plenty of options to choose from such as portrait, landscape, and square crop. The aspect ratios for each of these are as follows:

You get both the largest size and the most pixels with the square crop. So, if your goal is to occupy as much screen as possible, then go with the square one. 

For crop settings, head into the Develop Module. Under the adjustment tools, you can click on the square icon in order to get the Crop and Straighten tool. In its panel, you will see Aspect which will allow you to choose any aspect ratio.

Image Sizing and Resolution

An important thing to remember here is that Instagram displays images in 1080px. However, simply cropping them in 1080px is not enough. So you have to resize the image as well in the lightroom export settings. You can easily find the Resize to Fit option in the Image Sizing section.  


 The resolution of the image is also a crucial part to understand. Firstly, you need to know that for digital devices, it does not matter that much relative to print media. Therefore, keeping it at the default 72ppi is the best setting for Instagram. 

Image sizing in Lightroom export settings for Instagram

Photo edited in Lightroom.

Sharpen - Lightroom Export Settings for Instagram

Sharpening is undoubtedly one of the most crucial among the best Lightroom export settings for Instagram. It gives your image the best quality that you desire. Simply head into the Develop Module and then expand the Detail panel. You will see some sliders that will add to the total sharpening. Also, pressing the Alt key will show the image in black and white. This may help you in order to better see the change applied with each slider. 

Amount will determine how much sharpening you want to apply.

Radius, as the name suggests, will determine how many pixels are affected by the contrast applied through sharpening.

Detail means how deeper the sharpening will affect the image. If it is set to zero, then only bigger edges will be sharpened. Contrarily, a larger number will mean more detailed sharpening. 

Masking isolates what you want to sharpen and works better on bigger edges. Basically it ensures that only what you select is sharpened.

Color Space

There are many great color spaces out there such as CMYK, RGB, and P3 color gamut. However, we are here only for the best lightroom export settings for Instagram. Therefore, we will only tell you about the best one supported by Instagram. You should only upload the images on Instagram in sRGB color space. The reason behind this is that it is the most popular digital color space and all of the devices support it. You simply have to change the color space to sRGB in the File Settings. It is in the same place as the File Format one.

Conclusion - Lightroom Export Settings for Instagram

In conclusion, the compression algorithm is inevitable. If it still annoys you, remember that managing millions of images daily and billions in total is not an easy task, even for Instagram. They scale the image to enhance viewers’ experience on the platform. Also, if you are worried about the meta-data of your images, you should relax and leave that to Instagram. It strips all of it so your images are securely uploaded. To sum it up, following these best Lightroom export settings for Instagram will surely upload your image in the best quality possible.

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Have a nice photoshoot! 

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