Instagram announced today that it is “thinking outside the square” and will now allow users to post in both landscape and portrait format.
Instagram’s reasoning is that the visual story you are trying to tell should always come before the now-established tradition of square photos on Instagram. In analysing data form its network, Instagram found that almost one in five photos (or videos) its users were posting weren’t natively square. This means awkward and annoying cropping sessions.
Your “friends get cut out of group shots,” Instagram writes — which sounds a bit precious but is definitely a common problem.
This is how it will work now: when you choose a photo or video you can tap the “format” icon to adjust the orientation. You can select either portrait or landscape.
However, Instagram is keeping the current feel or your profile grid by displaying it there as a “center-cropped square.” When you click on an individual post, then it will show the true photo.
This update seems particularly focused on video, which Instagram mentions as being able to be more cinematic than ever. And indeed it does seem that cropping was a much more pressing issue for videos, since the framing of the shot often shifts throughout a video’s duration.
In addition, Instagram is standardising filters for photos and videos, which used to exist separately.
Here is some exclusive footage from upcoming film Star Wars film, “The Force Awakens,” on Instagram in landscape mode: