How to Post Sharp Pictures on Instagram Without Losing Quality

Reading Time: 4 minutes

If you’re an active user of Instagram, you would have surely seen that when you post a picture, its quality decreases a little.

This is because of the compression algorithm of Instagram that lets it handle the millions of pictures that are posted every day.

For a Photographer/Blogger/Influencer, it is essential that the pictures posted look their best without losing their sharpness. Here I will be sharing with you a Photoshop Tutorial to post sharpened photographs on your feed.

This is going to be a bit long tutorial so if you’re looking for a shortcut, well, sorry to say you won’t find it here.

Also Read: Learn Food Photography Basics in 5 minutes

Let’s start?

Converting the colour profile to sRGB

Open the image you want to edit. You need to make sure that colours are set to sRGB 8 bit. You can do so by going to the document profile/colour profile settings which will be at the bottom of the Photoshop editing window.

Here you can see it ProPhoto RGB and not sRGB. Using ProPhoto RGB will change the colours of the picture when seen a mobile screen. Now to convert your picture into sRGB go to:

  • Go to Edit
  • Convert to profile
  • Select sRGB in the profile displayed under destination space
  • Click OK

Convert the image to 8-bit

To convert your picture to 8-bit, follow these steps:

  • Go to Image
  • Mode
  • Set the channel to 8-Bits/Channel which was set to 16-Bits by default

One small detail that can make a difference is the background colour in the editing window of Photoshop. By default it is grey. The background colour affects how we see our picture. Just as the Instagram feed’s background is white, so should our editing window be.

To set the background to white, simply right-click anywhere on the editing window and go to custom, then select white. In order to create a mood in your pictures, it is essential to understand how different colours showcase different emotions.

To read more about it, you can check out this post I wrote: Understand colour theory in photography to create visually appealing pictures

Making the colours pop

To make the colours pop in the picture, create a Selective colour layer. You can do so by clicking the button that is disc-shaped like one shown below,

You will see the sliders for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Blacks. Experiment with the slider to increase the saturation of a specific colour and to adjust its luminance, adjust the blacks.

Make the right crop

Instagram allows only to specific ratios of pictures to be posted. For portraits, it is 4:5 and for landscape picture, it is 1.9:1. If you don’t crop according to these given ratios, areas of your photos will be discarded while posting it on Instagram.

When you select the crop tool, at the top of the editing window enter the ratio of either the portrait or landscape mode to ensure your picture is of the perfect size.

Set image size

Instagram supports images that have a width of 1080 pixels. To set the width of your picture to 1080 pixels, go to Image> Image Size. Keep the width and height values linked and type in 1080 in the width.

Rest of the values remain the same.

Sharpen the image

Press CTRL+Alt+Shift+E to create a layer that merges all the edits done on the original picture into one single layer.

Go to Filter> Convert to smart object. Again go to filter > High Pass. Zoom out the picture to the size of your mobile screen and select the high pass value at which you just begin to see the details in the image.

Now change the blend mode of this layer to Overlay. Your image has now been sharpened. If you want to sharpen only certain portions of the image, create a mask by keeping the layer active, press Alt and hit on the mask button that is shaped as a rectangle having an oval inside it.

Now choose the brush tool and toggle with ‘X’ on your keyboard to keep the background as white, its box looks like this,

Now simply paint over the areas you want to sharpen!

And that’s all! Hope this tutorial was easy for you to follow. If you have questions, comment them down below.

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Originally published at on November 11, 2018.