What Are Common Aspect Ratios for Images?

 In Best Practices

1137447579, lechatnoir

If you’ve ever posted an image to social media or printed out a picture, you’ve had to deal with aspect ratios. Having questions or being confused about aspect ratios is common. Luckily, the basics of understanding how the numbers work together is quite simple.

While the options can seem endless, you don’t have to be a math major or a professional graphic designer to calculate the best aspect ratio for your next project.

What Is an Aspect Ratio?

In its simplest form, an aspect ratio describes the width of an image in relation to its height. It is commonly written as two numbers and separated by a colon (such as 1:1 or 16:9). Width is always listed as the first number followed by the height. Aspect ratios are a universally understood way to describe the general shape of an image, allowing designers to quickly make changes based on the specific needs of a project.

1_Most common.jpg1094618134, SimonSkafar

It’s important to remember that aspect ratios can change depending on the platform or print in which the image or graphic is presented. Understanding the difference in aspect ratios and how to adjust for these changes will allow you to create striking visual content regardless of where the image is being used. Using the right aspect ratios for a platform will ensure your images are displayed as intended without stretching, cropping, or resolution loss — a critical part of any design.

How Does Image Size Relate to the Aspect Ratio?

While an important number on its own, the aspect ratio of an image doesn’t tell the complete story. While the aspect ratio helps give a quick idea of the overall image shape, we will need to know the actual size of an image — in pixels or inches — to determine the aspect ratio.

Pixels are often the unit of measurement used to express the width and height of a photo for digital or web use. As an example, a square image that is 1080 x 1080 pixels would have an aspect ratio of 1:1 — or the width of the image in relation to its height. An image that is 500 x 500 pixels has the same 1:1 aspect ratio. The images are clearly different sizes but have the same aspect ratio because of the identical relation of image width to image height.

Here are some common digital image sizes and their corresponding aspect ratios.

  • 1080 x 1080 pixels = 1:1 aspect ratio
  • 1080 x 720 pixels = 3:2 aspect ratio
  • 1024 x 768 pixels = 4:3 aspect ratio
  • 1920 x 1080 pixels = 16:9 aspect ratio

Which Aspect Ratio Is Best for My Project?

The best aspect ratio for a project will vary depending on several different factors. It’s important to ask yourself a few key questions before jumping into cropping or image resizing. Consider the following when choosing the best image and aspect ratio for your next project:

  • On which platform will this image primarily be viewed?
  • Will I need to create multiple versions of this design for different platforms?
  • Will changing the aspect ratio dramatically change or impact the image in a negative way?
  • Will this image be used on social media?
  • Will this image be used in print?
  • Will this image be used for digital advertising?
  • Will this image contain any text or logos?

Focusing on the primary intent for the image allows you to identify the best aspect ratio to suit your needs. When you become familiar with the most common aspect ratios across a variety of situations, you can easily adapt and edit an image based on the specific platform and goal at hand.

What Are the Most Common Aspect Ratios?

While there is an endless amount of potential aspect ratios, there are a few commonly used aspect ratios that outshine the rest in popularity and everyday usage. The following aspect ratios will cover the recommended standards and best practices you can expect to find across the majority of social platforms, video, and print.

Common Aspect Ratios for Social and Web

With an average of over 95 million images being uploaded on to social platforms every day, it’s important to understand which aspect ratios for social and web platforms will help images look and perform their best.

Facebook Aspect Ratios

The most common aspect ratios for Facebook are 1:1, 16:9, and 9:16.

2_Facebook.jpg1057767656, damircudic

Facebook Profile Picture

  • Aspect ratio: 1:1
  • Recommended size: 128 x 128 pixels

Facebook Cover Photo

  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Recommended size: 820 x 461 pixels

Facebook Feed Video

  • Aspect ratio: 9:16 to 1:1
  • Recommended size: 1280 x 720 pixels

Facebook Feed Advertisements

  • Aspect ratio: 9:16 to 16:9 (crops to 1.91:1 with link)
  • Recommended size: 1200 x 628 pixels

Facebook Carousel Advertisements

  • Aspect ratio: 1:1
  • Recommended size: 1080 x 1080 pixels

Facebook Live Video

  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Recommended size: 1280 x 720 pixels

Instagram Aspect Ratios

The most common aspect ratios for Instagram are 1:1 and 9:16.

3_Instagram.jpg473082752, knape

Instagram Feed Photo

  • Aspect ratio: 1:1
  • Recommended size: 1080 x 1080 pixels

Instagram Feed Square Video

  • Aspect ratio: 1:1
  • Recommended size: 1080 x 1080 pixels

IGTV Video

  • Aspect ratio: 9:16
  • Recommended size: 1080 x 1920 pixels

Instagram Story Video

  • Aspect ratio: 9:16
  • Recommended size: 1080 x 1920 pixels

Snapchat Aspect Ratios

The most common aspect ratio for Snapchat is 9:16.

4_Snapchat.jpg1049883642, Sergeeva

Snapchat Ads

  • Aspect ratio: 9:16
  • Recommended size: 1080 x 1920 pixels

Snapchat Geofilter

  • Aspect ratio: 9:16
  • Recommended size 1080 x 1920 pixels

Twitter Aspect Ratios

The following aspect ratios are considered standard for Twitter images.

5_Twitter.jpg108328915, piskunov

Twitter Profile Photo

  • Aspect ratio: 1:1
  • Recommended size: 400 x 400 pixels

Twitter Cover Photo

  • Aspect ratio: 3:1
  • Recommended size: 1500 x 500 pixels

Twitter Timeline Photo

  • Aspect ratio: 2:1
  • Recommended size: 1024 x 512 pixels

Pinterest Aspect Ratios

The most common aspect ratios for Pinterest are 1:1 and 2:3.

6_Pinterest.jpg1147289749, Rowan Jordan

Pinterest Profile Photo

  • Aspect ratio: 1:1
  • Recommended size: 165 x 165 pixels

Pinterest Standard Pin

  • Aspect ratio: 2:3
  • Recommended size: 1000 x 1500 pixels

LinkedIn Aspect Ratios

There are several commonly used aspect ratios for LinkedIn, notably 1:1 and 4:1.

7_LinkedIn.jpg686004832, Branimir76

LinkedIn Profile Photo

  • Aspect ratio: 1:1
  • Recommended size: 400 x 400 pixels

LinkedIn Background Photo

  • Aspect ratio: 4:1
  • Recommended size: 1584 x 396 pixels

LinkedIn Company Logo

  • Aspect ratio: 1:1
  • Recommended size: 300 x 300 pixels

LinkedIn Company Cover Photo

  • Aspect ratio: 2:1
  • Recommended size: 1536 x 738 pixels

LinkedIn Blog Post Link Image

  • Aspect ratio: 1.91:1
  • Recommended size: 1200 x 628 pixels

Common Aspect Ratios for Video and Film

The most common aspect ratio for film and video is 16:9 with the exception of older televisions and devices that display in 4:3.

8_YouTube.jpg1138834713, vm

YouTube Aspect Ratios

The most common aspect ratio for YouTube is 16:9.

YouTube Channel Icon

  • Aspect ratio: 1:1
  • Recommended size: 800 x 800 pixels

YouTube Channel Art

  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Recommended size: 2560 x 1440 pixels

YouTube Video Uploads

  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Recommended size: 1920 x 1080 pixels

Common Aspect Ratios for Photography and Art

The most common aspect ratios for standard photography and art prints are 3:2 and 5:4.

Aspect Ratios for Photography and Art.jpg1162225703, Geber86

Standard Print Sizes with 3:2 Aspect Ratio

  • 4 x 6 print size
  • 16 x 24 print size
  • 24 x 36 print size

Standard Print Sizes with 5:4 aspect ratio

  • 8 x 10 print size
  • 16 x 20 print size
  • 24 x 30 print size

What Is the Aspect Ratio of My Image?

You’ve picked out the perfect image for your project, but does it match the best aspect ratio for the online platform or print size you will be using? Selecting an image before knowing the required size or aspect ratio can cause design headaches, but there are several tools and tricks that can be used to calculate the aspect ratio and adjust the image as needed.

Aspect Ratio Calculator

Knowing how to self-calculate the aspect ratio is helpful in a pinch, and there are many online resources that will do the math quickly and effectively. If you know the size of the image in pixels or inches, an aspect ratio calculator will allow you to input the width and height to determine the aspect ratio.

How to Resize an Image Without Changing the Aspect Ratio

You can use a formula to define a new size for an image while keeping its original aspect ratio intact.

  • (original height / original width) x new width = new height

For example, let’s say you have an image that is 1920 x 1080 pixels with an aspect ratio of 16:9, but the platform where the image will be hosted has a width restriction of 1280 pixels. The goal is to calculate what the new height of the image should be while preserving its original aspect ratio of 16:9 — allowing the image to be resized to the new width restrictions without requiring any loss of the original image.

  • (1080 original height / 1920 original width) x 1280 new width = 720 new height

From this calculation, we now know that in order to fit the new platform, the image will need to be resized to 1280 x 720 pixels. This resizing will allow the image to stay in its original aspect ratio of 16:9 without impacting how the image will be displayed on-screen even though it is now a smaller size.

How to Change the Aspect Ratio of an Image

An image that looks great on one website may look funny when switched to a new medium with a different aspect ratio. Curating a single image for use across multiple social platforms or print sizes will at times require manually changing the aspect ratio and image size several times in order to avoid unsightly stretching, cropping, or resolution loss.

iStock Editor.png

A simple online photo editor like iStock Editor comes with preselected crop sizes covering the most popular aspect ratios and image sizes across web and print, and allows you to easily set custom sizes for unique aspect ratios or exact image sizes. Simply upload your image to the editor, and use the built-in or manual crop tools to perfectly set, crop, or resize your image to match the required aspect ratio.

Making sure that the image matches the aspect ratio for a desired platform allows you to create memorable visual content across all mediums without the distraction of an unflattering crop or image quality loss.

Ready to start designing? Browse our collection of stock photos and vectors to find the perfect image for your next project.

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