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How To Post Full Height Photos To Instagram Without Cropping

The “Instagram Crop” Problem

Have you ever been frustrated that Instagram makes you crop the top or bottom of your vertical (or portrait) photos?  You even went out of your way to take a vertical photo just “for the ‘gram”. But then your perfect framing of the shot got ruined by the awkward aspect ratio that Instagram forces upon us.  Well, this post will show you how to post full height photos to Instagram without cropping.

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Starting with their roots as a platform for square photos only, Instagram has always had some clashes with artists and content creators over the rules regarding aspect ratios.  

But in 2015, Instagram finally started allowing images to be posted in landscape or portrait.  People quickly realized that “portrait” orientation was the optimal way to fill up the most real estate on our phone screens.  The problem is, the “portrait” aspect ratio on Instagram is 4:5 instead of more common ratios like 4:3 or 16:9. Thus, many people will find that their vertical photos still need to be cropped to fit into Instagram.

I believe that Instagram insists on the 4:5 ratio so that there is still room on the screen for the user’s account name and the interaction buttons below.  A photo posted in true 16:9 would take up the entire screen, leaving no extra room for Instagram’s interface.

Some of you might be thinking, “Isn’t there already an app named SquareReady that allows you to post portrait photos without cropping?”

And yes, SquareReady lets you fit an un-cropped landscape or portrait image into a square background with white strips on the sides (or top and bottom).

The trouble is that squeezing your whole image into a square background makes them appear even smaller, on an already small phone screen. 

Look at the size comparison between these two identical shots with SquareReady versus how it could look if posted as a portrait and not a square.

Full Height Photo Edited On Canva
Full Height Photo Edited On SquareReady

No Thanks!

Desperate for a way to post my portrait orientation photos to Instagram without cropping or forcing into a square, I started playing around with the apps I already had on my phone.

I was looking for something fast, free, and easy, so that I wouldn’t spend all day bouncing between apps and fiddling with crops and importing/exporting. This is my favorite method to post full height photos on Instagram without cropping.

The Solution

How To Post Full Height Photos On Instagram Without Cropping

I have come up with a fast and easy method, that doesn’t require you to purchase any expensive software.  And the best part is that you can complete the whole process right on your phone in under a minute.

I use the popular FREE editing/design app called Canva (available for iOS and Android).  You will need to create a free account if you haven’t already.

My method involves creating to a white background in the 4:5 aspect ratio that Instagram requires, and then placing our image to fit into that background. Thereby allowing you to post your pictures in their full glory (full-height).

The one downside is that you will still have white margins on either side of your photo.

NOTE: The video tutorial below is for iPhone, though you could also complete the same process on an Android or on a computer.  You might just have slightly different steps for uploading your image to Canva, and then exporting to Instagram.

I love that I can take advantage of as much vertical screen space as possible without cropping the top and bottom of my images.  So when I’m out in the field taking photos, I can focus on framing shots in the moment without stressing about the Instagram crop.

And best of all, this method is completely free, fast, and easy!

Do you have another free and easy method to post full height photos to Instagram?  Let us know in the comments below.

My Gear:


I use the Sony Alpha 6000 because it’s a light and compact camera that can still shoot professional photos on par with full-frame DSLR cameras.  It’s so light that I even taking it backpacking with me!

Travel Tripod

I use the Joby Gorillapod 1K because it’s a versatile little tripod that can adapt to the challenges of shooting out in nature.  Whatever uneven terrain I encounter, the Gorillapod can bend to find stability.