Instagram announced today that it is “thinking outside the square” and will now allow users to post in landscape and portrait formats.
Instagram’s reasoning is that the visual story you are trying to tell should always come before any tradition of square photos on Instagram. In analyzing data from 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 Instagram will work after the new update. When you choose a photo or video, you can tap the “format” icon to adjust the orientation. You can select either portrait or landscape.
But in case you were curious, Instagram says it will keep the current feel of your profile grid by displaying photos and videos there as “center-cropped squares.” Then, when you click on the individual post, the true photo will show up.
This update seems particularly focused on video, which Instagram mentions as being able to be more cinematic than ever. Indeed, it does seem that cropping was a more pressing issue for videos, since the framing of the shot often shifts throughout a video’s duration.
In addition, Instagram is standardizing filters for photos and videos, which used to exist separately.
Here is some exclusive footage from the upcoming Star Wars film “The Force Awakens“ on Instagram in landscape mode: